Ab Workouts for Women

All-Star Core Moves

Make your six-pack pop with these top abdominal exercises from five fitness experts.

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Scissor Shaper


Set Up: Lie faceup and extend your legs toward the ceiling. Reach your fingers toward your toes and lift your shoulders from floor [A].

Action: Slowly lower your right leg as you open your left arm wide toward the side, keeping your foot suspended a few inches above the mat [B]. Lift your arm and leg back to the starting position. Next, lower your left leg as you open your right arm. Return to the start. Do three sets of eight to 15 repetitions.

Expert: Carol Murphy, 2010 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year, owner and director of FitLife in Rochester, New York, and star of over 15 workout DVDs, including Everyday Fit with Carol Murphy.



Set Up: Lie facedown on a mat. Bend your arms and position your elbows beneath your shoulders, with your hands fisted and touching the mat.

Action: Lift your hips from the ground, supporting your body weight between your forearms and your toes. Hold this position for two to four sets of 20 to 30 seconds each. If you can make it to the one-minute mark, go for it!

Expert: Cathe Friedrich, National Fitness Hall of Fame inductee with over 170 workout videos to her name.

Concentrated Crunch with Swivel


Set Up: Lie faceup on a mat. Bend your legs and lift your feet so that your calves are parallel to the ground.

Action: With your arms extended at your sides, crunch to lift your shoulders from the floor [A]. Next, reach your left hand toward your left ankle as you drop both knees toward the right [B]. To complete one rep, repeat on the other side by dropping your knees to the left and reaching your right hand toward your right ankle. Do two sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Expert: Kathy Smith, author, fitness expert and star of the new DVD workout line, Ageless with Kathy Smith.

Thread the Needle


Set Up: Sit tall on the floor, holding a towel with both hands while extending your arms in front of your chest.

Action: Lean back slightly, lifting and straightening your legs to bring both your legs and body into a V shape, as shown [A]. Slowly “thread” your feet back and forth, moving one leg over top of the other [B]; crossing each leg once counts as one rep. Repeat for two sets of 12 reps.

Expert: Linda LaRue, Los Angeles-based celebrity trainer and creator of the Core Transformer videos and exercise tube.

Oblique to Vertical-Leg Crunch


Set Up: Lie faceup on a mat, with your knees bent at 90 degrees, calves parallel to the floor.

Action: Place your hands lightly behind your head and lift your shoulders from the ground; at the same time, twist through your waist to direct your right elbow toward your left knee [A]. Lower your shoulders and repeat, this time bringing your left elbow toward your right knee. Next, return your shoulders to the floor and point your feet toward the ceiling; crunch up once again to complete one rep [B]. Repeat from the top for two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps.

Expert: Darya K. Bronston, founder and CEO of Annovium Products LLC, fitness instructor at Core Fitness Training in Santa Barbara, and inventor of the CoreFitnessRoller.