Feel the Burn With These 9 Best Core Exercises for Women


Are you ready to feel the burn? As a woman, building your core strength should be one of your top fitness goals. Not only will this help you gain strength, but it will also improve your overall health levels. If you want to get started, you may be wondering what are the best core exercises for women. In this step-by-step guide, we will explore some great core strengthening exercises and why you should add them to your current fitness regime.

What are Core Exercises?

Woman doing plank core exercises at the gym on a blue yoga mat
Core exercises target your abs, pelvic muscles, obliques, and back muscles.

Essentially, core exercises are any moves that target your core muscle group. That includes your abs, pelvic muscles, obliques, and back muscles. Many of the major strength-building moves you do also happen to engage these muscles. With that in mind, adding them to your workout could help you to gain strength and fitness.

Why Do Core Strengthening Exercises?

Since core strengthening exercises are a part of strength training, they could be vital. If you’re considering adding these to your workout, there are many reasons to do so. Here are a couple of the major advantages of core exercises for women.

Wards off signs of aging

Top down view of woman doing side plank core exercise

Working out as you age is absolutely vital! In fact, research suggests that these exercises could boost the bone strength of post-menopausal women.[1]

Similarly, a study from the University of Buffalo suggests that strength training may ward off some of the main effects of aging in women.[2]

Improves heart health

Woman doing side plank core exercise on a kettlebell at the beach

You should never underestimate the power of strength training when it comes to fitness.

For instance, a study from Iowa State University found that strength training could improve heart health.[3] That means adding it to your workout is a great way to protect your wellness.

Boosts fitness levels

Woman doing bicycle crunch core exercises outdoors

The stronger you are, the better your fitness ability will be. When you start to engage in some of the best core exercises for women, you will notice a real difference.

Training your muscles means that you will also find aerobic workouts easier to combat. What’s there not to love?

Core Exercise Workouts For All Levels

Core Exercises For Beginners

Are you new to core workouts? When you first start out, it can be difficult to know what to do. Luckily, there are loads of core strengthening exercises for beginners that you can try for yourself.

Plank | 60 seconds

Woman doing plank core exercises for beginners

The plank is one of the classic core exercises that everyone should know. When you’ve mastered this particular move, you can use it as a starting point when creating any routine.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Yoga mat

How to do it

  1. Place the yoga mat on the floor. Get down onto your hands and knees.
  2. Get into plank position. Rest your weight on your forearms and toes.
  3. Hold the position for 60 seconds and then release.

Pro Tip: Keep your back as straight as possible! Avoid arching your back at all times and try to keep your abs firm.

Jackknife | 15 reps

Woman demonstrating jackknife core exercise for beginners

Sit-ups are some of the best core exercises you can do when you’re looking for a way to strengthen your abs. So, how can you improve them? The simple, yet effective jackknife exercise could be the answer.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Yoga mat

How to do it

  1. Lie on your back on the yoga mat. Extend your arms above your head and stretch your legs outward.
  2. Keeping your abs tight, simultaneously move your arms upward and your legs upward. They should meet in the middle.
  3. Release and gently move your arms and legs back to starting position.
  4. Repeat 15 times per set.

Pro Tip: When you’re moving upward, your arms and legs should make a v-shape in the air. Keep your core strong!

The Boat | 50 seconds

Fit young woman doing the boat core exercise for beginners

Here’s another stationary move that will give your abs a serious workout in less than a minute. If you add the boat to your workout, you can supercharge your fitness.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Yoga mat

How to do it

  1. Start by sitting on the mat with your knees arched. Lean back as far as you can, while keeping your abs as firm as possible.
  2. Next, lift your feet off the ground. Try to maintain balance throughout this process. Your core should be doing all the work.
  3. Hold this position for 50 seconds (or more!) and then release.

Intermediate Level Exercises

When you’ve got to grips with the core exercises for beginners, it’s time to take things up a notch. The intermediate level exercises are a little harder but will give your core a seriously good workout. Here are a few that you should try.

Wall Sit | 60 seconds

Woman performing wall sit core exercise

If you’re looking for one of the best core exercises you can do without any equipment, you might just have found it. The wall sit is one of the greatest core stability exercises and doesn’t take too long to get right.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Wall

How to do it

  1. You will need a sturdy wall before you get started. Start by standing flat against the wall and then slowly moving down and bending your knees.
  2. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle. Keep your core tight.
  3. Hold this position for around 60 seconds and then release.

Pro Tip: How low can you go? The lower down you get, the deeper the burn will be. As you advance, try to take this stance further down.

Plank Tap | 30 reps

Of course, the standard plank move is one of the best core exercises for women. However, when you’ve got it down, it could be time to challenge yourself more. The plank tap move is the next step. Here’s what you should know.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Yoga mat

How to do it

  1. Start in plank position on your hands and toes. Make sure that your back is straight.
  2. Reach up with one hand and touch your alternate shoulder. Return to start position.
  3. Alternate sides while doing this exercise. Repeat 30 times, i.e. 15 times on each side of your body.

Leg Raise | 30 reps

Next up, we’ve got one of the most effective core strengthening exercises. The leg raise takes a whole load of precision and control to get right. Here’s what you need to do.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Yoga mat

How to do it

  1. Start by lying flat on your back on the yoga mat. Lay both of your arms down by your sides.
  2. Engage your core muscles. While keeping your back on the mat and your legs straight, raise your legs slowly.
  3. Go as high as you can manage and then release. Repeat 30 times.

Pro Tip: Only take your legs as high as feels comfortable! As you progress and build more core strength, you will be able to go higher.

Advanced Level Exercises

If you’re already something of a pro when it comes to core exercises, you may simply be looking for a way in which to improve your workout. Including some more advanced level exercises to your routine could be it. Here’s how to do just that.

Ball Push-Away | 20 reps

Woman doing plank core exercise on exercise ball

Introducing some ball exercises for core strength is a smart way to make more of your workout. The addition of this equipment means that you can start to experiment with interesting new moves too.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Exercise ball

How to do it

  1. Start by planking onto the ball. Your forearms should be rested on the top of the ball, while the rest of your weight relies on your toes. Keep your back straight.
  2. Engaging your core muscles, push the ball forward with your forearms.
  3. Next, pull the ball back toward you and return to start position.
  4. Repeat this exercise 20 times per set.

Pro Tip: These core strengthening exercises are all about balance and control! It’s not a race to finish the set. Take things slow and be as precise as you can.

Wall Plank | 60 seconds

Woman in plank position on a yoga mat

As far as core stability exercises go, you can’t get much better than the wall plank. This move builds on the standard plank move to create a workout that is super intense.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Wall

How to do it

  1. Start in plank position with your feet next to a wall. Shuffle backward and prop your feet up on the wall itself. Your soles should be flat against it.
  2. Remain on your forearms and keep your core engaged.
  3. Hold this position for 60 seconds and then release.

Pro Tip: Don’t worry if you don’t get this right the first time around! Holding this tricky position for 10 seconds is better than nothing.

Hip Dip | 40 reps

Finally here’s another plank variation that will upgrade your workout. When it comes to core exercises for women, you’re going to want to know about this one. It helps to tone your sides and strengthen your core.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Yoga mat

How to do it

  1. Start in the standard plank position on the mat with your forearms carrying much of your weight.
  2. Keep your core strong and move the lower part of your body to the left. Dip your hips down low so that they touch the mat. Return to start position.
  3. Repeat this move, alternating sides as you do. Make sure that you keep your position strong while you move.

Pro Tip: Don’t move your upper body! You need to isolate your lower body as you move and focus your attention there.  

Feel the Burn With These 9 Best Core Exercises


Now that you’ve got to grips with the best core exercises for women, it’s time to put them to the test. Start working your core when you hit the gym and see what a difference it makes to your stability and strength. The harder you work, the better the results!

9 Best Core Exercises For Women Infographic

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  • [1] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi?DOI=10.1002/jbmr.3284
  • [2] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02703181.2018.1443194
  • [3] https://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2018/11/13/resistancecvd

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