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How to Get Abs: Six-Pack Abs Guide for Women

7 mins read
Taisiia Dobrozorova
Written by Taisiia Dobrozorova on March 31, 2022
Davi Santana, M.Sc.
Fact checked by Davi Santana, M.Sc.
The Unimeal team works to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information. All texts are reviewed by a panel of experts and editors and updated according to the latest research. Only evidenced-based and verified sources of leading medical publications and universities get into the article materials.

In this article, you will find all the info to get those abs of steel, from healthy nutrition and general recommendations to the best ab workouts. Despite these recommendations being for women, it is also suitable for men if you consider a high training intensity.

Table of content

What is an indicator of good physical shape? The first sign for everyone is our perfect abs. The notorious "six-pack" is firmly on the list of the most desirable things. But what is a six-pack ab set? And what is special about it?

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What are six-pack abs?

There are no upper and lower abs. They are a set of muscles composing a muscular corset that supports the body. The rectus abdominis is the main muscle of the abs. This muscle is divided into six parts (six packs), separated by tendons. Each such part is one cube.

Sometimes the cubes are far from each other (due to the different thickness of the tendons), and in rare cases, there may not even be 6 but 8. But you can only find out about this after training.

How to get abs: workouts for women

Scientific rankings of the American Council on Exercise show that captain's chair and bicycle crunches are the most effective ab workouts. While performing correctly, you use twice as many muscle fibers of the press.

However, the correct technique is much more important than the right choice of workouts and the equipment you have. Technically correct crunches will be more effective than leg raises performed by engaging the lower back.

Leg raises

  • Lie on your back, legs extended, do not touch the floor. Stretch your arms along the body. You can hold on to the edges of the rug.
  • Keeping your legs straight, knees slightly bent, lift your legs to a 90-degree angle.
  • As you breathe slowly lower your legs down to the starting position.

Leg raises can be a great alternative to captain’s chair leg raise exercise.

Leg raises
Leg raises

Reverse crunches

  • Lie on the floor, legs straight, arms along the body, palms down. During the exercise, the arms remain motionless.
  • Raise your legs so that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and your feet together and parallel to the floor. This is your starting position.
  • As you breathe out, lift your hips off the floor and roll on your buttocks towards your torso, touching your knees to your chest.
  • Hold it for a few seconds and breathe in as you return your legs to the starting position. Repeat.
Reverse crunches
Reverse crunches

Sit-up benches

  • Fix the legs with a roller on the bench.
  • Place your hands behind your head, elbows pointing forward.
  • As you breathe out, lift your shoulders off the bench, tensing your abdominal muscles as much as possible. In this case, you should press the lower back to the bench. 
  • At the peak of the exercise, strongly tighten the abdominal muscles and linger for a second in this position.
  • After a pause, while breathing in, slowly return to the starting position.

Note: Concentrate on slow, controlled movement - don't jerk.

Sit-up benches
Sit-up benches

Bicycle crunches

  • Lying on your back, hands behind your head.
  • Raise your legs to a slight height. Legs should be straight, slightly bent at the knees.
  • Breathe out while pulling one leg toward your body and lifting your head and shoulder blades off the floor. Perform a twist, touching the elbow of the opposite arm to the knee of the leg. That is, if you pull up your right leg, touch your knee with the elbow of your left hand.
  • Return to the starting position while breathing in. Continue pulling your legs alternately, touching your knees with your elbows as you twist.

Note: If it's challenging to keep both legs elevated, place the non-moving leg on the floor.

Bicycle crunches
Bicycle crunches

Elbow plank

  • Get into a supine position and stand on your elbows parallel to the floor. Your body should conditionally run in a straight line. 
  • Keep your elbows at shoulder level, don't round your back up, and don't arch your back towards the floor.
  • Put your feet together and pull in your stomach. To engage all the core muscles, tighten the abs muscles, buttocks, and legs as much as possible throughout the exercise.
  • Perform the ab workout in several sets. Increase its duration according to the classical plank pattern on straight arms.
Elbow plank
Elbow plank

Ab wheel rollouts

  • Get on your knees and grab the handles of the wheel. Gently stretch your arms forward, rolling the wheel on the floor.
  • To avoid arching your lower back, tighten your abdominal muscles.
  • Roll the wheel forward as slowly as possible.
  • Return to the starting position. Repeat.
Ab wheel rollouts
Ab wheel rollouts

V-sits

  • Sit on the mat and stretch your legs in front of you. Lower your hands to the floor.
  • Raise the body and hips to perpendicular to each other. Just straighten the legs at the knees. Don't twist your spine.
  • Stretch your feet, and put your hands forward. Palms are approximately at the level of the knees.
  • Look straight ahead, and tense your abdominal muscles.
  • Return to the starting position.
V-sits
V-sits

How long does it take to get abs?

