Workouts targeting your abs can be daunting.
There are so many choices in ab exercises all over the internet, how do you know which ones are the best ab exercises for you personally?
Or even further, which ab exercises do you actually like?
You’re more likely to stick to a program you enjoy and one that provides variety in your daily tasks to keep things fresh.
In this 30 day ab challenge, not only will you flatten and sculpt your stomach, you will explore many of the exercises targeting your core.
But before we get into the actual ab challenge, let’s explore what belly fat is, how to lose it, and understanding your abs.
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Belly Fat Basics
There are 2 types of belly fat, subcutaneous and visceral. So what’s the difference?
If you poke your belly, the soft layer of fat is subcutaneous belly fat, it’s just below the layer of your skin.
According to Harvard Health, this makes up 90% (1).
The remaining 10% is called visceral belly fat and is located beneath the rectus abdominis.
It’s the fat that surrounds your liver, intestines, and other organs. But is also more dangerous.
It’s this kind of fat that we need to focus on.
Visceral fat secretes hormones that trigger inflammation, a risk factor for heart disease and other chronic problems.
It also produces a protein that causes blood pressure to rise.
Visceral fat can also have an effect on many chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, asthma and some forms of cancer.
As we age, deposits of both kinds of fats increase and this is something we need to keep an eye on. But how?
How to Lose Belly Fat
There are many ways to cut down on your visceral fat.
You’ve probably heard the adage that 6 pack abs are made in the kitchen. So what changes can you make?
Start simple. Eat more soluble fiber and high protein foods while avoiding trans fats, foods with sugar and alcohol.
Drink more water! Figure out how much water your body needs and make it a goal to drink that much each day.
A simple system is to drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day. But how can you be sure that that’s enough?
There are many third party water intake calculators if you’re looking for similar content but let’s cover a popular formula based on body weight (2).
- Take your body weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2.
- Multiply that number by your age. If you’re under 30, multiply by 40.
- Divide that sum by 28.3.
- Your total is how many ounces of water you should drink per day.
If you’re a 150 lbs. 40 year old, you should be drinking 96 ounces of water.
The math: 150/2.2 = 68.18 x 40 = 2,727.27/28.3 = 96.37.
That’s roughly twelve 8 ounce glasses of water.
You’ll need even more if you’re working out.
Secondly, add cardio and resistance training to your routine. Try to reduce your stress (tough I know!) and get plenty of sleep, 8 hours a night.
Lastly, track your daily life! Focus on tracking your sleep, food, water intake and exercise.
The easiest way to find out where you need to make improvements is to know what you’re doing in the first place!
Understanding Your Abs
When many people think of abs, they picture 6 pack abs which are just your rectus abdominis muscles.
It is imperative to work the entire core especially in any numbered day ab challenge.
Your abdomen can be broken into 5 muscle groups.
They are your lower abs, obliques, upper abs, serratus and transverse abdominis. The goal is to work all 5 parts.
A strong core workout can also improve your posture, aid in fat loss and can alleviate lower back pain.
How to Do This 30-Day Ab Workout Challenge
Each day, you’ll add 2 to 3 of the identified abdominal exercises explained below to your workout routine. Take note of your favorites to continue after this challenge!
Each week hold a standard high plank for the time listed below.
Start in a tabletop position with your hands directly under your shoulders or forearms parallel to the sides of the mat.
Engage your core for stability as you step out one foot and then the other.
This is a full body exercise. Press through your hands. There should be a straight line from the tip of your head to your heels.
Pay close attention to your hips. Keep them in line. You should not have a dip in your back nor a rounding of the spine.
- For the first week (Days 1 – 7), set a timer and hold for 30 seconds.
- For week 2 (Days 8 – 14): hold for 45 seconds,
- Week 3 (Days 15 – 21): hold for 60 seconds
- Week 4 (Days 22 – 30): hold for 75 seconds.
In addition, complete the complimentary core exercise(s) noted by day below
If you’re a beginner or this is your first time with core exercises, modify the ab exercises to fit your level of fitness.
If the next day, you’re sore, adjust the rest days appropriately.
Want to kick it up a notch? Add 50 squats to your rest days!
Read through the instructions and watch the videos of each exercise.
- Start by lying on your right side, elbow directly underneath your shoulder. Your right forearm is parallel to the front of your yoga mat.
- With your feet stacked on top of each other, engage through your midsection, lift your hips and thighs on an exhale. There should be a straight line from the top of your head to your toes. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the left side.
- Start in the plank position on your forearms. On an exhale, lift your right foot off of the ground.
- Return back to the starting position and switch by lifting the left foot. Repeat for 1 minute. Complete 3 reps.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-width distance apart. Keep your hands behind your head.
- As you exhale, lift, keeping your head and neck relaxed. Inhale to the starting position. Repeat 30 times.
Day 4: Rest Day! Recover!
- Start in the high plank position with your wrists directly under your shoulders. Engage your abdominal muscles for stability.
- Touch your right shoulder with your left hand. Reset and repeat by touching your left shoulder with your right hand. Continue for 1 minute. Repeat for 3 reps.
- Start on your back in the crunch starting position. Extend your right leg and bend your left knee into your chest. On an exhale, lift your upper body and twist.
- This is targeting your obliques in your midsection while bringing your right elbow toward your left knee.
- Repeat using your left elbow to your right knee, alternating sides for 30 reps.
- Start in the high plank position. Hop your feet to the right by your elbow, hop back to the starting position.
- Repeat on the left side. Hop on each side 30 times.
Day 8: Rest and Recover!
- Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90-degree angles, arms by your side. On an exhale, contract your abs and lift your hips and lower back off the floor.
- Option to cross at the ankles. Hold and release back to the starting position. Repeat 30 times.
