Abdominal Exercise For Women: Crucial Pointers And Advice

This is what you should know about abdominal exercise for women to get the most out of your workouts. We'll identify the unique advantages (and struggles) women have when doing ab exercise, how to get started the right way.

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• Exercise Like Anyone Else

Abdominal exercise for women: training tips and techniques.

Women aren't so special as to need completely different training exercises and programs from men. Sit-ups, crunches, bicycles, and other ab exercises help (or don't help) just as much.

For better or worse, everyone's in the same boat.


• Getting the 'Ripped' Look is Harder

Women do not have as much testosterone as men (surprise, surprise). And the hormone testosterone is a major factor in giving guys that 'ripped' look.

Testosterone increases muscle growth and accelerates recovery from muscle damage in workouts. And since women don't have nearly as much of it as guys, they don't exhibit the same level of muscle growth or development normally.

Another difference the keeps women from getting that same 'ripped' look is where women store their body fat. Men normally story their body-fat on the sides of their bodies, in 'love-handles', while women store them on their lower abs.[1]

No matter how much specialized abdominal exercise for women you do, it will generally be harder to get cut lower abs.


Work Your Abdominal Muscles Like Any Other Body-Part

Some people are under the illusion that you need to do abdominal work every day in order too see results. Would you do heavy squat every day to see gains in leg strength when you're just starting out? NO!

In the beginning just work your abs 10 min a day, 3 days a week. Don't obsess over it, just make sure that you're sore the day after you workout.

Once you're getting less sore from your workouts and in better shape, try working out 4 and eventually 5 days a week. You'll be working out this often because that's what it takes for you to get sore and your body's so used to the exercise that it can recover in that short time.


Instability and Hyper-extension

Using instability and hyper-extension are great ways to work your abs harder and get stronger.[2] For these, try getting an exercise ball or some other elevated, unstable surface.

For instability lie on the exercise ball, stand on an unstable platform, or lie on something else that's hard to balance yourself on. Then, do your abdominal workout.

This will work your oblique abdominal muscles to stabilize you, help you work balance and with different forces than normal, and keep you interested with another twist on your regular exercises. These are all important for correctly executing abdominal exercise for women.

For hyper-extension you want to extend you back backward, so that you're starting your abdominal exercise from a position that stretches your ad muscles before you contract them. You get a stretch worked into your workout, and you work your abdominal muscles through their complete range of motion.


Focus On Function Over Form in Abdominal Exercise For Women

For ab exercise, focus on measuring function - more reps, more weight, more difficult exercises, etc. It's easy to track your improvements that way.

Whether your goal is strong abs for MMA, tennis, traditional martial arts, as a part of strength training, or just showing off track functionality first. You'll have time to worry about getting your abs to show later; for now, just work on making definite progress.


To Balance Your Abs, Work Your Lower Back!!

On the purely physical side, having a strong back will balance you and keep you from becoming hunched over. It will also protect you from injuries resulting from an imbalance in muscle strength.

On the beauty side of things, a strong back will keep you upright with your shoulders thrown back. This shows off your excellently developed abs quite well.


Get Serious, Get a Plan - Start Now!

Despite the fact that this article is 'for women', most of the information works for guys too. There just isn't that much of a difference between abdominal exercise for men and abdominal exercise for women; the important thing is to choose good exercises and work 'em like hell.

You can do little wrong with well-directed hard work.

Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!

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References:

1. Brungardt, Kurt. 1993. The Complete Book of Abs. New York: Villard Books. Pp. 6
2. Zinczenko, David, and Ted Spiker. 2006. The Abs Diet Get Fit, Stay Fit Plan: The Exercise Program To Flatten Your Belly, Reshape Your Body, And Give You Abs For Life! [Emmaus, Pa.]: Rodale. Pp. 99.

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