The Ultimate Ab Workouts for Women

There is no magic trick to build a six-pack


The abs are, unfortunately, some of the hardest muscles to tone in the body because when it is stressed, it tends to store fat in the midsection. Also, posture-wise, people don’t hold themselves in the right position. The muscles get lazy and the body takes the path of least resistance.

Women have a harder time than men because if the estrogen; it makes it harder to lose belly fat, Kelly Gibson, Corrective Exercise Specialist and Certified Sports & Fitness Nutrition Coach, says. “Menopausal women and moms have an especially hard time due hormone fluctuations that make it hard to burn belly fat.”[slideshow:102614]

Another reason is the fact that women have a lot more fat than men to begin with, Personal Trainer and a Nutritionist Elizabeth Borge says. “They also have more areas of fat to work on.” Since you can’t spot reduce, getting a 6-pack takes time, patience and perseverance. Men have it easier also because they naturally have a lot more testosterone, which is what enables them to build muscle easier and lift heavier. 

If you are working on a 6-pack, exercising the midsection just two or three times a week is not going to be enough, Borge says. “You have to prepare for the long haul.”

It depends on the woman's size and how restrictive her diet is, Gibson adds. It takes 3,500 calories to lose 1lb. “If she's burning 500 calories 3-4 times per week (maintaining calories without dieting), it could take 2 weeks just to lose 1 pound of fat.”

Gibson recommends 1-2x a week for muscle building, or 3-5 times a week for weight loss training with total body workouts (and only doing a couple ab exercises each day). “Keep in mind that leg and arm exercises can still activate the core so don’t discredit other exercises when trying to tone your abs,” she adds. 

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