30-Day Ab Challenge
This free 30-Day Ab Challenge was designed for beginners to intermediates. In this post, we’ll demonstrate proper form for 30+ effective ab exercises targeting your whole core.
These exercises make up the 30-Day Ab Challenge daily workouts, which you can follow by downloading and printing the 30-Day Ab Challenge PDF.
So, let’s dive into the core values of the ab challenge.
30-day ab challenge
Get ready to torch the belly fat with our 30 Day Ab Challenge for beginners. You’ll not only start feeling a stronger core but with repeated ab work, you’ll have the toned and defined abs you’ve always wanted.
Abs are often overlooked in a workout routine. Sure, there are dynamic moves that incorporate core work, like renegade rows or feet-elevated push-ups, but if you want six-pack abs, time needs to be devoted specifically to abs. We try to do ab exercises at least four times a week, if not daily.
This free, printable 30 Day Ab Challenge calendar introduces 30+ core moves to incorporate into your workout routine. Each move includes video and written instruction on proper form.
We share a variety of moves starting in different positions, giving you the ability to modify as needed as you work up to the full 30 day ab workout challenge.
This 30-Day Ab Challenge is for men and women between fitness levels beginner and intermediate. We recommend you and your significant other print the 30-Day Ab Challenge PDF and follow the program together at home!
Why Core Strength is so Important
A strong core is more important than just looking good in a bathing suit. Adding muscle to your abdomen around your trunk and pelvis is critical to your longterm health. A strong core improves balance, stability, and can reduce injury.
No matter your favorite activities, it’s likely a stronger core will help. Even my high school track coach made us work our abs!
From backpacking to skiing, the core is frankly your body’s full support system. From any sort of rotation to bending over, your core muscles stabilize and hold your body together.
Plus, having a strong core is imperative for pregnant women, which can protect both the mother and baby from the stresses of a hard labor.
Additionally, it helps avoid ab separation (diastasis recti) during and following pregnancy. For pregnant mothers looking for strong abs, we created a pregnancy workout plan by trimester specifically for you.
Your core isn’t just one single muscle but made up of three major muscles.
The transverse abdominis is the deepest muscle, stabilizing your spine and pelvis. On top of them are two layers of oblique muscles which control lateral movements like side bends. Finally is the rectus abdominus which is what is associated with the six-pack.
The Facts of Six-Pack Abs
We firmly believe that strong abs are key to a healthy and active life. Yet, many are set on getting the magazine model six-pack abs.
Yes, you can achieve that in our 30-Day Ab Challenge, however, you should know these facts surrounding six-pack abs.
Fact #1: Not everyone can get a picture-perfect six-pack
It may come as a surprise, but genetics still play a role in this. Some people have larger split in their abs or bigger upper than lower muscles.
Other physiological factors like age, hormones, and body type all determine whether or not you can get magazine-worthy abs.
Fact #2: It’s easier for men to have a six-pack than women
Women have higher body fat percentages than men. On top of that, much of this fat is found in the abdominal area for pregnancy and childbirth.
Of course, both men and women have six-pack abs, achieved through a highly disciplined workout and nutrition program. Studies show that ab muscles are typically seen around a 15% body fat percentage.
Fact #3: Diet plays the largest role
In addition to core exercises, people with six-pack abs must also have a strict diet to reduce their body fat percentages.
Eating clean will help you along on your ab journey, whereas eating poorly can derail it.
The best strategy for a healthy and strong body is to focus on overall total body fitness and nutrition. This 30 Day Ab Challenge can be used as a tool to incorporate into a full-body workout program that focuses on resistance, cardio, and flexibility.
Based on our experiment measuring the effectiveness of cardio workouts, this will get you results significantly faster than the treadmill or stationary bike.
Focusing only on ab exercises to get a six-pack won’t get you there any faster than a well-rounded program. Your core still depends on other muscles, like your back muscles, as the body works together as a whole.
What is The Best 30-Day Ab Challenge
We’ve tried many of them and we think ours is the best. Here is why.
So many of the ab workout challenges that we’ve tried consist of the same moves over and over. Not only is this boring, but it’s just not as effective.
2. Daily Workouts
Daily workouts are best because they encourage consistency. If you work out 5-7 days a week, your body starts to crave movement and exercise. If you only work out 3 days a week, you don’t get that.
While we’re not encouraging you to work your abs every day for the rest of your life (core muscles need recovery time too), you should during this 30-Day Ab Challenge.
