Ab Workouts for Women

Mini Abs Routine, Major Results

Four moves to define your abs. No gear required!


We love captain’s chair raises, decline bench crunches and cable woodchoppers, but these moves are only practical if you have a fully-stocked gym at your disposal. That’s where this routine comes in – it’s completely portable (all you need is a mat!), delivers a great abdominal burn, and you’ll be done in less than 20 minutes.

What you’ll need: An exercise mat. (That’s it!)

What to do: Perform the following moves in order. Do two to three sets of 12 to 20 reps for each exercise, resting 30 to 45 seconds between sets.



Target Muscles: rectus abdominis

Set Up: Lie faceup on a mat, with your legs extended and arms overhead as shown [A].

Action: Raise both legs toward the ceiling; at the same time, lift your shoulders and upper back from the mat and reach your arms toward your shins [B]. Slowly return to the start.

Oblique Crunch


Target Muscles: obliques, rectus abdominis

Set Up: Begin by lying faceup on a mat. Place your hands lightly behind your head and lift your legs, with your knees bent to 90 degrees and calves parallel to the floor as shown. (Beginners: Leave your feet on the ground.)

Action: Contract your abs and lift your shoulders from the mat. As you rise, rotate through your waist to direct your right elbow towards your left knee; immediately turn to the right, directing your left elbow towards your right knee, to complete one rep. Return to the start.

Supine Leg Lift


Target Muscles: rectus abdominis

Set Up: Lie faceup on a mat, with your legs extended and raised a few inches from the floor. Place your hands behind your head and raise your shoulders from the ground.

Action: Slowly alternate lifting one leg until it points towards the ceiling, then the other. (Lifting each leg once counts as a single rep.) Remember to breathe and keep your shoulders lifted from the mat throughout your set.

Standing Rotations


Target Muscles: obliques

Set Up: Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Place your hands lightly behind your head.

Action: Using your abs, not the momentum of your shoulders, and without pulling on your head or neck, rotate through your waist to the left, then the right. (One rotation to each side is one rep.) Your speed should be fairly quick but controlled, and keep your elbows in line with your ears as you move.