Best Core Exercises for women

by FitnessG

Finding out the best core exercises for women can be a priority as the wobbly middle is not something any lady aspires to. Here are the best core exercises for women.

Women go through various different life changes - the biggest of which is the carrying and birthing of children. All these hormonal and life changes do damage to the core of women, particularly in women who have not developed strength in their core. Learning the best core exercises for women is of the essence in order not to waste time doing exercises that make no difference whatsoever to the core.

Some ladies find it difficult to attend a gym so finding out the best exercises that can be performed with little to no bits of equipment is also useful information to know when strengthening the core.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) sponsored a study a few years ago detailing what they considered to be the best core exercises.

The ACE Study on core exercises

The Study that ACE carried out took a random sample of people, both male and female, between the ages of 20 and 45.  These people ranged from experienced exercise performers to the relatively novice fitness freaks.  The idea was to put them all through a range of exercises that would focus on the midsection of the body - the core muscles.

The people in the trial would use a range of home based equipment and gym based things to see what was most effective when compared with a simple crunch performed with no equipment.  The people were wired up so that any changes in tension in the main core muscles would be measured.

A fairly straightforward test to test some of the claims being made by various advertisers regarding the usefulness of their infomercial product.  Have a read of the document if you want to know all the detail of the results. (Click on the words - American Council on Exercise(ACE) below.)

I have listed below 4 of the best core exercises for women based on this study.

The Bicycle Crunch

This was shown to be the most effective form of exercise for the stomach.  The study measured both the effect on the rectus abdomini, which is the set of muscles that hold the stomach flat and the obliques, which are situated at the side of the stomach.

When a lady carries a child, the rectus abdominis are the muscles that can separate quite badly leaving the lady with a sagging belly or a dome shaped stomach when any pressure is exerted on the stomach such as lying down, sitting up, picking up a child and other usual activities.  It is a very important part of the core to strengthen.

Have a look at the video below to see how the exercise is performed.  All that would be required for this would be a mat or a thick carpet to keep the back shielded from the pressure.

The ACE study found that this exercise yielded 148 percent more effect than a simple crunch on the rectus abdominus and a whopping 190 percent more effect on the obliques.

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See Some Bicycle Crunches for your core

Captain's Chair

This was the next exercise that was pretty useful for the core.

The Study found it to yield 112 percent more activity in the rectus abdominus than a simple crunch and a particularly excellent 210 percent more activity on the obliques.

This one does require gym equipment but definitely worth it for the results you will get doing this core exercise.

In the UK, get the Adidas power tower

How to perform the Captain's Chair

The Reverse Crunch

This exercise has different effects on the two core areas targeted in the study.  

It was only 9 percent more effective than a simple crunch when considering the rectus abdominus so actually it is almost equivalent to a crunch for that area of the core.  On the other hand, when the obliques are looked at, the reverse crunch is significantly more effective (140 percent more, to be exact).

This is another exercise that requires nothing more than a mat to protect the back so easily performed at home.

How to do a reverse crunch

Crunch on exercise Ball

This is the fourth core exercise for women who want to strengthen their core muscles.

It was found by the ACE study to be 39 percent more effective on the rectus abdominus than a crunch without the ball and 47 percent more effective on the obliques.

This exercise just requires an exercise ball which is a quite cheap and versatile piece of equipment.  It can even be used when pregnant to help correct posture and get the baby in the right position for labor.  An excellent purchase.

(In the UK, get your stability ball here on Amazon)

Three in one video Abdominal exercises from ACE

In conclusion

These are four of the best core exercises for women as detailed by the American Council on Exercise.  There are quite a few more on the study list, some effective and some not so much.  I tried to detail the best four for every day use.

Remember that trying to get a flat stomach has to be an al round plan.  Just doing the exercise will strengthen your muscles but you may not see the results though you may feel a decrease in back pain.  You may not see the results as a result of the layer of fat that may be surrounding your core area.  A great diet will help you begin to see as well as feel the benefits of all the work you are doing.

All the best.

Updated: 06/02/2012, FitnessG
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FitnessG on 09/23/2012

Thanks for popping in, Katiem!

katiem2 on 09/23/2012

Great tips for building the all vital core strength. Thanks for the great guide to fitness. It's that time of year to supplement as we wind down for fall and winter. :)K

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