However, don’t be too strict. If you miss a day, that’s fine. Chalk it up as a rest day and start where you left off the following day. However, be careful not to miss two days in a row.
3. Significantly Ramps Up in Difficulty
We share the full 30-Day Ab Challenge workout calendar below, where you will see that the Day 1 workout is less than a minute while the Day 30 workout is about 15 minutes of core exercise.
Not only does this make the 30-Day Ab Challenge for beginners is easy to start, but it doesn’t over stress your core muscles at the start.
Download The 30-Day Ab Challenge PDF
And get instant access to the free, printable 30-Day Ab Challenge Calendar.
The 30-Day Ab Workout Challenge
This 30-Day Ab Challenge for beginners will help you work all abdominal muscle groups from your obliques to your rectus abdominus (aka six-pack muscles).
All ab moves can be seen below and should be followed along with our downloadable 30-Day Ab Challenge PDF.
The only equipment we use for this challenge is this mat. It’s a thin mat that we use for all of our workouts. If core exercises on a hard surface bother you, this core comfort mat is quality and much thicker than most core mats out there.
Day 1. Crunches
Perform 20 reps, focusing on lifting your chest straight up to the ceiling. Hands can be kept across your chest or at your temples. Stop once you feel your abdominal muscles engaged, about halfway up. This is a crunch, whereas going all the way to the knees is a sit-up.
Day 2. Table Top Crunches
Perform 20 reps, with your knees lifted into a 90-degree angle.
Day 3. Twisted Crunches
Get your obliques involved with these elbow-knee twisted crunches. Take your right arm out straight to the side and put your left hand behind your head. Put your right foot on your left knee. Crunch up across your body to bring your left elbow to your right knee.
Perform 20 reps on your left side and then switch sides. Perform 20 more reps on your right side.
Day 4. Prayer Crunches
Perform 20 reps with your arms out straight with hands together as if praying. Crunch forward, keeping your hands below your knees, as if moving straight forward towards the opposite wall.
Day 5. Toe Tap Crunches
These 30-Day Ab Challenge exercise moves were curated to work your entire core. So far we’ve hit your upper abs and obliques. You’ll feel this one in your lower abs!
Crunch up to meet your knees, but then lower your feet slowly to the ground. Experiment with the angle of your knees until you feel a burn in your lower abs. If this move feels easy, you’re not doing it right!
Day 6. Rope Climbers
Perform 20 reps by lifting your legs towards the ceiling, and striving to keep them as straight as possible. Reach with each hand towards your feet, as if climbing up a rope. Perform 20 reps in total, with one rep constituting a reach by both hands.
Day 7. Oblique Crunches
Let your knees fall to the right and crunch straight towards the ceiling, working your left obliques. Perform 20 reps and then switch sides and perform 20 reps for your right obliques. While these may seem easy, you’ll surely feel them the next days!
Day 8. Side Crunches
Fire your obliques by reaching your pinky to your pinky toe on each side. Perform 20 reps, with one rep containing both sides.
Day 9. Back Extensions
We promised you a well-rounded and balanced 30-Day Ab Challenge for beginners. Therefore, targeting lower back muscles was essential.
With your toes planted on the ground, shoulder blades pinched, glute muscles flexed, and hands hovering off the ground, lift your torso by engaging your lower back muscles. Perform for 30 seconds.
Day 10. High Plank
The next series of 30-day ab challenge workouts involve the plank position. Starting in a high push-up position, hold a high plank for 30 seconds. Remember to squeeze your glutes to keep your back flat and butt down. If this is too challenging, drop down to a forearm plank and build up towards a high plank.
During these plank variations, spread your weight into your fingertips to decrease the load in your wrists. Additionally, with your hands planted on the mat, can further engage your shoulder muscles by trying to push your hands toward the edge of the mat.
Day 11. Rocking Plank
This variation of a simple forearm plank challenges your core in new ways. Keeping your glutes squeezed and back flat, rock back and forth on your toes. Perform for 30 seconds.
Day 12. Plank Hip Dips
Get into a forearm plank and rotate your body for your right hip and then left hip to drop to the floor. This is one rep. Perform 20 reps. Keep your back flat and squeeze your core to avoid lifting your butt.
Day 13. Spiderman Planks
Spiderman Planks can be done either from a forearm or high plank. Bring your knee to the outside of your elbow on each side to count as one rep. Perform 20 reps.
Day 14. Bird-Dog High Planks
The ultimate balance pose, test your core with the bird-dog high plank. From a high plank, extend and lift your right arm and left leg at the same time. Switch legs to perform one rep. Perform 20 reps.