There is a way to estimate how long it takes to pump up the press. First, you need to know your body fat percentage through any online calculator.

For cubes to appear on the stomach, the fat percentage should be 7-8% for men and 16-18% for women. If your current body fat level is, for example, 22%, you will need to drop 4-6% if you are a woman. 

Let's say you burn 0.5% fat per week with cardio training, basic abdominal exercises, and proper nutrition. In this case, it will take you approximately 20 weeks to see the whole set of cubes.

But with complex training several times a week, you will notice a visible result in 8-10 weeks.

Note: Daily workouts can be hard on the muscles, so take intervals.

How do you get abs fast?

If you want to blitz your core quickly, use the instructions below - however, we remind you once again that to achieve cubes, you must genuinely love doing abdominal exercises and train the press at least 3-4 times a week:

1. Reduce belly fat

The body's fat level for drawing the press is individual - for someone, it's 7%, and for other, the press is noticeable even at 15% fat. Depending on this, strategies for losing weight also differ.

2. Correct your posture

A sedentary lifestyle provokes changes in posture. As a result - abdominal muscles relax.

3. Strengthen all core muscles

It is a mistake to perceive the press exclusively in the form of a rectus muscle located on the front surface of the abdomen. In addition to it, there are oblique abdominal muscles. For women, side turns are suitable for pumping them.

4. Build your inner abs

Most ab workouts develop the outer layer of abs with little or no involvement of the inner abs. However, these muscles form a toned stomach.

The best exercises for pumping deep muscles are the plank and the abdominal vacuum breathing exercise.

5. Get your abs right

Pumping cubes requires training for hypertrophy - exercises in a multi-repetition mode (for example, one hundred twists) may unnecessary to bring this result. Do fewer reps with higher loads. with the correct technique.

6. Develop the connection between muscles and the brain

To get rock-hard abs, you must learn to control your abdominal muscles and use them while working out. If you can keep your abs consciously tense during crunches, this will greatly increase the effectiveness of this exercise.

What to eat to get abs?

But just working out is not enough. Over 50% of success in bodybuilding regards a healthy diet. To get steel abs, follow the nutritional tips collected by our specialists:

Eat plenty of protein. Eating enough protein promotes fat loss and muscle growth3, two essential outcomes for developing good abs.

Eat fiber. High-fiber foods are filling and low in calories, keep your digestive system running smoothly, and help maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Foods with fiber
Foods with fiber

Cut down on alcohol. The best way to achieve a flat stomach is to avoid alcohol, but you can still enjoy a drink or two during the program.

Drink more water. Hydration is vital to your workout plan, but drinking enough water is especially good for your midsection. This helps fill your stomach and flush out excess sodium, preventing bloating.

Eat regularly. If you eat the right foods, regular meals and snacks will keep your body energized while you work on strengthening your abs.

To make sure you're eating enough to achieve your weight loss goal, calculate how many calories you need to maintain your current weight and then subtract 500 calories from that number.

Note: Even if you're very lean and muscular, you won't see 6-pack abs until achieving a very low body fat percentage (BMI4 of 20 or below). And don't worry, can't see the cubes doesn't mean you're in bad shape.

The bottom line

The effectiveness of abs workouts depends entirely on your dedication.

Set yourself up for success by doing abdominal workouts 3-4 times a week and eating a balanced diet. Leg raises, bicycle crunches, and planks are great exercises to help you reach your six-pack abs goal!

How do you feel about my article?

Unimeal does not diagnose or suggest treatments. Any description of the diet, training plan or supplement should be discussed with your current physician or nutritionist. This article does not address specific conditions and is simply meant to provide general information on healthcare topics. Following any advice is at your own initiative and does not impose any responsibility on the blog authors for your health and safety.

Sources:

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1.
F. Fredon, J. Hardy, M. Germain, et al. (2021, April). Correlations of the Rectus Abdominis Muscle Anatomy with Anthropometric Measurements. Surgical and Radiological Anatomy: SPA. DOI:10.1007/s00276-020-02655-9
2.
S. S. Vispute, J. D. Smith, J. D. LeCheminant, et al. (2011, September). The Effect of Abdominal Exercise on Abdominal Fat. Journal of Strenghth and Conditioning Research. DOI:10.1519/jsc.0b013e3181fb4a46
3.
C. F. Bentzinger, Y. X. Wang, M.A. Rudnicki (2012, February). Building Muscle: Molecular Regulation of Myogenesis. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology. DOI:10.1101/cshperspect.a008342
4.
C. B. Weir, A. Jan (2021, June 29). BMI Classification Percentile And Cut Off Points. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/nbk541070/