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- American Council on Exercise: American Council on Exercise (ACE)-sponsored Study Reveals Best and Worst Abdominal Exercises
- American Council on Exercise: Supine Reverse Crunches
- American Council on Exercise: Ab Exercises
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One-Week Abdominal Workout for Women
This one-week training session is designed to help women lose belly fat and tone the abdominal muscles. Exercises are to be performed four days a week with one day of rest from the exercises in between. Each exercise consists of three sets of 25 repetitions. To lose the fat that's hiding your abdominal muscles, you must do cardio exercises for three to five days of the week, with each cardio session lasting 30 to 60 minutes.
The classic crunch is a good starter exercise before you begin the more advanced exercises. Lie on your back on a slightly padded exercise mat that will provide extra cushioning for your lumbar region. Cross your arms over your chest, keeping your knees bent and feet flat on the mat. Use your abdominal muscles to lift yourself a few inches from the mat and hold for two seconds before lowering back to the starting position. Repeat. For a more challenging workout, complete the exercise on a stability ball. The American Council on Exercise notes that one of the top three best abdominal exercises is the crunch on a stability ball.
The reverse crunch strengthens your lower abdominals. Begin by lying on your back on a padded exercise mat. Keep your arms at your sides, hands flat on mat, feet off the floor and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Your back should be pressed into the mat. Lift your hips a few inches off the floor and hold for two seconds before lowering to starting position. Repeat. The American Council on Exercise emphasizes the need to keep proper form when executing this exercise to avoid excessive stress to your lower back. Keep the emphasis of movement on pulling your pelvis upward, toward your ribs.
Oblique crunches give you a slim waistline by working the sides of your abdominals. Lie on your right side on a padded exercise mat with both hands behind your head and knees bent. Use only your torso to lift yourself a few inches off the mat and hold for two seconds before lowering yourself. Complete one set before switching sides. Alternate sides until recommended sets and repetitions are completed.
The plank is an exercise that forces you to tighten your abs for a short period of time, improving your endurance. On a padded exercise mat, lie on your stomach, resting on your forearms and pointing your toes down. Begin by pushing your body up from the mat, while still keeping your forearms and toes pressed into the mat. Your body should be parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 10 counts before lowering. Repeat. This exercise is challenging and beginners can start with three sets of 10 repetitions and work up to 25 repetitions.
- Maryurys Connolly/Demand Media