Abdominal exercises for women

Article Nov 29, 2012

Ready to rock a ripped midriff? Then this is the move for you, says Kristoph Thompson

The bicycle ball crunch
Which muscle groups does it work?
The bicycle ball crunch works the upper and lower parts of the stomach, for a stronger core.
Why is it so effective?
Research has shown that the bicycle crunch, even without a ball, is the most effective stomach-sculpting move. It targets the upper and lower stomach, working both muscle groups intensively, at the same time. Adding the ball increases the difficulty, boosting your results.
How do you do it? 
• Lie on a mat on your back with your knees bent and your lower legs and feet straddling the ball. Gently squeeze your legs against either side of the ball, so you have a good grip on it. Engage your stomach and slowly lift the ball off the ground. Place your hands next to your temples. 

• Keeping the ball between your feet, slowly draw your left knee in toward your chest and extend your right foot away from you, letting the ball roll as you do so. Twist your torso and bring your right elbow to meet your left knee. 

• Then extend your left leg out, bend your right knee toward your chest and touch your left elbow to your right knee. This is one rep.  
How often do you need to do it for best results?
Repeat this exercise just three times a week for a more toned and defined midsection.  
When the exercise becomes easy, how do you make it harder?
Try increasing the number of repetitions in each set, or hold a medicine ball just above your chest, taking your shoulder towards the opposite knee with each rep.
Are there any safety tips?
It’s important to keep your lower back pressed into the floor throughout the exercise.
Kit you'll need:

An exercise mat

A small stability ball

A medicine ball (optional)

Beginner: 2 x 6 reps
Intermediate: 2 x 8-10 reps
Advanced: 2 x 10-12 reps