How Women Can Get Six Pack Abs – Beginner’s Workout And Diet

Tried and trusted methods to develop those much-desired abs and look strong and healthy.

Reviewed by Dr. Sudhansu Singh, BPT Dr. Sudhansu Singh Dr. Sudhansu SinghBPT facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_icon
Written by , MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Charushila Biswas MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist linkedin_icon Experience: 6 years
Edited by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health linkedin_icon Experience: 8 years
Fact-checked by , BPharm, Certified Health & Wellness Coach Moksha Gandhi BPharm, Certified Health & Wellness Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
 • 

You don’t have to be a celeb or an athlete. While it is no easy task for women to build toned midriffs, the right combination of diet, exercise, and determination can get you those six-pack abs. This article tells how to get six-pack abs by listing some of the best core workouts for women. Additionally, we have listed a few diet and lifestyle tips you can follow to maintain a toned and healthy body. So what are you waiting for? Scroll down to read!

10 Best Workouts For Women To Get Six Pack Abs

You cannot get six-pack abs without working your ab muscles. You need to lose belly fat to chisel your abs. The following are 10 six-pack ab workouts for women that help you do that.

1. Burn Fat With Cardio and HIIT

If you want to build 6-pack abs, you must first burn the flab. There’s nothing better than cardio and High-intensity interval training (HIIT) to burn calories. Three hours of cardio and HIIT a week can help shed a significant amount of fat from your entire body. You may try running, running up the stairs, skipping, bicycling, playing a sport, swimming, using gym equipment, HIIT, and/or Zumba.

2. Crunches

How to get a bigger butt faster with crunches
Image: Shutterstock

Crunches work the midsection of your abdominal area or the rectus abdominis muscle. This is an effective exercise to start with if you want to strengthen your core.

Steps To Do Crunches
  1. Lie down on your back on the exercise mat.
  2. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the ground.
  3. Place your hands on either side of your head to support its weight.
  4. Curl up at an angle of 30° and exhale.
  5. Inhale and go down to the starting position.
  6. Repeat this for 2-3 sets of 10 reps each.

3. Bicycle Crunches

How to get six-pack abs for women with bicycle crunches
Image: Shutterstock

Bicycle crunches help build the abs and also work on the quadriceps and hamstrings.

Steps To Do Bicycle Crunches
  1. Lie down on your back on the exercise mat.
  2. Place your hands on either side of your head to support its weight.
  3. Curl up at an angle of 45°, exhale, and twist to your right. Bring your right knee towards your chest and try to touch your right knee with your left elbow.
  4. Turn your upper body to the left. Bring your left knee towards your chest and try to touch your left knee with your right elbow.
  5. Repeat this for 2-3 sets of 10 reps each.

4. Sit-Ups

How to get six-pack abs for women through sit-ups
Image: Shutterstock

Sit-ups are similar to crunches and work on the rectus abdominis and external obliques  and help in the abdominal strengthening for women. This is an effective oblique exercise for women to get six-pack abs.

Steps To Do Sit-Ups
  1. Lie down on your back on the exercise mat.
  2. Bend your knees at a 90° angle and keep your feet flat on the mat.
  3. Cross your hands on your chest so that your palms are lightly placed on the opposite shoulders.
  4. Keep your abdomen engaged and, keeping your feet flat on the ground, lift your head and then your shoulders.
  5. Pause for a second and slowly go down to the starting position.
  6. Repeat this for 2-3 sets of 10 reps each.

Variation: Keep your palms on your thighs and arms straight and then do sit-ups. Allow your palms to slide up to your knees when you get up, and slide down when you go back to the starting position. Here are a few more sit-ups variations.

5. Lying Leg Raise

How to get six-pack abs for women with lying leg raise
Image: Shutterstock

Lying leg raise is a bit challenging exercise if you are overweight in the lower body region. This exercise is highly recommended for female core conditioning and carving your abs.

