Abdominal muscles or Abs as they are more frequently referred to are the large group of muscles in the front of the abdomen. Mighty muscles they are too! They assist in the regular breathing movement which whilst not compulsory certainly helps! They also support the muscles of the spine while lifting. Finally they ensure that abdominal organs such as the intestines in place. But what are the best ab exercises for women and how can the mighty kettlebell help?
Working these muscles will help you to develop a strong core. The benefits of which are many. With a strong core your risk of lower back pain is reduced. It will certainly improve your posture. As indicated above you will breathe better and yes most possibly have a slimmer waistline.
They are important muscles but as ever with any training to ensure that you get the best results avoid over training. So for me probably do no more than three sessions a week.
Most people believe that the only way to “work the abs” is the sit up or crunch but planking, side planks and a good old fashioned wood chop work just as well. However, not everyone thinks about the humble kettlebell: that steel object left unused in the corner of the gym! It will not surprise you to know that it can play a wonderful part in exercising those abs.
As always and this will apply to all the exercises that follow chose a weight that is appropriate to you. Yes, you want it to be sufficiently heavy to work the body and get the heart rate up. You can then enjoy the post exercise burn. Equally, you don’t want it to be so heavy so that your technique is poor or you strain a muscle. Always begin low and work towards heavier weights.
So here’s five that will make you thrive!
This is one of the most simplest exercises and possibly the easiest to master. Just completing this routine will give your core a good workout but variety is always the spice of life so we’ve five here.
So let’s start
- Begin with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
- With a slight bend in your knee make sure that your core is engaged and crucially the back is straight. You can now lean forward and grasp the kettlebell with both hands.
- In one single movement push the hips forward while swinging the kettlebell. It needs to be one fluid movement and completed at maximum speed whilst keeping the kettlebell under control.
As with all swings of a kettlebell it’s the hips that are doing the work. Do not lift with arms. Kettlebells work your body by driving hips with the feet placed firmly on the ground.
Aim for three sets of 10
One Arm Swing
Spookily where we’ve just been using two arms to using the kettlebell we will now use one. Essentially the movements are the same but you know only have one hand on the kettlebell. And the exercise will require greater balance and stability because you are only working on one side of the body.
Ready: let’s go for it
- Start at the same position as you would a standard swing.
- Now pick up the kettlebell with one hand, keeping your other hand loose. Note that the loose arm will automatically swing behind you the laws of physics.
- Again drive the kettlebell forward with your hips, keeping the back straight and the core locked.
Aim for three sets of 10 on each arm alternating after each 10. I’d also drop a weight on the kettlebell front
We’ve gone up and down with one and ant two so now it’s time to go side to side. Lateral swings as the name suggests will happen when we swing the kettlebell laterally across the body.
This exercise will really the core and as with all swinging keeping the kettlebell under control works the body from head to toe.
- Keep your back straight with your core engaged. Put your feet hip-width apart
- Now lean forward and grab the kettlebell with one hand.
- Now push your hips back, then powerfully drive them forward as your arm moves laterally across your body.
- Swing back down past your opposing knee, then thrust forward again. Be careful without full control you will wack your opposing knee and that will hurt. So again be sure to have the right weight and master the technique
Yes you’ve guessed it three sets of 10!
On the face of it the renegade row looks relatively simple but beware. The renegade row will work the entire core. It will also work your arms and lower back.Tip: Try to avoid swaying side-to-side as you row.
Let’s get rowing
- Get yourself in the plank position With one hand grab the kettlebell. Move you feet so about shoulder width apart
- Concentrate! Above all avoid a sideways rock as you lift the kettlebell
- With elbow tucked in row your kettlebell up toward your chest
- Gently lower the kettle bell to the floor.
Aim for three sets of 10 on each arm alternating after each 10. I’d also drop a weight on the kettlebell front as above.
Kettlebell Pull Over
This is a great exercise and works the entire core.
As always technique is key. Make sure that you pull your abs in. Don’t arch your back.
Let’s do it!
- Lye on your back with your knees bent. You want your feet flat on the ground.
- Push the kettlebell above your chest. Keeping your arms straight and do not allow your wrists to bend.
- Breathe in push your shoulders down and back into the exercise mat/floor. Now slowly lower the weight behind you. Bear two things in mind a) you might not be able to lower all the way down to the floor and b) pick the right weight!
- Breathe out and pull the kettlebell back to the start position.
Aim for three sets of 10
Follow these exercises at your pace and with the right weights and feel the benefits on your abs. I trust that you’ve found the content useful and it would be awesome if you can leave a comment down below.