After 18 years as a personal trainer, without a doubt one of the most-asked questions by my clients is “Sam, how can I tone my stomach and get great abs?”. Yep, everyone wants a toned midsection and washboard abs, especially as the weather starts warming up. I’m going to show you some of my favourite abs workouts for women, designed to tone your stomach and uncover those ab muscles, plus I’ll let you in on a few tips to fast-track your results!

P.S. If you’re looking for some home abs workouts for men, head over to my ‘dad bod be gone’ guide!


VIDEO: Abs workouts for women (beginner)

Beginner Workout : Abs

This ab workout is perfect if you’re fairly new to exercise and you want to build your abdominal muscle strength safely.

If you’re an absolute beginner, start off doing 30 seconds rounds for each of the 7 exercises (30 seconds on and 30 seconds rest). As you build your strength, go for longer, working your way up until you reach a full minute for each exercise. If you aim for progress not perfection, it won’t be long before you can achieve your daily 28-minute exercise goal!

  • Beginner’s Abs Exercise #1: Swing Sit Ups (30 seconds)
  • Beginner’s Abs Exercise #2: Toe Taps (30 seconds)
  • Beginner’s Abs Exercise #3: Kneeling Plank (30 seconds)
  • Beginner’s Abs Exercise #4: Lying Leg Raise – Left Side (30 seconds)
  • Beginner’s Abs Exercise #5: Lying Leg Raise – Right Side (30 seconds)
  • Beginner’s Abs Exercise #6: Supported V Sit (30 seconds)
  • Beginner’s Abs Exercise #7: Alternating Kneeling Shoulder Touches (30 seconds)

Repeat this beginner’s abs workout routine three times, and you’ll be well on your way towards a strong core and a toned stomach!


VIDEO: Ab workouts for women (intermediate)

Try my 7-minute ‘Core Crusher’ a try. This workout looks deceptively easy but I guarantee you’ll really feel the burn!

#Sam 7 – Core Crusher
  • Core Crusher Exercise #1: Pushup Alternate Hand To Toe (30 seconds, no rest)
  • Core Crusher Exercise #2: Side Bridge – Left Side (30 seconds, no rest)
  • Core Crusher Exercise #3: Side Bridge – Right Side (30 seconds, no rest)
  • Core Crusher Exercise #4: Diagonal Mountain Climber (30 seconds, no rest)
  • Core Crusher Exercise #5: Flutter Kicks (30 seconds, no rest)
  • Core Crusher Exercise #6: V Sit (30 seconds, no rest)
  • Core Crusher Exercise #7: Core Crunches (30 seconds, no rest)

Toned Abs Tip #1: How to max your fat-burn

Incorporate Resistance Training!

Resistance training builds lean muscle and boosts your metabolism so your body will burn calories long after you’ve finished your workout – yep, even while you’re sitting on the couch!

That’s right cardio bunnies – you need to do weights! The good news is that this doesn’t mean you have to lift heavy or become Queen Of The Squat Rack. Basically anything that creates a resistance that your muscles work against can be considered a form of resistance training. Resistance training can involve your own body weight or incorporating simple resistance bands, medicine balls or even working on the Pilates reformer.

The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn throughout the day. The more calories you burn, the easier it will be to reduce your overall body fat (without restrictive dieting). And, as your fat reduces, you’ll naturally uncover the great abs that lay just underneath!

resistance training using your own body helps burn more calories to uncover your ab muscles faster
Include resistance training to burn more energy and uncover your ab muscles faster


VIDEO: 28-minute workout ‘Absolute Power’ (advanced)

Challenge yourself with my advanced 28-minute workout ‘Absolute Power’. It’s a resistance-based workout that is at what my 28ers call the ‘maniac level’, so it will really put your body through the wringer! This resistance-based workout will keep your metabolism revved all day, to help you burn belly fat and uncover those amazing abs. So… are you ready to feel the burn? Let’s do this!

Advanced 28 Minute Workout : Absolute Power
  • Absolute Power (Advanced) Exercise #1: Resistance Boxing Jabs
    (60 seconds on, no rest)
  • Absolute Power (Advanced) Exercise #2: Resistance Squats
    (60 seconds on, no rest)
  • Absolute Power (Advanced) Exercise #3: Bridge With Lat Pull
    (60 seconds on, no rest)
  • Absolute Power (Advanced) Exercise #4: Jackknife Situps
    (60 seconds on, no rest)
  • Absolute Power (Advanced) Exercise #5: Chair Step With Resistance Curl – Left Side
    (60 seconds on, no rest)
  • Absolute Power (Advanced) Exercise #6: Chair Step With Resistance Curl – Right Side
    (60 seconds on, no rest)
  • Absolute Power (Advanced) Exercise #7: Long Jump Run Around
    (60 seconds on, no rest)

What are core muscles?

The term ‘core’ commonly refers to all the muscles in your midsection (front, back and sides). It includes your traverse abdominis, erector spinae, obliques as well as your lower lats.

great abs Snez & Sam Wood
Everyone needs a strong core

What are the benefits of having a strong core?

It’s easy to take your core muscles for granted but without a strong midsection, you wouldn’t be able to do relatively simple things like lugging the weekly shopping out of your car or picking up your toddler for a big hug!

