Ab exercises for women over 50 – 6 best exercises

Gaining extra body fat around the waist is a common problem for women during menopause and beyond.  There are various reasons for this, associated with changing hormones and their effect on the body. It’s not something you have to just accept though. With sensible eating and regular ab exercise, you can have a slim, toned waist – or even a 6 pack if you work hard enough!  Ab exercises for women over 50 should start with a foundation of building core strength to correct pelvic alignment.  This is true for ab programs at any age, but it’s more likely that over 50s – if they haven’t kept up regular exercise all their lives – will have poor pelvic stability.  The exercises in this routine will help you to start re-building your core strength, ready to move on to more challenging ab workouts.

Ab exercises for women over 50 PDF

Info box 15 mins

How to get good ab tone

First, you need to make sure you’re eating a healthy diet.  If you have a bad diet that is causing you to store fat, muscle tone won’t show. Read about a healthy diet here.

There are 4 sets of ab muscles, which all work in different ways.  So for good ab tone, you need exercises that work all of them.  This 6 exercise circuit is split up into 3 types of exercise:

Exercises for the 6 pack

This is the top layer of muscle, the one that shows most.  Exercises that work these muscles are ones that bring the upper body and lower body towards each other.

Exercises for the obliques

There are 2 sets of obliques muscles.  They are less visible, but show when they are very trained.  They also help to pull the abdominal area in flat. Exercises that work them are ones involving rotating the spine and reaching to the side

Exercises for the deep stabiliser

The deepest layer is the one that stabilises the pelvis and has the most effect on having a flat abdominal area.

Ab exercises for women over 50 – about this workout

Please read these general guidelines before you start.

Ideally, use an exercise mat for this workout, or if you don’t have one use a folded blanked or quilt to cushion your spine.

For best results, do this routine 3 times every workout and do 3 workouts a week.

Exercise instructions

#1 Crunch – 10 reps


  1. Lie on the floor, knees bent, feet about hip distance apart.
  2. Put your hands behind your head to support it.  Keep your elbows relaxed out to the side.
  3. Engage your abdominal muscles and curl your spine smoothly away from the floor.  It shouldn’t be a jerky movement.
  4. Stop when your shoulder blades have left the floor and start to reverse the movement.  Again, it should be a smooth, curling movement on the way down.

#2 Reverse crunch – 12 reps

Reverse crunch

  1. Lie on your back and extend your legs so that they are vertical.
  2. Engage your lower abs as you curl your lower spine off the mat.  It should be a smooth curling movement.
  3. When your lower back has left the floor, start to reverse the movement – curl your spine back down under control.

#3 Opposite elbow to knee – 16 alternating side to side

Ab exercises for women over 50 oblique crunch

  1. Lie on the floor and take both legs into the air as shown.
  2. Take your hands behind your head and rotate your left elbow towards your right knee.  It doesn’t matter if you can’t lift your shoulder high enough for your elbow to touch your knee, just get it as close as you can.  Your left shoulder blade should lift up, but the right stays on the floor.
  3. Now lower your left shoulder blade back to the floor and lift your right elbow towards your left knee.

#4 Side reaches – 8 on one side then 8 on the other

Ab exercises for women over 50 side reaches

  1. Lie on the floor with knees bent and feet about hip distance apart.
  2. Lift your head and shoulders slightly off the floor, with your right hand supporting your head.
  3. Reach your left arm towards your left foot.  Complete 8 reps on this side and then lower your head to the floor and repeat to the other side.

#5 Single leg stretch – 16 alternating

Single leg stretch

In this exercise, your core muscles need to work hard to stop your lower back arching as your legs move in an out. This is important – if you allow your back to arch, you won’t be strengthening your core and you’ll be putting a strain on your back muscles.

  1. Lie on the floor with your arms by your side, your legs about hip distance apart.
  2. Bring both knees in towards your chest, then extend one leg as shown. Make sure your back isn’t arching.
  3. Now reverse the movement and repeat on the other leg.

#6 Scissors – 16 alternating


  1. Lie on the floor with your knees bent.
  2. Keeping your knees bent, bring your legs towards your body until your thighs are vertical.
  3. Straighten your legs.
  4. As before, making sure your back doesn’t arch, lower and lift one leg at a time.

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