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

Medically reviewed by Dr. Sudhansu Singh, Physiotherapist
by
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
How Women Can Get Six Pack Abs – Beginner’s Workout And Diet Hyderabd040-395603080 January 2, 2020

Six-pack abs are not a “man thing” anymore. Neither are they restricted to athletes, dancers, and celebs. You too can get sculpted abs. But, getting a six-pack can be challenging if you are not sure about the diet and workout you need to follow. To make it easier for you, this article provides the best tips on how women can get six-pack abs and maintain them. Keep reading!

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. Here are 10 ways to 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 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

Crunches Pinit

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Crunches work the mid-section 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

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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

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Sit-ups are similar to crunches and work on the rectus abdominis and external obliques. This is one of the best ways to get six-pack abs for women.

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

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Lying leg raise is a bit challenging exercise if you are overweight in the lower body region. This exercise is highly recommended if you want to lose weight from your belly region and carve 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

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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.

7. Plank

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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 obliques, 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

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The mountain climber exercise mimics the movement of climbing a mountain. It helps burn the belly fat and strengthen 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.

9. Hanging Ab Curl

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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

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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 exercising, you must eat right to get 6-pack abs. Here are some diet tips you should follow to sculpt your abs. 

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 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 The 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 the 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.

You now know what foods will best help you 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 an abs 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, cardio, 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.

Conclusion

Getting six-pack abs is not impossible if you put your mind to it. Stay focused and adhere to a low-calorie, balanced diet, workout regularly, and maintain a good lifestyle.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

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.

9 sources

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Charushila Biswas

Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. And that prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.