5 Core Exercises Every Woman Should Do

There’s probably no body part women obsess over more than their midsections. Because many women naturally hold onto body fat — and bloat — in this area, it can be one of the toughest to whip into shape.

“The muscles of men and women don’t differ significantly though women tend to be longer waisted and wider through the pelvis,” said Michele Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise science at Auburn University in Alabama. “It’s a challenge for us to develop nice flat, firm abs, especially after having a baby or as we get older.”

A challenge, but not impossible. Here Olson describes the five best ab exercises for women based on her experience and how the “core” muscles of the abs, waist and back have responded to special testing by exercise scientists. “Doing five to 10 of each of these moves, two to three a week, is so much more effective than doing hundreds of crunches every day,” she said.

Ball Roll Out

Why it works: Tests show that even the deepest core muscles fire up during this exercise. At the same time, the hip muscles show a relatively low involvement so there’s little risk of back injury. Olson said this move is especially good for new moms because it helps realign and strengthen the spine after giving birth.

How you do it: Kneel directly behind a large exercise ball with your palms on top of the ball, arms straight. Slowly roll the ball forward and away from you, stretching your body out as you go. Roll out as far out in front of you as you can while still maintaining balance and without losing control of the ball.

Hold at the end point for a moment then roll back to the start. Note: If you prefer, you can use an “ab wheel” instead of a ball.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/WomensHealth/best-abdominal-exercises-women/story?id=12821147

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