In general, we’re all about the long term when it comes to fitness. Getting in shape can take a long time, and keeping yourself in shape is the work of a lifetime. However, there’s a lot to be gained from short-term challenges and goals as well. Not only are they a great way to kick-start your fitness and motivation, but you can also achieve an astonishing amount in just 30 days.
This 30-day abs challenge is the perfect example of those benefits. If you follow each of the workouts closely, you’ll finish the month with a stronger core and more defined abs. Whether they’ll be defined enough to class as a six-pack is hard to say – what you do in the kitchen is a big part of that – but we can promise more definition, better posture and improved mobility.
All the info you need to complete the plan is below – you just need to bring a can-do attitude. Once you finish the plan you might well feel that something’s missing from your life afterwards, so to help fill the void you can take on one of the other abs workouts we’ve added below.
How To Do This 30-Day Abs Challenge
“This challenge not only targets all parts of the abdominals but also works your core endurance,” says Folarin. “It builds in intensity, allowing you to notice your improvements every day, until you have mastered each exercise by day 30.”
The workouts use only bodyweight exercises so you can do them anywhere and any time you have a spare moment, making it easier to stick to the plan whatever life throws at you. Even better, the exercises are suitable for all fitness levels.
Each week of the plan involves doing the same workout for five days, increasing the difficulty of the workout by adding ten seconds to the time you perform each exercise each day until you hit 60 seconds. The timer resets at the start of the next week, but you also add an exercise to the workout. So in week 1 you’re doing a three-move workout, in week 2 a four-move workout, and so on.
You’ll also up the intensity once a week with a HIIT workout done at an interval ratio of 40 seconds’ work, 20 seconds’ rest, for five sets. “The HIIT will improve your endurance and burn the fat so you reveal those solid abs you have been building,” says Folarin.
Then, on days 29 and 30, you round off the plan with your hardest HIIT and abs workouts of the period to demonstrate (to yourself and whoever may be watching – be it your flatmate or fellow gym-goer) how much you have progressed.
- Do The 30-Day Plank Challenge
- Try The 30-Day Squat Challenge To Build Functional Muscle
- Attempt The 30-Day Press-Up Challenge
- Take The 30-Day Burpee Challenge
30-Day Abs Challenge
Pin or print the 30-day abs challenge, or keep scrolling to find it written out as well as form guides for each exercise.
|Day 1||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist Time 30sec each|
|Day 2||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist Time 40sec each|
|Day 3||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist Time 50sec each|
|Day 4||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist Time 60sec each|
|Day 5||Exercise High knees Sets 5 Time 40sec Rest 20sec|
|Day 6||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist Time 60sec each|
|Day 8||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist, leg raise Time 30sec each|
|Day 9||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist, leg raise Time 40sec each|
|Day 10||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist, leg raise Time 50sec each|
|Day 11||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist, leg raise Time 60sec each|
|Day 12||Exercise Frogger Sets 5 Time 40sec Rest 20sec|
|Day 13||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist, leg raise Time 60sec each|
|Day 15||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist, leg raise, mountain climbers Time 30sec each|
|Day 16||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist, leg raise, mountain climbers Time 40sec each|
|Day 17||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist, leg raise, mountain climbers Time 50sec each|
|Day 18||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist, leg raise, mountain climbers Time 60sec each|
|Day 19||Exercise Tuck jump Sets 5 Time 40sec Rest 20sec|
|Day 20||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist, leg raise, mountain climbers Time 60sec each|
|Day 22||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist, leg raise, mountain climbers, walking plank Time 30sec each|
|Day 23||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist, leg raise, mountain climbers, walking plank Time 40sec each|
|Day 24||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist, leg raise, mountain climbers, walking plank Time 50sec each|
|Day 25||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist, leg raise, mountain climbers, walking plank Time 60sec each|
|Day 26||Exercise Burpee Sets 5 Time 40sec Rest 20sec|
|Day 27||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist, leg raise, mountain climbers, walking plank Time 60sec each|
|Day 29||Exercises High knees, frogger, tuck jump, burpee Rounds 3 Time 40sec Rest 20sec|
|Day 30||Exercises Dead bug, sit-up, Russian twist, leg raise, mountain climbers, walking plank Rounds 2 Time 60sec each|
Abs Exercises Form Guides
Lie on your back with your arms extended towards the ceiling and your legs raised with your knees bent at a 90° angle. Simultaneously lower your right leg, straightening it as you do, and left arm towards the ground, until they are just above the floor, then bring them back up and repeat with the opposite limbs.
Lie on your back with your legs bent at the knees and your feet on the floor. Use your core muscles to lift your torso off the ground until it is vertical, then lower back to the start.
Sit on the floor with your legs bent at the knees and feet held just above the ground. Lean back so your upper body is at a 45° angle to the floor. Link your hands together in front of your chest then twist your torso from side to side.
Lie on your back. Keeping your legs as straight as you can, raise them until the soles of your feet are facing the ceiling. Lower slowly back to the start.
From a press-up position, bring one knee up to your chest at pace, then the other. Continue, alternating knees.
From a plank position supported by your forearms, move one hand at a time to get up into a press-up position, then drop back onto your forearms one arm at a time.
HIIT Exercises Form Guides
Run on the spot, bringing your knees as close to your chest as possible.
From a press-up position jump both legs forwards so that your feet land outside your hands. Then jump your feet back to the starting position.
From standing, jump as high as you can, lifting your knees towards your chest. Land softly and go straight into another jump.
From standing, drop into a press-up position (and do a press-up, if you like), then jump your feet back to your hands, stand up and leap straight up. Land softly and repeat.
What To Eat During The 30-Day Abs Challenge
If you’re tackling this challenge in the hope of eventually carving out a six-pack, then you’ll need to pay as much attention to your diet as you do to your workouts to achieve your goals. Beyond staple diet advice that works for everyone, like drinking plenty of water and getting at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, you’ll benefit from keeping an eye on your overall calorie intake and ensuring you eat enough protein to support your muscle repair and growth.
We have a four-week muscle-building diet plan you can use, plus a four-week meal plan to lose weight, both of which will ensure you’re eating a balanced diet while eating the right kind of stuff to hit your fitness goals.
There is also the option to outsource the cooking by using a healthy meal delivery service, which will prepare all your meals for you in line with your stated fitness goals and activity levels. Or, if that seems a little too expensive, you can at least let others plan your meals and do your shopping for you by signing up with a recipe box service like HelloFresh or Gousto.
More Abs Workouts
Upper abs, lower abs and obliques circuits
This trio of circuit workouts cover every part of your abs and are the perfect way to progress your core training if you finish the 30-day challenge desperate for more. You can do the upper abs and obliques workouts without any equipment, but you will need a pull-up bar for the lower abs circuit. See the workout
Dumbbell abs workout
If you have a single dumbbell to hand, put it to good use with this quick and effective core workout. You’ll be doing six circuits of five moves, resting only at the end of each round to keep your core muscles working hard for a sustained period. See the workout
Lower abs workout
If you have aspirations to carve out a six-pack it’s vital that you spend time focusing on the lower abs or you’ll end up with a beautifully defined four-pack. This tough session uses a mix of hanging exercises (you can use gym rings or a pull-up bar) and floor moves to put your lower abs to work. See the workout
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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