Steps To Do Lying Leg Raise
  1. Lie down on your exercise mat with your hands on either side and palms facing down.
  2. Point your toes out and raise both your legs. Stop when they are at a 90° angle with the floor.
  3. Slowly lower your legs and bring them back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat this for 2-3 sets of 10 reps each.

6. Leg Up Crunch

How to get six-pack abs for women with leg up crunch
Image: Shutterstock

This exercise is a challenging variation of crunches and works on your lower and upper abs.

Steps To Do Leg Up Crunch
  1. Lie down on a mat, raise your legs at 90°, and extend your hands over your head.
  2. Crunch up and try to touch your knees or toes with your fingertips.
  3. Come back down and inhale.
  4. Exhale and crunch up.
  5. Do 3 sets of 12 reps each.
protip_icon Quick Tip
You can challenge yourself by putting a weight on your chest during leg crunch exercise to build core strength.

7. Plank

How to get six-pack abs for women with planks
Image: Shutterstock

Planks help strengthen the core, improve posture, and reduce back pain. They reduce your tummy bulge and work on the rectus abdominis, internal and external oblique muscles, transverse abdominis, arms, shoulders, quads, back, and hip muscles.

Steps To Do Plank
  1. Kneel down on your exercise mat.
  2. Place your palms in front of you. Your palms must be flat on the mat, and your arms should be straight (Cat Pose).
  3. Bend down and place your forearms on the mat.
  4. Extend your legs behind. Keep them straight and flex your toes.
  5. Hold this pose for 10-20 seconds (or more) and feel your shoulders, core, and quads burn.
  6. Release and repeat this 3 more times.

Variation: You can do a side plank by lying down on your side and then lifting your body by supporting it with your forearm and feet.

8. Mountain Climbers

How to get six-pack abs or women with mountain climbing
Image: Shutterstock

The mountain climber exercise mimics the movement of climbing a mountain. It helps in belly fat loss for women and strengthens your core.

Steps To Do Mountain Climbers

  1. Get into a plank pose. Make sure your shoulders, elbows, and wrists are aligned.
  2. Bend your right knee and bring it close to your chest. Place your right foot back down.
  3. As you place your right foot back, hop, and raise your left foot off the floor.
  4. Bend your left knee and bring it close to your chest.
  5. Do this at a higher speed to feel the burn in your abs and thighs.
  6. Do 3 sets of 20 reps each.


protip_icon Quick Tip
You can practice sliding mountain climbers by placing your feet on a towel or disk and starting from the plank position. Speed up the movement to engage your core.

9. Hanging Ab Curl

How to get six-pack abs for women with hanging ab curl
Image: Shutterstock

This is an amazing and fun exercise to tone your abs. It works on the lower ab muscles, inner abs, and transverse abs

Steps To Do Hanging Ab Curl
  1. Grip a pull-up bar and let your legs dangle. Make sure your legs are straight.
  2. Exhale, bend your knees and pull your legs up towards your chest.
  3. Inhale, slowly lower your legs, and bring them back to the starting position.
  4. Do 2 sets of 10 reps each.

10. Arm Pull Over Straight-Leg Crunch

How to get six-pack abs for women with arm pullover straight-leg crunch
Image: Shutterstock

This exercise works on your lower, middle, and upper abs, hip flexors, and hamstrings.

Steps To Do Arm Pull Over Straight-Leg Crunch
  1. Lie down on your exercise mat with legs stretched out and your arms extended over your head.
  2. Lift your legs off the floor at a 45° angle.
  3. Lift your head and shoulders, bring your hands towards your feet, and move your legs up until they are at a 90° angle with the ground.
  4. Slowly release this pose and bring your hands and legs to the starting position.

Tip: You can use 2-pound dumbbells while doing this exercise. You may also do these exercises to reduce lower belly fat.

Apart from this women’s fitness regimen for a flat stomach, you must eat right to get 6-pack abs. Here are some diet tips to follow for sculpting abs for women.

