Ab Workouts for Women

10 Do-Anywhere Ab Exercises

These exercises will hit your core — and more — in 15 minutes or less.

It’s pretty easy to do an ab workout anywhere — a hotel, a gym, the beach — just hit the deck and begin. These 10 awesome exercises can be done anywhere by anyone at any level of fitness and are just what you need to bring the heat. Some of the moves require nothing more than your bodyweight and some floor space, while others use gliding discs to double your core engagement and strengthen your supporting musculature. No gliding discs? No worries: Paper or plastic plates work in a pinch on carpet, and a small, folded towel is perfect for wood or tile. You also can use the “Disc-Free” modification in place of the illustrated move. Use one of the five sample workouts post-cardio or strength training for a little extra ab attention, or string a couple of them together for a longer finisher.

Bodyweight Moves

You don’t need weights or machines to train your abs and core. In fact, all you need is a little floor space and your own body to whip your midsection into awesome shape!

Heel Drive

Heel Drive

Lie faceup with your legs together directly over your hips, feet flexed, and extend your arms along your sides, palms down. Press your heels straight up toward the ceiling by tucking your pelvis and contracting your abs, lifting your glutes and lower back off the floor a few inches. Pause briefly, then slowly lower to the start.

Leg Lower

Leg Lower

Lie faceup with your legs together and positioned directly over your hips, feet flexed. Extend your arms along your sides, palms down, and press your lower back into the floor. Keep it in this position throughout the move. Slowly lower your legs as far as you can without allowing your lower back to lift from the floor, then reverse the move to return to the start.

Side-Plank Lift

Side-Plank Lift

Lie on your side with your legs and feet stacked and place your bottom hand directly underneath your shoulder, arm extended. Lift your hips to align with your head and heels and place your top hand on your hip or extend it over your shoulder perpendicular to the floor (harder). From there, lift your hips up a couple of inches, then lower back to neutral without tipping forward or backward.

Gliding-Disc Moves

Gliding discs make your abs work harder to keep you balanced and steady while executing an exercise. And since your feet and hands never leave the floor, you’re talking constant core engagement with no impact and a killer recruitment of all the stabilizing muscles around your joints and spine.

Plank Disc Hold

Plank Disc Hold

Place the toes of each foot on a disc and get into plank with your hands underneath your shoulders and your head, hips and heels aligned. Brace your core and keep your spine and neck neutral as you actively press down into the floor through the heels of your hands to spread your shoulder blades apart. Hold and breathe.

Disc-Free: Simply perform without the discs.

Plank Slide Jack

Plank Slide Jack

Start in plank with your hands just outside shoulder-width apart and your head, hips and heels aligned. Keep your hips low and steady as you slide your legs apart as wide as you can, then squeeze them back together.

Disc-Free: Jump your legs apart and together, keeping your hips low and your core tight.

Plank Slide Tuck

Plank Slide Tuck

Start in plank with your head, hips and heels aligned. Hold your upper body steady over your hands, and keep your hips low as you bend your knees and slide the discs underneath you toward your hands. Extend your legs back to the start.

Disc-Free: Jump your feet toward your hands and back out again while keeping your hips low.

Mountain Slider

Mountain Slider

Get into plank with your head, hips and heels aligned. Keep your hips low and your head neutral as you alternately drive your knees into your chest using an even pace.

Disc-Free: Alternately “run” your knees into your chest without sliding your feet along the floor.

Forward Glide

Forward Glide

Get onto all fours with your knees underneath your hips and a hand on each disc directly underneath your shoulders. Keep your spine neutral as you slowly slide the discs forward, keeping your arms straight and opening your hips as you extend. Go as far as is comfortable for you, then reverse the move, pressing down into the floor as you pull the discs back to the start.

Disc-Free: From all fours, slowly walk your hands out in front of you as far as you comfortably can, then back in again.

Reverse Plank Hold

Reverse Plank Hold

Sit with your legs extended and a disc underneath each heel, feet flexed. Place your hands on either side of your hips, fingers forward, then straighten your arms, open your chest and lift your hips to align with your head and heels, head neutral (reverse plank). Hold and breathe.

Disc-Free: Simply perform without the discs.

Reverse Plank Slide-Through

Reverse Plank Slide-Through

Sit with your legs extended and a disc underneath each heel, feet flexed. Place your hands on either side of your hips, fingers forward, then straighten your arms, open your chest and lift your hips to align with your head and heels, head neutral (reverse plank). Keep your arms straight as you tuck your pelvis, lower your hips and pull your lower body backward through your arms as far as you can.

Disc-Free: Wearing only socks, place each hand on a thick book or similar elevated surface and straighten your arms. Execute the move as described above.

Sample Workouts

Circuit 1

Complete three rounds of the below workout. Perform the moves back-to-back with no rest in between moves and 60 seconds between rounds.

Exercise Reps
Side-Plank Lift (right) 10
Forward Glide 10
Side-Plank Lift (left) 10
Plank Slide Tuck 10

Circuit 2

Complete three rounds of the below workout. Do all moves back-to-back with no rest between moves or rounds.

Exercise Reps
Side-Plank Lift (right) 10
Forward Glide 10
Side-Plank Lift (left) 10
Plank Slide Tuck 10

METCON 30-20-10

Complete 30 reps of each move, then run 400 meters (two to three minutes). Then complete 20 reps of each and run, then 10 reps of each and run. Rest as needed for the larger sets but more briskly and efficiently. Keep track of your time

  • Mountain Slider
  • Plank Slide Jack
  • Heel Drive
  • 400-Meter Run

14-Minute EMOM

Every minute on the minute, perform the indicated exercise for 45 seconds, then rest the remaining 15 seconds. At the top of the next minute, begin the next move. Complete two rounds.

  • Plank Slide Tuck
  • Plank Disc Hold
  • Reverse Plank Slide-Through
  • Reverse Plank Hold
  • Forward Glide
  • Side-Plank Lift (right)
  • Side-Plank Lift (left)

TABATA

Perform each move all-out for 20 seconds, then rest 10 seconds. Go through the workout two times through for a total of four minutes.

Exercise Reps
Side-Plank Lift (right) 10
Forward Glide 10
Side-Plank Lift (left) 10
Plank Slide Tuck 10