Plank Lateral Walk
- Start in a high plank. Cross your right hand over your left as you step your left foot to the left. Then step your left hand and right foot to the left, returning to plank. Your hands will come together as your feet move apart.
- Keep your abdominals engaged for stability. Take 2 more steps on this side. Repeat in the opposite direction. Complete 30 rounds.
- Sit with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Lean back 45 degrees. Clasp your hands in front of your chest with straight arms.
- Keep your back straight as you rotate your torso to the right, working your obliques, hands follow pointing towards the ground. Reset and twist to the left. Complete 40 rounds.
Day 12: Rest and Recover!
- Start in the high plank position. Pull your right knee into your chest. Switch legs by straightening your right leg as you pull your left leg into your chest.
- Keep your hips down as you quickly alternate legs while getting your heart rate up. Complete 5 rounds of 1 minute each.
- Start on your back in a reverse tabletop. Your arms are straight, palms facing each other. Knees are bent at 90-degree angles directly above your hips.
- On an exhale, activate your abdominals, lower your right arm and left leg until they are parallel with the ground. Inhale bring them back into the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side. Complete 40 reps.
Pike Toe Taps
- Start in a high plank position, hands underneath your shoulders, shoulder blades separated, feet hips-width distance apart. Engage your core as you shift into a downward facing dog.
- Reach your right hand to your left ankle. Release and return to your high plank. Repeat on the left side, reaching your left hand to your right ankle. This is 1 rep.
- Repeat 40 times on each side.
Day 16: Rest and Recover!
- Start by lying on your back with your elbows bent at 90-degree angles.
- Engage your core as you sit-up bringing your left elbow to your right knee as if you are running. Slowly lower back down to the yoga mat. Alternate legs. Repeat for 40 reps.
- Lie on your back with your arms extended over your head, legs straight. Lift your arms and legs into a ”V” shape balancing on your glutes.
- Pause and lower back to the mat in the starting position.
- If this is too intense, practice the leg raises instead. Repeat for 40 reps.
- Start in a tabletop position. Engage your core. As you exhale lift your right arm and left leg simultaneously creating a straight line.
- Hold. Release and repeat with your left arm and right leg. Repeat for 40 reps.
Day 20: Rest and Recover!
- Lie face down on the mat, legs and arms are outstretched. On an exhale, lift arms and legs off the mat about 6 to 8 inches.
- Hold. Release and repeat for 50 reps.
- Lie on your back with your legs together, feet flexed. Option to slide your hands under your sacrum for stability.
- On an inhale, lift your feet 6 to 8 inches off the ground. Slowly lower, until your heels are hovering just above the ground. Repeat for 50 reps.
Side Plank With Reach Through
- Start in a forearm side plank on your right side. Stack or stagger your feet.
- Reach your left arm to the sky. Thread your left arm under your waist, rotating your torso.
- Bring your left arm back to the starting position. Repeat 50 times on the left side. Switch to the right for another 50.
Day 24: Rest and Recover!
- Start in a forearm plank. Engage your core and you drop your hips to the right on an exhale rotating through the spine.
- Inhale bringing your hips back to the center. Exhale to the left. That’s 1 round. Do 50 reps in total.
Modified Side Plank With Leg Lift
- Start in a forearm side plank on your right side. Drop your right knee to the ground for stability, keeping your knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your left hand on your waist.
- Lift your left leg on an exhale. Hold. With control, slowly lower. Repeat for 50 lifts. Switch to a side plank on your left forearm. Repeat the lifts.
- Start in the high plank position. Engage your core as you bring your right knee to the back of your right arm.
- Inhale back to the starting position. Repeat on the left side. Repeat 50 times on each side.
- Lie on your stomach with your toes untucked. Interlace your fingers behind your head.
- On an exhale lift your head and shoulders off the mat, engage your glutes. Inhale back down. Repeat 50 times.
Day 28: Rest and Recover!
- Lie on your back, spine straight with the soles of your feet facing the ceiling. Your body will be at a 90-degree angle.
- Reach your arms up, toward your toes. Option to cross at the ankles. On an exhale, crunch, touching your toes. Inhale down. Repeat 50 times.
- Lie on your back to start. Slide your hands under your sacrum for stability.
- On an exhale using your core strength, lift your feet 6 to 8 inches from the ground and alternate lifting one leg and then the other without your heels touching the floor.
- Continue for 1 minute. Repeat 5 times.
- Lie on your back with your arms out in a letter “T”, soles of your feet facing the ceiling, stretching through your hamstrings.
- Keep your legs glued together as you drop your feet towards your right fingertips.
- Exhale as you lift your feet back to the center. Inhale as you drop to the left. Repeat 50 times on each side.
- Start in the crunch position. Reach your fingertips towards your heels.
- Hold the crunch and alternate reaching your right fingertips to your right heel and your left fingertips to your left heel. Continue for 1 minute. Repeat 5 times.
Yes! You will strengthen your core in this 30-day challenge core workout. The best way to get 6 pack abs is to put in the hard work. For better results, practice ab training every single day. No excuses!
Everyone’s body is different.
Depending on your current level of fitness and body type, sure, achieving a flat tummy could be doable. But visible 6 pack abs, aka your rectus abdominis muscles, cannot be achieved with a workout program alone.
Instead, focus on the health of your entire body. Track your exercise and food intake. Drink enough water, get 8 hours of sleep each night.
If you enjoyed this 30-day ab challenge, try adding a pushup or squat challenge to your daily routine next.
As with any fitness goal, consistency is key! Put in the hard work and you’ll see results in no time!
You’ve made it to the end of the challenge!
How do you feel?
Which of the exercises did you enjoy the most? Consider adding your favorites to your usual routine!
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- Water Calculator: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a46956/how-much-water-should-i-drink/