Best Exercises to Help Women Develop a Flat Tummy

Feb 2, 2022 mindpump

Getting a flat stomach is one of the most sought after improvements of the body. I don’t know if it is because it is the hardest to achieve of all muscles, or because the sign of a good core means good stability, and power within the trunk. Either way, in order to get a flat tummy, just like any other muscle it needs to be worked.

The Importance of Losing Body Fat

Let’s take a second to call out the irony here. The stomach seems to be the only muscle group we want “flat”. No one trains for a flat bicep, or flat chest. So technically, when someone says they want a flat tummy, what you’re really referring to is proper dieting and nutrition.  

You could spend your days not focusing on a single ab exercise and only doing heavy compound lifts. In conjunction, you’d have a proper nutrition regimen to get rid of any excess body fat that is hiding your abs. Once you get to a certain body fat (<10% for men and <18% for women) you start to see your abs. So you don’t HAVE to do exercises if all you want to do is see a six pack. It comes down to dieting to a low enough body fat percentage that the abs start to appear. The ab musculature isn’t as full of a muscle as the other muscles which is why it is so much harder to see (and hence most likely why people say they want a flat stomach).

Having said that, we must look beyond the aesthetics when it comes to the need for incorporating abdominal exercises. 

The Function of Your Core

Your core musculature is meant to keep your spine stable, rotate your trunk, allow you to safely bend forward and backward, and side to side. If your core is weak, or you aren’t very good at bracing, lots of injuries can happen (predominantly low back issues). I know any time I’ve tweaked my low back, it was usually during a squat or deadlift, and it was because I got to a weight heavy enough to exhaust me to a point I could no longer stabilize my core without giving way a little bit.

To have a great core means working all these areas so you significantly reduce your chance of injury. In terms of aesthetics, building up the abs will give you more fullness, to where you will find your abs still show at higher body fat percentages than the ones listed above. As an example, I can maybe get to about 13-14% and still see a rough outline of the abs giving the illusion I am leaner than I actually am.

The Best Exercises To Help Women Develop a Flat Tummy

So now that we understand the function and importance of a good core I’ll address the best exercises to build out that core. 

Forward Bending – Physio Ball Crunch

What I like about a crunch using the physio ball is that it allows you to work in a fuller range of motion, and really isolate the coveted six pack. The trick here is not to use momentum by swinging your upper body up for the sake of getting reps. You want to really take your time and move one vertebrae at a time and really feel your ab crunch. Your stomach should stay tight that whole time and constantly flex.

Rotation – Cable Chop

The cable chop is a great exercise for targeting the oblique or side muscles of the core. Make sure to get a full twist from facing the cable machine to twisting towards the opposite side. Again, you should feel the obliques really firing to squeeze and contract towards the end of the movement, and feel yourself resisting the cable trying to pull you back towards the stack.

Core Tightening – Vacuum Pose

Not many people practice this but a vacuum pose will really help tighten your abs and pull the core inward. We should all have the ability to control and move our stomach inward and be able to hold it.

Bracing and Stability – Farmer Walk

Farmer walks are an excellent exercise for stabilizing the entire trunk. Trying to walk with heavy dumbbells in each hand will force you to tighten your core and try to maintain that hold throughout the entire walk as the weights are pulling you in every direction. This will translate really well to your compound lifts like squats and deadlifts, and teach you to stay tight especially as the weights get heavy.  

Try these exercises out for 2 or 3 mesocycles and you should see a change in your core. If you combine it with a low body fat percentage they should really begin to pop. Be sure to check out the Mind Pump YouTube page where you can find all these exercises and how to properly execute them.

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