Diet Tips And Sample Diet Chart For Six-Pack Abs

1. Sample Diet Chart For Six Pack Abs

MealsWhat To Eat
Early Morning (7:00 – 7:45 am)1 cup lemon water with honey and cinnamon
Breakfast (8:15 – 9:00 am)Quinoa/oatmeal/eggs + 1 multigrain bread + 1 cup milk and 4-6 almonds
Lunch (12:30 – 1:00 pm)Lettuce boats or chicken/veggie salad
Evening Snack (4:00 pm)Green tea/fresh fruit juice + unsalted popcorn
Dinner (7:00 – 7:30 pm)Chicken/mushroom clear soup with lots of fiber-rich veggies/

boiled black beans and blanched veggies

Here are some more women’s six-pack abs diet tips.

2. Load Up On Lean Protein

Protein is food for muscles. Consume lean protein to help repair and rebuild your muscles because a lot of wear and tear occurs when you work out (1). Include foods like chicken breast, mushroom, lentils, fish, beans, and soy in your diet to give your muscles the required nutrition.

3. Do Not Avoid Healthy Fats

Healthy fats do not make you gain weight. Healthy fats help reduce inflammation and prevent inflammation-induced weight gain (2). Consume almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, avocado, fatty fish, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, cheese, dark chocolate, and eggs.

4. You Need Dietary Fiber

We often assume that we need to avoid carbs to lose weight. But that’s not true. You need the right type of carbs. Dietary fiber is a type of carb that cannot be digested by humans but aids weight loss by keeping you full for a longer duration and preventing fat absorption (3), (4), (5). Consume broccoli, flax seeds, prune, peaches, pear, apple, lima beans, black beans, figs, berries, oats bran, barley, green peas, guava, peach, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, pomegranate, kiwi, brown rice, beetroot, quinoa, and acorn squash.

5. Drink Up

Usually, when you are thirsty but don’t drink water, you may think you are hungry and load up on calories. Moreover, not drinking enough water can prevent your cells from performing their functions, leading to slow metabolism, dehydration, constipation, and bloating (6). Drink at least 2-3 liters of water per day. You can also drink infused water, fresh fruit or vegetable juices, smoothies, coconut water, and buttermilk.

6. No Starving

If you think you will lose weight by starving yourself, you are mistaken. Not eating for a prolonged period may signal the body to shift to the starvation mode, and it will stop using any calories consumed as usable energy. The extra calories will get stored as fat, leading to weight gain. Eat every 2-4 hours to keep your metabolism active and the cells functioning properly.

7. Consume Fat Burners

Some foods help burn calories apart from nourishing your body. Include fat-burning foods in your diet to help you shed fat. Consume grapefruit, green tea, brown rice, quinoa, cayenne pepper, black pepper, celery, cinnamon, yogurt, low-fat milk, nuts, turmeric, dark chocolate, apple cider vinegar, spinach, cauliflower, garlic, and peanut butter. Here’s a list of other foods to eat to get six-pack abs.

Brooke Cavalla, a Certified Prenatal/Postnatal Exercise Specialist, says, “Coffee itself is not directly related to sculpting a 6-pack. It certainly can help boost energy levels and give you a little more “push” during your workouts, which is what helps you burn and get 6-pack abs. When coupled with regular exercise and healthy eating habits, coffee can help give your workouts an extra boost.”

She adds, “There has been some research to suggest that caffeine, the main ingredient in coffee, can help boost your resting metabolic rate (RMR) and reduce hunger signals. RMR is the rate at which your body burns calories.”

With a sample diet plan in hand, you can start your six-pack ab journey. However, it is also important to know the foods one must avoid to achieve effective results. Scroll down to know more.

