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 look and feel amazing, but you'll also strengthen your core, which lessens your chance of back pain (among other impressive benefits).
Best of all, you can do it in just a few minutes each day, with no equipment — just a few simple exercises and some ab workout videos you can follow along with pretty much anywhere.
And since personal trainer PJ Striet set a two-minute plank as the benchmark for core strength for men and women, you can bet there'll be plenty of planking. But don't worry if you can't do a two-minute plank yet (or even a 20-second plank). Give us 30 days, and we'll get you there!
Here's How the Abs Challenge Works
As you'll see below, there's a 30-day calendar that you can follow along with every day of the challenge. We're starting our next session on Monday, June 1, 2020, but you can start it on your own at any time.
Most days, you'll do four different ab exercises — high plank, Boat pose, scissor twists and single-leg lifts — for a given length of time or number of reps. For example, on the first day, you'll do a 15-second plank, 15-second Boat pose, 20 scissor twists and 10 single-leg lifts. Check out the video below for proper form for each of the exercises.
For the scissor twists and single-leg lifts, each side/leg counts as one rep. But you can up the challenge by doing double the reps.
Move 1: Plank
- Start on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders.
- Straighten your legs so that 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 abdominals, quads and glutes to help you maintain proper form as you hold.
If you need to modify, you can drop down to your knees, still making sure that your body is in alignment from your head to hips to knees.
Move 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 that they're parallel to the floor.
- Draw your belly button to your spine and keep your neck relaxed as you hold this pose.
For a modification, bend your knees so that your shins are parallel to the floor. To modify even further, keep your toes on the ground.
Move 3: Scissor Twist
- Lie on your back with your feet extended out straight, then raise your head, neck and shoulders off the ground to engage your abs.
- Raise your legs so that 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 ground.
- Switch your arms and legs so that you're twisting to the left side and lowering your right leg toward the ground.
- 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.
Move 4: Single-Leg Lift
- Lie on your back with your legs extended straight out and hands underneath your tailbone for support.
- Lift both legs a few inches off the floor.
- Anchoring your lower back into the floor, raise your right leg up to perpendicular, toe pointing straight up to the ceiling.
- As you lower your right leg, switch to lift your left leg all the way up.
To modify, switch your legs at the top. So you'll start with both legs pointing straight up in the air, then lower one leg at a time toward the ground.
A few days during the month, you'll incorporate an ab workout video, hosted by yoga teacher Elise Joan. You can find those all listed below.
- Days 3, 10, 17 and 24: The 10 Best Ab Exercises: Do each of the 10 exercises for 1 minute each.
- Days 6 and 13: Quick HIIT Workout for Flat Abs: Do each of the 10 moves for 30 to 45 seconds, resting 15 to 30 seconds between exercises. Repeat the circuit 2 to 3 times before doing the cooldown.
- Days 20 and 27: 10-Minute Plyo HIIT Video: Do each of the 10 moves for 30 to 45 seconds, resting 15 to 30 seconds between exercises. Don't forget the cooldown!
On a few blessed days during the challenge (every seventh day), you'll have a rest day! Make sure to take advantage of those by doing something active but low-intensity like walking, hiking, yoga or swimming.
Join Us for the Abs Challenge
1. Join our LIVESTRONG.com Challenge Facebook Group to get daily encouragement and motivation, as well as answers to any questions about the challenge you may have.
2. Share the challenge calendar below with your friends on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. You can also print it out and keep it somewhere you'll see it every day or save it to your phone so it's always handy.
3. Follow along with the challenge each day and post your progress in the Facebook group. We're rooting for you!
Click here for a printer-friendly version of the challenge calendar!