As you grow into your 50s and beyond, changes naturally occur within your body. Aspects such as functionality, posture, muscular strength, and mobility start to decline. However, you can be proactive and slow the process by incorporating core training into your routine. We’re here to help with some of the best ab workouts for women over 50 that’ll help you easily perform daily tasks.

“The core muscles provide stability for the rest of the body to be able to move safely and effectively in all directions, [such as] in actions that require bending, twisting, forward flexion, extension, and moving in space like walking,” explains CarolAnn NCPT, CPT, CN, from Club Pilates in Athens, Georgia. “It is important to focus on strengthening these muscles to maintain or even improve the quality of these actions.”

Your core muscles are crucial for stability, balance, posture, and mobility.  “Improving balance and stability through core training prevents injuries and reduces the risk for falls, which is the [main cause of ‘fatal and nonfatal injuries’ in the older adult population,]” CarolAnn adds. “Improving posture is important to prevent back pain and downtime due to back pain.”

Training the muscles in your core also helps prevent osteoporosis and arthritis. Plus, boosting your overall functionality and mobility promotes a feeling of confidence and independence in older adults.

Now, let’s dive into CarolAnn’s five best ab workouts for women over 50. She recommends rotating through them during the week and carving out two rest days.

Day One:

1. Wall Pushups (3 sets of 15 reps)

illustration of a wall pushupillustration of a wall pushup
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The wall pushup improves upper-body strength while firing up the core and boosting its stability.

Stand a few feet from a wall with your feet placed shoulder-distance apart. Plant your hands on the wall at chest height. Bend both elbows as you bring your chest toward the wall. Once you’re close, press through your hands to straighten your arms and return to the start position.

2. Dead Bug (1 set of 10 reps)

“[The dead bug strengthens] your entire core, including the oblique muscles that run up and down your side, in addition to improving coordination and brain activity,” CarolAnn tells us.

Lie flat on your back on a workout mat, keeping a neutral pelvis. Lift both legs to form 90-degree angles as you assume a tabletop position with your arm lengthened toward the ceiling. Activate your abs as you extend and lower one leg and the opposite arm toward the floor. Return to the start position, and repeat on the opposite side as you continue to alternate.

3. Bridge (3 sets of 10 reps)

bridge posebridge pose
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“[The bridge] strengthens the glutes, hips, lower back, and abdominal muscles and helps keep the spine in proper alignment,” says CarolAnn.

Lie flat on your back on the ground with your knees bent and feet planted on the floor. Brace your core muscles as you lift your hips toward the sky until your body is straight from your shoulders to your knees. Lower back down.

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Day Two:

1. Forearm Plank (3 sets of 30 seconds to one minute)

planksplanks
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“This exercise targets all the muscles of the core at once, plus the arms, thighs, and upper back muscles,” explains CarolAnn.

Lie flat on your stomach on a workout mat. Place your forearms on the mat so your elbows are under your shoulders. Kick your legs behind you so your body forms a straight line from your head to your feet. Keep your back flat, your hips straight, and your core engaged as you hold this position, working your way up to 60 seconds.

2. Wood Chop (3 sets of 10 reps)

dumbbell wood chopper exercise illustrationdumbbell wood chopper exercise illustration
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“[The wood chop] strengthens the entire core while improving balance,” says CarolAnn.

Begin standing with your feet placed just outside your shoulder span, and clasp your hands in front of you with straight arms. You can also perform this exercise holding a medicine ball or a light weight.

“Pull both arms up and over diagonally to one side of your head,” instructs CarolAnn. “Then, squat as low as you comfortably can, keeping the knees over the ankles, while swinging your arms diagonally down toward the opposite side of your body, as if you were chopping wood. Stand up out of the squat while raising the arms back up diagonally and over to the side of your head.”

3. Swimming/Superman (3 sets of 10 reps)

The swimming/superman exercise engages your upper and lower back muscles and glutes.

Begin by lying face down on the ground with your arms lengthened ahead of you. Lift your chest, head, arm, and opposite leg a couple of inches off the ground. Then, lower your head, arm, and leg and perform the same motion on the other side. Engage your abs and squeeze your glutes as you do this exercise.