Having a strong core means more than just being able to show off rock-hard abs (not that there’s anything wrong with showing off your hard work!). Having a strong midsection is fundamentally important to your body’s ability to carry out a range of functional movements, such as:

  • Improved posture
  • Better balance
  • Improved control and efficiency of movement
  • Greater endurance while exercising
  • Reduced likelihood of lower-back pain & injuries

VIDEO: 28-minute workout ‘Eye of The Tiger’ (beginner)

Beginner 28 Minute Workout : Eye of the Tiger
  • Eye Of The Tiger Exercise #1: Deep Mountain Climber Into Lunge Hold Alternating
    (20 seconds on, 40 seconds rest)
  • Eye Of The Tiger Exercise #2: Full Situps With Fingertips On Temples
    (20 seconds on, 40 seconds rest)
  • Eye Of The Tiger Exercise #3: Resistance Squats
    (20 seconds on, 40 seconds rest)
  • Eye Of The Tiger Exercise #4: Resistance Clean & Press – Left Side
    (20 seconds on, 40 seconds rest)
  • Eye Of The Tiger Exercise #5: Resistance Clean & Press – Right Side
    (20 seconds on, 40 seconds rest)
  • Eye Of The Tiger Exercise #6: Resistance Boxing Uppercuts
    (20 seconds on, 40 seconds rest)
  • Eye Of The Tiger Exercise #7: Deep Sumo Squat & Hold
    (20 seconds on, 40 seconds rest)
  • Eye Of The Tiger Exercise #7: Core Crunches
    (20 seconds on, 40 seconds rest)

Abs workouts if you hate doing sit-ups

If you’re sick of sit-ups but need an abs workout to strengthen your midsection, leave you sore to the core and help you work towards smashing your weight loss goals, why not put these super circuits to the test?

You don’t need any special equipment so you can do this workout virtually anywhere for a quick attack on your stomach area!

No-Situp Abs Workout #1 (beginner)

Exercise #1: Bicycle Crunches (continuous for 40 seconds)
  • Lift your legs into a tabletop position, and brace your core
  • Perform a crunch on an angle by bringing your left elbow to your right knee, then bring your right elbow to your left knee.

Great for: Upper abs and obliques (it takes your standard crunches to the next level!)

Exercise #2: Leg Lowers (slow for 20 reps)
  • Lay flat and straight on your back and slowly raise and lower your legs within a range that is comfortable for you.
  • Make sure your hands and lower back are always on the floor.
  • Keep your movements slow and controlled and really focus on maintaining strong lower abdominal muscles.

Great for: Lower abs.

Exercise #3: Plank Up Downs (10 reps)
  • Begin in a full plank with your hands under your shoulders
  • Lower your right elbow to the mat then your left elbow, so you’re in an elbow plank position.
  • To rise up again, put your right hand on the mat and straighten your right elbow.
  • Do the same on the left to return to a full plank. 

Great for: Core.

Exercise #4: Side Plank Hip Dips (20 per side)
  • Position yourself in a side plank position
  • Dip your hips down towards the floor
  • Raise your hips back up without rotating your body. 

Great for: Posture & Obliques.

Exercise #5: Slider Knee Tucks (20 slow reps)
  • Grab some sliders and begin in a push-up position with your feet resting on the sliders.
  • Brace your core first, then bring your knees in towards your chest slowly
  • Now extend your legs out again while maintaining a strong upper body posture

No-Situp Abs Workout #2 (intermediate)

VIDEO: 7 Minute Core Workout

Quick Core Workout
Exercise #1: Leg lowers (20 reps)

They might seem easy at first, but if you’re doing it right, this is one of those core exercises that’ll have your abs burning in no time.

  • Lay flat and straight on your back and slowly raise and lower your legs within a range that is comfortable for you.
  • Make sure your hands and lower back are always on the floor.
  • Keep your movements slow and controlled and really focus your mind on your lower abdominal muscles.
Exercise #2: Crunches with elevated feet (30 reps)
  • Stay on your back, but now raise your legs to a 90-degree angle to your hips, with your knees bent and ankles crossed.
  • Take a preparation breath and, as you exhale, curl up into a crunch.
  • Breath in as you lower down.
  • Repeat that 30 times and feel the burn in your upper abdominals!
Exercise #3: Side plank – Left (hold for as long as you can)

This is the final exercise in this core crunching abs workout so give it all you can – you’ve got this!

  • Lay on your left side, keeping your body straight and aligned.
  • Put your left elbow under your shoulder and use it for support as you raise your hips off the ground
  • Now hold for as long as you can, keeping your chest open and ensure you keep a straight line from your head down to your toes (this might be a static hold but you will feel it!)
Exercise #4: Side plank – Right (hold for as long as you can)
  • Lay on your right side, keeping your body straight and aligned.
  • Put your right elbow under your shoulder and use it for support as you raise your hips off the ground
  • Now hold for as long as you can, keeping your chest open and ensure you keep a straight line from your head down to your toes.

Repeat this quick core workout routine three times and I promise, if you weren’t sure before today, you’ll definitely know where your abs are tomorrow!


Toned Abs Tip #2: What to eat for faster results

It really is true, abs ARE made in the kitchen!

abs are made in the kitchen
Great abs are made in the kitchen!

Eating real, whole foods that nourish your body is essential if you want to get a toned physique.

Don’t skip meals, just eat ‘real food’.

This doesn’t mean you have to give your diet a major overhaul overnight. You can make great progress towards toning your stomach, simply by consciously reducing your intake of refined carbs, salt, added sugar and alcohol. And, of course, avoid stomach-bloating processed and packaged foods wherever possible.


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Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change. Sam Wood has over 18 years experience in the health and fitness industry, and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators. He is also the founder and trainer at Australia’s number one online fitness and nutrition program, and owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed.