Effective Abdominal Toning Exercises For Women

Learning how to effectively get lean and toned abs requires a firm understanding of what exercises work and which exercises tone certain portions of the abs. There is often the misconception that by doing enough crunches or sit-ups, shapely abs can be achieved. Crunches and sit-ups mostly tone the upper abs, but there are a range of additional exercises that work the lower abs and oblique's, which are most often the problem areas for women.
Toning Lower Abdominals
There are some great leg lift variations that can provide excellent results for toning the lower abs. These are done in an opposite manner from a sit-up or crunch. Adding leg weights can enhance results for these types of exercises.
Double Leg Lifts
Double leg lifts are done by lying flat on the floor, using a mat or carpeted surface. You will need to have a piece of furniture or a minimum of 10 pound weights to hold on to with your hands while doing these to provide stability. While lying on the floor, reach your arms above your head and hold on to something to keep your upper body braced.
The first variation of double leg lifts is done by slowly lifting both legs, much like you would lift your torso during a sit up or crunch, except you are using your legs. Lift both feet about eight inches off the ground. Hold for 10 seconds. Lower both feet back down slowly. Repeat this exercise 10 times. As endurance increases, holds can last for up to 20 seconds, with added repetitions.
The second variation includes more rapid double leg lifts. Instead of slowly doing this same exercise, do not hold the movement and add more repetitions.
A third way for this exercise, consists of crossing the legs. This exercise will work the lower abs and the oblique's. You can do this exercise much like the first two double leg lifts.
Bicycle Leg Lifts
For this type of leg lift, hold the hands behind the head as done in the sit-up position. Pull the left knee up while twisting the elbow towards the left knee. Next, alternate with the right knee moving towards the left elbow. Alternate 10 to 20 times. This exercise works the upper abs, lower abs and the oblique's.
Vertical Leg Crunch
With the Vertical Leg Crunch, rather than lifting the legs, cross the legs and lift them up in a 90 degree angle. With hands placed behind the head, lift the torso just like a crunch. Start with one to three sets of 10 to 20 repetitions. This works the oblique's and upper abs very effectively.
These effective abdominal exercises can be done at home and require no special fitness equipment. By doing the exercises described, you will develop lean, sexy abs much faster than by doing simple sit-ups or crunches because you are targeting all muscle groups.

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