“To make this exercise easier, raise only the arms, then only the legs, until you build enough strength to raise both at the same time,” CarolAnn suggests. “To make this exercise more challenging, raise both arms and both legs at the same time.”

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Day Three:

1. Side Plank (3 sets of 30 seconds to one minute)

The side plank helps build strength in your transverse abdominal muscles and obliques.

“Lie on your left side, and then raise your body onto your left forearm, keeping your shoulders, hips, and knees aligned,” instructs CarolAnn. “Rest your right arm on your side. Ensure that you don’t sag into your shoulders. For a more advanced side plank, raise from your left hand with your arm completely extended, lifting your hips off the floor and [extending] your right hand toward the ceiling. Hold the position for as long as you can, up to 60 seconds. Repeat on the right side.

2. 4-Point Balance (1 set of 10 reps)

The 4-point balance exercise boosts your core strength, coordination, and balance.

Start by kneeling on all fours, keeping your spine and head neutral. Lengthen your left leg behind you while reaching your right arm ahead of you. Make sure your shoulders and hips are square. Hold this position before returning to the start position. Complete the same motion on the other side.

3. Bridge (3 sets of 10 reps)

glute bridgeglute bridge
Shutterstock

Lie flat on your back on the ground with your knees bent and feet planted on the floor. Brace your core muscles as you lift your hips toward the sky until your body is straight from your shoulders to your knees. Lower back down.

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Day Four:

1. Wood Chop (3 sets of 10 reps)

Begin standing with your feet placed just outside your shoulder span, and clasp your hands in front of you with straight arms. You can also perform this exercise holding a medicine ball or a light weight.

“Pull both arms up and over diagonally to one side of your head,” instructs CarolAnn. “Then, squat as low as you comfortably can, keeping the knees over the ankles, while swinging your arms diagonally down toward the opposite side of your body, as if you were chopping wood. Stand up out of the squat while raising the arms back up diagonally and over to the side of your head.”

2. Dead Bug (1 set of 10 reps)

illustration of dead bug exerciseillustration of dead bug exercise
Shutterstock

Lie flat on your back on a workout mat, keeping a neutral pelvis. Lift both legs to form 90-degree angles as you assume a tabletop position with your arm lengthened toward the ceiling. Activate your abs as you extend and lower one leg and the opposite arm toward the floor. Return to the start position, and repeat on the opposite side as you continue to alternate.

3. Forearm Plank (3 sets of 30 seconds to one minute)

Lie flat on your stomach on a workout mat. Place your forearms on the mat so your elbows are under your shoulders. Kick your legs behind you so your body forms a straight line from your head to your feet. Keep your back flat, your hips straight, and your core engaged as you hold this position, working your way up to 60 seconds.

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Day Five:

1. Side Plank (3 sets of 30 seconds to one minute)

side plankside plank
Shutterstock

“Lie on your left side, and then raise your body onto your left forearm, keeping your shoulders, hips, and knees aligned,” instructs CarolAnn. “Rest your right arm on your side. Ensure that you don’t sag into your shoulders. For a more advanced side plank, raise from your left hand with your arm completely extended, lifting your hips off the floor and [extending] your right hand toward the ceiling. Hold the position for as long as you can, up to 60 seconds. Repeat on the right side.

2. Swimming/Superman (3 sets of 10 reps)

Begin by lying face down on the ground with your arms lengthened ahead of you. Lift your chest, head, arm, and opposite leg a couple of inches off the ground. Then, lower your head, arm, and leg and perform the same motion on the other side. Engage your abs and squeeze your glutes as you do this exercise.

3. 4-Point Balance (1 set of 10 reps)

illustration of how to do the bird dog exerciseillustration of how to do the bird dog exercise
Shutterstock

Start by kneeling on all fours, keeping your spine and head neutral. Lengthen your left leg behind you while reaching your right arm ahead of you. Make sure your shoulders and hips are square. Hold this position before returning to the start position. Complete the same motion on the other side.

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