Wouldn't it be great to get stronger abs in 30 days? The LIVESTRONG.com team created a challenge to help you do just that. You'll not only feel amazing and stand with better posture, but you'll strengthen your midsection, which lessens your chance of back pain (among many other impressive benefits of strong abs).
Best of all, you can do it in a few minutes each day, with no equipment. All it takes is a handful of exercises and workout videos you can follow pretty much anywhere.
How the 30-Day Abs Challenge Works
Once a year, we host the LIVESTRONG.com 30-Day Abs Challenge in our Challenge Facebook Group — but you can start on your own at any time! (We started complete most recent session in June.)
Most days, you'll do four different ab exercises — plank, boat pose, scissor twist and single-leg lift — as detailed in the challenge calendar below. You can see the individual exercise demos below from CJ Koegel, CPT, a NASM-certified personal trainer.
As the month progresses, you'll add more reps or hold the poses for longer. And a few days during the month, you'll incorporate one of three ab workout videos, led by yoga instructor Elise Joan.
The Challenge Calendar
To stay on track, print out or save the 30-day calendar below.
For the scissor twists and single-leg lifts, each time you lift one leg, that's 1 rep. But if you'd like, you can up the challenge by counting lifting right then left as 1 rep, effectively doubling the amount of reps you're doing.
Get a printer-friendly version of the challenge calendar here!
How to Join the 30-Day Abs Challenge
1. Print and/or Save Your Calendar
Keep your calendar somewhere you can see it so you never forget what day you're on. Cross off the days as you complete them so you always know what to do the next day.
2. Join Our Challenge Facebook Group
Our community of more than 53,000 members is here to support and motivate you through this challenge. Tell the group how the day's exercises went, post photos or videos of your ab workouts or share your favorite meme or motivational quote.
3. Learn the Moves
Your four main ab exercises for the challenge are:
Each day these moves are on the calendar, you'll hold for the listed amount of time or do the designated number of reps. For example, on Day 1, you'll do:
- Plank: 15 seconds
- Boat pose: 15 seconds
- Scissor twist: 12 reps (6 each leg)
- Single-leg lift: 10 reps (5 each leg)
Follow along with Koegel below to perfect your form for each of the four exercises or check out Joan's video at the end.
- Start on all fours with your hands under your shoulders.
- Straighten your legs so you're supporting your weight on your hands and feet. Your body should be in one straight line from head to hips to heels.
- Engage your abs, quads and glutes to help you maintain proper form as you hold for the amount of time listed on the calendar.
If you need to adjust, drop down to your knees, still making sure your body is in alignment from your head to hips to knees.
2. Boat Pose
- Begin sitting with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- With your spine long and chest open, lift your feet off the floor and extend your legs toward the ceiling. The goal is to get your legs to a 45-degree angle from the floor.
- Raise your arms straight out so they're parallel to the floor.
- Draw your bellybutton to your spine and keep your neck relaxed as you hold this position for the amount of time listed on the calendar.
If you're struggling with boat pose, bend your knees so your shins are parallel to the floor, or keep your toes on the ground.
3. Scissor Twist
- Lie on your back with your legs extended, then raise your head, neck and shoulders off the ground to engage your abs.
- Lift your legs so they're perpendicular to the ground.
- With your arms together and extending toward your feet, twist to the right side as you lower your left leg toward the ground. Your leg should hover above the ground, but only go as far as you can while keeping your lower back on the floor.
- That's 1 rep.
- Switch your arms and legs so you're twisting to the left side and lowering your right leg toward the ground. That's the second rep.
- Continue to twist back and forth without straining your neck.
Make the move a bit easier by bending your knees as you draw your leg in toward your chest. Catch the outside of your thigh for even more support.
4. Single-Leg Lift
- Lie on your back with your legs extended and your hands underneath your tailbone for support.
- Lift both legs a few inches off the floor.
- Keeping your lower back on the floor, raise your right leg and point your right toes straight up to the ceiling.
- That's 1 rep.
- Lower your right leg as you lift your left leg. That's your second rep.
- Continue alternating legs.
You can also start with both legs pointing up, then lower one at a time toward the ground.
4. Add in These Workout Videos
1. The 10 Best Ab Exercises: Days 3, 10, 17 and 24
You'll perform each of the 10 Pilates-inspired exercises for 1 minute to build your core endurance and work your abs from every angle.
2. Quick HIIT Workout for Flat Abs: Days 6 and 13
Start by doing each of the 10 moves for 30 seconds and resting 30 seconds between exercises. Repeat the circuit 2 to 3 times, depending on how you feel.
3. 10-Minute Plyo HIIT Workout: Days 20 and 27
Sweat it out for 30 to 45 seconds and rest for 15 to 30 between moves. Beginners can try plenty of modifications for a lower-impact routine.
5. Enjoy Your Rest Days
Every seventh day (Days 7, 14, 21 and 28), you'll have a rest day! Make sure to take advantage of the days off by doing something active but low-intensity like walking, hiking, yoga or swimming.
Check out these ideas for how to spend your rest days:
6. Celebrate Your Success
Making it to the end of the 30-Day Abs Challenge is an accomplishment worth celebrating! We think it deserves some not-so-humble bragging in our Challenge Facebook Group.
Then, keep your momentum going with a new challenge next month, like:
You can do any of our challenges on your own whenever you want, or you can visit our Challenges page to see what we have planned for the full year.