Day 15. Side Plank
Lift into a side plank either on your elbow or your hand for a bigger challenge. Hold for 15 seconds, then switch sides and hold for an additional 15 seconds.
Day 16. Side Plank Dips
From a forearm side plank or a high side plank, dip your hips downwards to nearly touch the ground. Perform 30 seconds on each side.
Day 17. Down Dog Knee Pulls
Lift one leg in the yoga pose, downward-facing dog (known as three-legged dog). Bring the lifted leg to your towards your nose, bending your head to see if it can touch. Perform 20 reps on each right and left side.
Day 18. Plank Shoulder Taps
Perform 20 reps of shoulder taps, with each rep containing both hands. Tap each hand with the opposite shoulder and activate your core to minimize the twisting of your hips. Make sure your back remains flat with your butt down.
Day 19. Superman Kicks
While the majority of the exercises in th 30-Day Ab Challenge are targeting the 6-pack muscles, we’d be remiss to not also target back muscles.
A strong back is imperative to a strong core. Lift both arms and legs from the floor while laying on your stomach. Start flutter kicking, never touching the ground. Perform for 30 seconds.
Day 20. Leg Lift Presses
With your hands by your sides or, to modify, under your hips, lift your legs into a traditional leg lift. At the top, pause to remove momentum, and lift your hips straight towards the ceiling. Bring your legs down but don’t let them touch the floor. This is one rep. Perform 20 reps.
Day 21. Seated Drumming
With your legs lifted in a seated position, lean back to engage your core. Start drumming on your abs. Perform and hold for 30 seconds.
Day 22. Bicycle Crunches
Laying on your back, bring your opposite elbow to your opposite knee. Perform 20 reps, with one rep containing both sides.
Day 23. Leg Extensions
Your first double-day! Perform 20 reps with your right leg extended straight, and then 20 reps more with your left leg extended straight. To target your lower ab muscles, lower the extended leg closer towards the ground.
Day 24. Flutter Kicks
Staying on your back, either flat or lifted on your elbows, flutter kick your feet. You can do these next two 30-Day Ab Challenge exercise on your forearms (Alex), or on your back with your shoulder blades lifted (Ryan). Perform for 30 seconds.
Day 25. Criss-Crosses
Turn over to your back and either lie with a flat back or lift onto your elbows. Start by crossing one leg above the other, keeping your legs and feet lifted. To modify, lie on your back with your legs lifted towards the ceiling. Perform for 30 seconds.
Day 26. Straight Leg Bicycles
With your hands at your temples, bring your right arm to your left knee. Keep your legs straight in this bicycle variation. Perform 20 reps, with one rep including both right and left sides.
Day 27. Side Banana
Balance on your side with legs and arms extended. Squeeze your obliques to stay in balance. Perform 15 seconds on each side, right and left.
Day 28. Windshield Wipers
With both arms out to the side and your legs lifted, slowly bring them side to side, stopping at about 45-degrees from the floor. Make sure you keep both shoulders on the ground. One cycle, from left to right and back to left, counts as one rep. Perform 20 reps.
Day 29. Bicycle Claps
A variation on the traditional bicycle crunch. After lifting each leg, engage your core to lean forward and clap under each leg. Clapping under the right and left legs count as one rep. Perform 20 reps.
Day 30. V-Ups
Target your lower abs by lifting into a “V” position when laying on your back by reaching your hands towards your feet. Perform 20 reps. In between each rep, take a moment to lay on your back to remove any momentum.
Day 31. Pike Ups (Bonus)
In a 31-day month? Add one more exercise for the ultimate challenge! From a high plank position, jump your feet in towards your hands with straight legs. You’ll want to lift your spine as if someone was pulling a string straight towards the sky from your hips. Perform 20 reps.
Congratulations on focusing on building a stronger core. As we mentioned above, many factors go into a healthy fitness routine that goes beyond defined abs. We’re happy to help you start working out at home or following a total body workout plan, such as our Resistance Bands Workout Routine.
This 30 Day Ab Challenge was written for you, so make sure to listen to your body and modify as needed. By working on your overall fitness and nutrition, you will see the results you’re looking for!
If you’re looking to get started on a guided nutrition and fitness program, check out our Couple’s Clean Week program to kickstart a healthy lifestyle for you and your partner.
Hey we’re Ryan and Alex
The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”
After eight years working in the corporate world, originally as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.
The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship, as a couple.