Foods To Avoid For Six-Pack Abs

  • Processed Foods: Foods high in sugars, sodium, and unhealthy fats
  • Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Sugary drinks like fruit juices, soda, and energy drinks.
  • Refined Grains: White flour, pasta, white bread, and white rice.
  • Deep-Fried Foods: Fried chicken, french fries, and other fried foods.
  • Alcohol: Beer, red wine, white wine, vodka, whiskey, gin, and rum.
  • Sugary Snacks: Cookies, cakes, candy, and other sugary snacks.
  • Fatty Cuts Of Meat: Lean proteins such as tofu, fish, chicken, and turkey.

You now know how to take care of your fitness and diet to get those killer abs. But the most important thing is to be able to maintain the weight loss and your six-pack abs. Here’s how you can maintain your hard-earned six-pack abs.

Lifestyle Changes To Maintain Six Pack Abs

Lifestyle changes help you beyond maintaining your six-pack abs. They give you an inner makeover. Once you get used to a new and better lifestyle, you will love the positive changes and not want to go back. Here’s what you should do:

1. Stop Hitting Snooze

We all do it – keep hitting the snooze button until it’s too late even to take a shower! But if you want to retain your amazing abs, you must drag yourself out of bed. If you wake up early or say, at least 2 hours before you head out, you can do yoga or workout, prepare breakfast and lunch, and not look like you rushed to work or school without brushing your hair.

2. Reduce Stress

Stress is harmful in many ways. When you are stressed, the hormone cortisol is released, which increases the glucose levels in your blood and causes increased hunger (7), (8). This leads to fat deposition in the abdominal area and, in some cases, insulin resistance and diabetes (9). Yoga, meditation, cardiovascular exercise, weight training, playing a sport, swimming, painting, reading books, traveling, listening to music, and even applying makeup for fun can help reduce stress.

3. Don’t Skip Breakfast

If you miss breakfast, you will feel hungry all day long. You need to have a substantial breakfast to help your body function normally. Include fiber, protein, and healthy fats in your breakfast to have a complete and balanced meal before you start your day.

4. Avoid Junk

Wondering what to eat to get a six-pack? Avoid junk food. High-carb, high-calorie, and zero nutritional value foods are junk foods. They do nothing but harm your health. Avoid snacking on junk food, such as potato chips, fries, fried chicken, Indian fried snacks, etc. Also, avoid midnight snacking.

5. Weekly Workout

Working out is essential if you want to maintain your abs. Work out at least 4 hours a week to keep yourself in shape. Do a mix of cardio, weights, and strength training to shed the fat and build lean muscle mass.

6. Build Social Support

Social support is the most important factor when it comes to weight loss or maintaining it. Associate with people who have lost weight or want to lose weight and are serious about it. You can learn a lot from them and stay motivated.

7. Share Your Calories

You may have a craving for a certain dessert or fried food. Well, if you do decide to give in, share your dessert or fried food with your friends or spouse to consume fewer calories. Also, when you eat, use smaller bowls or plates to signal your brain that you are consuming enough and don’t require any more food.

Amy Carrad, a blogger, shares her journey through a disordered relationship with exercise and eating, highlighting the shift from unhealthy eating habits to a focus on food purity. She writes, “When I realized I was no longer healthy I questioned why I had the behaviors I did. In the beginning, it was always because I was doing it to be healthy for life. So it made no sense that I kept doing it when I had the evidence that I was too lean to be healthy anymore (i).”

Infographic: Halasana For Six-Pack Abs

Halasana is an excellent yoga pose for toning stomach muscles for women. It also helps relieve stiffness in the neck and strengthens your shoulders and arms. In addition, practicing this asana may improve joint mobility. Check out the infographic below to learn how to practice Halasana to get six-pack abs.

halasana for six pack abs(infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

You can include the above-mentioned women’s fitness tips for abs in your workout and wellness routine to see the difference for yourself. Cardio, crunches, plank exercises, mountain climbers, and hanging ab curls are some of the various exercises that can help you lose fat, tone the abs, get a strong core, and achieve your fitness goals. Complementing this with a balanced diet and an active lifestyle would help you see a visible difference soon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can walking give you abs?

