Top 10 Exercises for Females for a Flat Abdomen

Top 10 Exercises for Females for a Flat Abdomen

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Stability balls activate your core, helping to tighten and tone your midsection.

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The abdominals are the hardest place for most women to tone and flatten. Obtaining flat, strong abs requires a combination of proper exercises, cardiovascular activity to burn excess body fat, and a proper diet. Start an effective, top-notch workout routine to build your muscles and tighten your core. Examine your diet and ensure that you are eating healthy, clean foods and that you are not consuming too much, then incorporate cardiovascular activities most days per week.

Bicycle Crunches

In a study conducted by the American Council on Exercise, researchers examined various abdominal exercises and determined which ones were more effective at activating the rectus abdominis, or “six-pack” muscles, and the obliques. Bicycle crunches were the best for the rectus abdominis and second best for the obliques. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and bring your right elbow to left knee, keeping right leg fully extended. Rotate your torso and repeat.

Hanging Leg Lifts

Hanging leg lifts, either suspended from your elbows in a Captain's Chair, using abs straps, or hanging by your hands, target the deep abdominal muscles of the transverse abdominis. These muscles act like a girdle on your midsection, making your waist appear smaller while supporting your spine. Dr. Len Kravitz of the University of New Mexico affirms that hanging leg lifts require your abs to stabilize your entire hip girdle and lower body, providing a highly effective and intense workout.


When you think of abs exercises, a chin-up is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. Renowned fitness expert Bret Contreras placed an EMG on various parts of the abdominal muscles and executed a number of exercises to see which exercises worked the best. The chin-up was one of the best exercises for both peak and average muscle activation in the rectus abdominis.

Ab Wheel

In Contreras' study, the Ab Wheel exercise was rated highest for muscle activation in all three major abdominal muscle groups of the external oblique, internal oblique and rectus abdominis, making it useful for total abdominal activation. Start on your knees and grab the handles of the wheel. Open your shoulders and push the wheel away from your body, dropping your hips as you open so your body fully extends. Contract your abs to pull the wheel back in, but do not allow your lower back to arch. Progress from your knees to your feet as you get stronger.

Suspended Reverse Crunches

Suspension trainers are a great way to incorporate higher intensity body weight exercises, suggests Jamie Baird, professional bikini competitor. A good suspension trainer has the capability of being hung from a doorway, branch or bar. Adjust the handles so they hang at shin level. To execute a reverse crunch, lie on your back and grab the handles of the suspension trainer with your arms straight. Tuck your knees up to your chest and press your hips into the air while using the suspension trainer for leverage. Slowly lower and repeat.

Suspended Pikes

Pikes target the entire core which consists of the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques. Place your feet in the suspension trainer and hands on the floor so you are in a pushup position. Keeping your legs straight, pull your feet towards your body while simultaneously lifting your hips straight into the air. Control the movement on the way down and finish in pushup position.

Body Saw

The body saw is a progression from the plank. Place your feet either in the suspension trainer, or on a stability ball with your hands on the floor in pushup position. Keep your body straight and roll forward as far as you can. Then roll backwards as far as you can without breaking form in your torso.

Stability Ball Crunches

In Contreras's abdominal study, stability ball crunches had one of the highest peak muscle activations of all abdominal exercises. The act of staying balanced on the ball while fully extending your abs requires extreme core control. Place your lower back on the ball, hands behind your head. Crunch up, but not to a full sit, and then extend back out until you feel a stretch through your midsection and repeat.

Side Planks

Side planks are a variation of traditional planks that are more effective at working the core and obliques. Lie on your side, body straight, with one foot on top of the other. Prop yourself up on your elbow and foot. Keep a straight line from your shoulders to your hips to your feet. Hold for as long as you can without breaking form, and repeat on other side.


Sprints are one of the best abdominal exercises that are often underrated. Not only does the high impact of the motion force your abs to remain stiff to support your spine and torso, but the intense activity burns a lot of calories and raises your resting metabolism, according to Dr. Jade Teta of the Metabolic Effect. Sprint as fast as you can for about 10 to 20 seconds, then recover for one full minute. Start with five rounds and progress to 10 as you get stronger.