3 Core Strengthening Exercises for Women

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Ladies, ladies, ladies…

Glad you could join me.

If you’ve been following the series of workouts I’ve been putting together for you, you’ve already seen (and hopefully used) one (or both) of the following workouts:

As you know, at Bloom to Fit we like to focus on functional strength – strength that you can actually use in your daily activities. After all, the whole idea here is to teach you how to build a better body that you can use for life.

With that being said, today I want to tie things up with an effective core strengthening routine that you can incorporate with the upper and lower body workouts. These core strengthening exercises for women will place focus on your entire core, not just your abdominals. Too often we only focus on what we can see and neglect the important muscles behind us that keep our bodies moving. This routine is designed to challenge you in a way you’re most likely not used to, so be prepared for some great results.

Let’s get to work.

Here are the 3 core strengthening exercises for women:

1 – The Plank Exercise

Muscles Worked: Rectus Abdominus, Obliques, Lower Back (Erector Spinae)

The plank is probably the most effective core strengthening exercise on the planet, as I’ve described in detail in the past. The plank is an isometric exercise that will develop endurance in your entire core – rectus abdominus, obliques, lower back and stabilizing muscles.

For a complete guide on how to properly do the plank exercise and its many variations, you can check one of my popular posts:

As your core becomes stronger, you should progress through the different variations provided in the guide above. 

Perform: Work towards doing 3 sets of 90-120 second planks with 60 seconds of rest between sets.

2 – Supermans

Muscles Worked: Erector Spinae

This is a well known exercise but a widely underutilized one. Most people (men and women) often neglect the lower back because it’s not a muscle group you can see – you can’t flex your back in the mirror! Building a better body is about creating muscular balance – all muscles that comprise the core need to be strong so they can effectively work together.

The superman exercise is a fairly simple exercise to perform. You’ll need a mat to lay down on. Lay face down on the mat and put your hands straight out above your head (arms should be by your ears). The idea is to bring your hands and feet up by extending your spine. Your arms and legs should be kept straight and the exercise should be performed at a slow pace. If you can, hold the spinal extension for a second on each repetition.

Perform: 4 sets of 10 repetitions with 45-60 seconds of rest between sets

3 – Myotatic Crunch (on Bosu Ball)

Muscles Worked: Rectus Abdominus

Although I’m not a big fan of doing endless crunches, this is one crunch-style abdominal exercise that I find works extremely well for fully developing and strengthening your abdominal region. The myotatic crunch, as I learned from the 4Hr Body, allows for a stronger contraction than you’re normally used to. You’ll need to get your hands on a Bosu ball (they’re available at any gym or you can pick up your own at a fitness store). If you can’t find a Bosu ball, use a small Swiss ball.

Place the Bosu ball with its flat side down. Lay down on it (face up) with your lower back resting near the top (peak) of the Bosu. Your feet should be flat on the ground supporting you. Extend your arms out above your head (so they are flush against your ears – kind of like you’re about to dive into a pool, with your hands overlapping). To begin, take roughly 4 seconds to extend back until your arms touch the floor – you should feel a good extension in your back and a stretch in your abdominals. Do not let your butt slide up and down; keep it steady and your feet planted. You should be trying to extend your hands further away from the ball at all times. Pause at the bottom for 2 seconds. Now slowly bring your upper body up (under control) and squeeze your abs. Pause in the upper, fully contracted position for 2 seconds. The idea is to use your core and nothing else (avoid using momentum). Repeat.

The Myotatic Crunch. Source: 4 Hour Body (Tim Ferriss)

Don’t worry that it’s a dude showing you how to do the exercise. The point is it works. And it works great because it incorporates a full extension and a full contraction of the abdominals. If you want to make the exercise more challenging, hold a medicine ball in your hands as you perform this exercise.

Perform: 3 sets of 10 slow repetitions

This core strengthening routine should not last more than 15 minutes if done properly. I want you to really focus on maintaining good technique while taking slow, deep breaths for each repetition. Don’t simply rush through the exercises. If you find that you’re pressed for time by doing the exercises at the end of your workout, try starting off your workout with the core strengthening exercises and do them right.

Keep in mind that the muscles that make up your core are just like any other muscle group in your body and don’t need to be worked every day. These core strengthening exercises for women are designed to be performed 2-3 times per week. Simply incorporate the routine into either the upper body workout for women or the lower body workout for women.

That’s it! Let me know what you think of these core strengthening exercises for women. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section below!

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Comments

  1. Srdjan,

    One of the exercises my wife loves when she’s targeting the abs is the stability ball rollout. The plank is another great one for tightening the entire core.

    -Mitchell

  2. Srdjan,

    These are great exercises for core strength. There are plenty of guys, myself included, who also do them. Many people are searching for a quick fix or fad to get a flat, toned stomach, but really all they need to do is incorporate some of these basic, functional exercises which are extremely effective.

    Alykhan

    • I think the biggest problem is that people (both men and women) are only focusing on the abdominals because those are their show muscles. Little emphasis is placed on the ever-so-important lower back muscles that work together with your abdominals to keep you stable and standing tall. If we can focus on strength, the looks will follow.

  3. Very interesting subject, thanks for putting up.

  4. You have noted very interesting details! ps nice web site.

  5. Found your site on yahoo and was just what i was looking for, keep it up :-)

  6. Excellent article. Continue to keep up the very good work.

  7. These really are some good core exercises for women. I’m a huge fan of planks, side and straight. I also like lying leg raises as well.

    The Supermans are a really good one that I admittedly neglect for myself. I have started doing the bridges more regularly and those are have really made a difference for me.

    • Supermans are definitely overlooked Kevin. We focus so much on the anterior that forget about the important musculature in the lower back. Fortunately, planks do a great job of engaging both.

  8. Jennifer Ditano says:

    Great article! I love your ultimate upper and lower body workouts and am looking to incorporate this as well. However, I am having trouble believing that I could get away with only 2 days a week of abs… if done properly, will that really be often enough to see results?
    Thanks!

    • Jennifer, your abs are just like any other muscle group. They need time to recover and grow stronger after a workout. If you train them too often you will impede the recovery process. So that’s why I recommend training them max twice a week.

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