Brooke says, “Walking is a great way to help your body burn calories and stay active. And if you are in a calorie deficit through your diet, walking can also help you lose weight. However, I would not say this is the most efficient way to get a 6-pack.”

At what body fat percentage do abs show females?

“Some women may begin to see their ab muscles around 18% body fat, but if you really want to see the definition, body fat levels will likely need to be around 12-17%. But this varies based on genetics and fitness level,” says Brooke.

How long does it take to get abs for a female?

It takes somewhere around six months to a year for women to get six-pack abs. The time depends on your current body weight, medical history, genetics, and adherence to the plan.

What foods ruin your abs?

All kinds of high-calorie junk food can ruin your abs.

How long do you need to hold a plank to flatten your belly?

Start with a 30-second hold and then move up to 1-3 minutes. Make sure you maintain the correct posture while doing a plank to prevent lower back injury. Also, eat the right foods to shed pounds.

What are the first signs of abs?

The first signs of abs are pants fitting loosely at the waistline (which indicates you are losing fat around your stomach) and the visibility of the upper 3 abs (as they are easiest to work compared to the lower abs).

What is the ideal body fat percentage to see abs?

Ideally, 10-14 percent body fat is considered safe to see abs. This is when you would be lean enough to show muscles that make the abs visible.

Is it easier for a guy or a girl to get a six-pack?

Generally, males have more muscle mass than females, which makes it easier for them to build visible abs. But with the right abs training for women, they can do it too.

Can you get abs in a month?

No, achieving abs in 30 days is just not feasible. In fact, even those who are lean and in good shape may take anywhere between 6 months and a year to get abs.

Key Takeaways

  • Target the abdominal muscles by incorporating strength training and cardio exercises.
  • Be consistent with the workout, and stick to your exercise routine and diet.
  • Include more lean proteins and dietary fibers in your balanced diet.
  • Avoid junk and processed food that contains excessive simple carbs and sugars.
  • Get 7-8 hours of good quality sleep and keep your body hydrated to flush out toxins.

Get ready to tone your abs with a simple 10-minute routine! Click on this video and follow along with this easy ab workout to get a stronger core in no time.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Role of dietary protein in post-exercise muscle reconditioning, Nestlé Nutrition Institute Workshop Series, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23765352
  2. Good Fats versus Bad Fats: A Comparison of Fatty Acids in the Promotion of Insulin Resistance, Inflammation, and Obesity, Missouri Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6140086/
  3. Dietary fiber and weight regulation, Nutrition Reviews, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11396693
  4. Interrelated effects of dietary fiber and fat on lymphatic cholesterol and triglyceride absorption in rats, The Journal of Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2555465
  5. Effects of Dietary Fiber and Its Components on Metabolic Health, Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257631/
  6. Water, Hydration and Health, Nutrition Reviews, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/
  7. Cortisol increases gluconeogenesis in humans: its role in the metabolic syndrome, Clinical Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11724664
  8. Stress, cortisol, and other appetite-related hormones: Prospective prediction of 6-month changes in food cravings and weight, Obesity, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5373497/
  9. Abdominal fat and insulin resistance in normal and overweight women: Direct measurements reveal a strong relationship in subjects at both low and high risk of NIDDM, Diabetes, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8621015
Was this article helpful?
thumbsupthumbsdown
Dr. Sudhansu Singh is a Physiotherapist, Sports and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, and Neuro Physiotherapist with 8 years of experience. He is a member of the Federation of Indian Manual Therapists (FIMT) and an active member of the Delhi Council of Physiotherapy and FIMT Australia Association. Dr. Singh earned his Bachelor's degree in Physiotherapy from Padmashree Institute of Physiotherapy, Bangalore, Rajiv Gandhi...read full bio

Latest Articles