Strengthen your core, improve posture and prevent injury with this abs workout for women from fitness coach, Nicki Petitt!
What are the core muscles?
Consisting of your six-pack abs, hips, pelvis, obliques and transverse abdominis, your core muscle group works as your body’s powerhouse, improving your sports performance and keeping you fit for life.
A strong centre starts with core stability (strength in your deep abdominal muscles, which work when you draw your belly button in). When you have core stability, the rest of your body is more likely to be stable and move pain-free.
But you don’t need lots of kit or a gym membership to build a rock-solid centre. With this at-home abs workout for women from online fitness coach Nicki Petitt (@nickipetitt), you’ll improve your posture, strengthen your core, prevent injury and carve a flat tum to boot. Flat, functional abs, here we come!
Abs workout for women
Perform each exercise for 45 seconds, take a 25-second rest, then repeat two times.
Walkout with taps
Work the shoulders and core.
Start by standing tall.
Then, slowly walk out into a high plank position.
Make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders and your feet are hip-distance apart.
Keeping your head, back and hips in a straight line, tap each hand to the opposite shoulder.
Slowly drive each knee in to meet a tap of the hand.
Ensure your core and glutes are engaged throughout each rep, and don’t let your hips dip to the floor. Keep your back flat enough to rest a drink on.
Side plank weave
Works the shoulders, core and obliques.
Start in a side plank, left arm raised and right shoulder stacked directly on top of your right elbow. Your fingers are spread to create a strong base and feet are stacked on top of each other, creating a straight line from head to heel.
Slowly rotate your left hand under your torso, following with your eyes. Reach as far underneath as possible and return to the upwards stretch.
On the second round, switch sides. To aid stability, place your upper leg over and in front of your bottom foot, creating a wider base.
Works your shoulders and core.
Start in low plank position with your elbows directly under your shoulders and core braced (1).
Replace your right elbow with your right hand, then do the same on your left to raise up into a high plank.
Reverse the movement to lower back to a low plank, then repeat.
Brace your core throughout, maintaining a flat back. Resist arching your lower back and rocking your hips.
Builds core strength and stabilisation.
Lie face-up on the floor, with your knees bent and heels by your bottom. Allow your head and shoulders to rest flat on the floor.
Lift your legs so your knees are above your hips, bent at 90°. Lift your arms straight to the ceiling, directly above your shoulders.
Ensuring your core is braced for the entire movement, push your lower back into the floor. Exhale and slowly lower your left arm to just off the floor, simultaneously lowering your right leg until it’s just above the floor.
Inhale to return your legs and arms to the starting ‘bug’ position, then repeat on other side by lowering your right arm and left leg.
Works the entire core group.
Sitting on your tailbone, brace your core, lift your heels off the floor and lean back slightly. Your knees and ankles feel glued together. Straighten your arms and slowly twist to the right, touching the floor.
Return to the centre and repeat on the other side (twist to the left and touch the floor). Create a rainbow shape with your arms above your head, from side to side.
On round two, perform at ‘double time’ speed, touching the floor on each rotation. You can rest your heels on the floor if it gets too much.
Works your chest, shoulders, core and leg muscles.
Start in a high plank position, with your shoulders directly over your wrists.
Then, drive each knee to your chest slowly for 25 seconds. Focus on the knee drive and squeeze to the chest.
For the final 20 seconds, perform at ‘double time’ speed by moving as fast as you can and staying light on your toes.
Safety tip: for a strong foundation, ensure your shoulders are directly over your wrists. Do not place your hands out in front of you as this will encourage your bottom to ‘pike’ in the air.