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A flat belly or rock solid abs, is something almost everyone wishes they could have at one point or another. After all, who doesn’t love a 6-pack?
But like almost every other nice thing we can do for our bodies, getting it takes a bit of work, dedication, and making the right choices.
If you’re looking to burn some belly fat, tone your abs and get in a better shape, then this simple 30-day ab challenge is here to help you out.
With useful tips and info to help you out along the way, as well a 30-day structure of simple exercises you can do at home, and with no equipment, you’ll be having the belly of your dreams in just a matter of time.
Let’s dive in.
Building Your Abs – How It Works
Before we get into the ab-sculpting exercises, it is important to understand the physiology of your core, as well as the different factors that go into play when it comes to building your abs.
The human core consists of a group of muscles located in your midsection, mainly your abdominals, lower back, pelvis, and all the way to your spine (erector spinae).
Your abdominal muscles include the rectus abdominis (commonly known as the 6-pack muscle), the external obliques, internal obliques and the transversus abdominis.
These muscles do a lot more than just making you look cool. It turns out having a strong and powerful core, is pretty important, and isn’t just something meant only for athletes or bodybuilders.
Benefits associated with a strong core include;
- Improved posture
- Much better athletic performance
- Less back pain
- Balance and stability
- Improved flexibility
A good core workout targets all the necessary muscles around your midsection and back, and not just one particular section.
Other Things To Consider
Workouts are great when it comes to sculpting magnificent abs, but they are only part of the journey. Like I said earlier, it takes a bit of work, dedication and the right choices.
While the right ab exercises can help you build up your muscles, and burn belly fat and tone your core, other factors such as your diet and lifestyle choices will determine if your efforts will be successful or not.
It’s a popular saying that “6-packs are made in the kitchen”. Well, it’s very true. Your dietary choices are very important, and can make or break your progress quite easily.
For example, eating foods high in sugar, refined carbs or unhealthy fats are a sure recipe for disaster.
Apart from lacking sufficient nutrients, and often being calorie laden, they also contribute to belly fat, which is the one thing you certainly DON’T want to be gaining during this period.
Instead of unhealthy foods high in sugar, refined carbs, trans fats, and so on, rather focus on eating rich whole foods, healthy fats, sufficient protein, etc.
It is also important to know your required macronutrient ratios, and stick to them for much better results. A macronutrient calculator like this can help you figure out your macro needs.
Apart from the foods you eat, other lifestyle choices or habits can affect your midsection.
Take alcohol for example. As much as I’d love to be the cool cat and say you can drink and still have sweet solid abs, the honest truth is that you can’t.
Things like excessive alcohol consumption, sodas, sweetened drinks and excessive smoking all have strong links to belly fat. If you’re trying to get a flatter belly, you might want to put a lid on those things.
Also, things like your stress levels, and the amount (and quality) of sleep you’re getting can play a role in your body’s overall weight loss or gain, which is something worth taking into consideration as well.
Now that we understand how certain things can affect our abs, let’s take a look at some of the best exercises we’ll be doing to help us get those sweet abs we want.
Ab Exercises In This Challenge
There are 5 main exercises in this 30-day ab challenge. You’ll discover how they work, why they’re important and how to do them.
- Bicycle crunches
- Leg raises
- Russian twists
- Mountain climbers
- Plank/side plank
1) Bicycle Crunches
Bicycle crunches are a very effective ab exercise that help to work your abdominals and obliques. They’re pretty easy to do, even for beginners. Here’s how to do them.
- Firstly, lie down flat on the floor, with your lower back pressed to the ground
- Place your hands gently behind your head (not behind your neck). You can interlock your fingers if you like
- Raise your knees towards your chest
- Move your right leg towards your left elbow, as you simultaneously move your left elbow towards your right leg, with your left leg stretching out during this motion.
- Mirror this motion, by moving your left leg towards your right elbow, as you simultaneously move your right elbow towards your left leg, with your right leg stretching out during this motion.
Here’s an example.
2) Leg Raises
Apart from the wonderful work they’ll do on your core, leg raises are also good for flexibility and movement. You can even add a lighter version of this during yoga. Here’s how to do them.
- Firstly, lie down flat on the floor, again with lower your back to the ground
- Join your knees and ankles together, and raise your legs slowly off the ground to an angle of about 90 degrees to your torso
- The knees and ankles of both legs should be in contact the whole time, and should not be separated
- When bringing your legs back down, try to prevent them from fully touching the floor.
Here’s an example.
3) Russian twists
Another simple, yet effective way to work on your abs, as well as your hips and even shoulders. Here’s how to do it.
- Sit on the floor, leaning back slightly and bring your leg up to an angle of about 45 degrees to the floor.
- Place your hands together in front of you, and raise your legs slightly off the ground (this is what makes it effective)
- With your hands together or with an object, move your hands from one side of your body to the other without moving your legs.
Here’s an example.
4) Mountain climbers
You’re going to feel the burn on this one. I love and personally recommend mountain climbers for abs for a number of reasons.
The main one being that, apart from the work it does for your core and the rest of your body, mountain climbers are great fat burner, and can potentially help you burn off the excess fat required for your abs to show.
Here’s how to do them.
- Assume a high plank position, with your hands straight out, directly under your shoulders
- Move one leg towards your chest as far as you can
- Switch to the other leg, moving the other leg towards your chest as far as you can
- Repeat this alternating movement as fast as possible, while maintaining form
Here’s an example.
5) Side Plank
Here’s how to do it
- Lie on your side, with your legs stretched out straight, and with one leg on the other
- Raise your body, by placing your elbow directly below your shoulders, and lifting your hips off the floor to form a straight line from your feet to your head
- Hold your position for the required amount of time
- Repeat on the other side
Here’s an example
30-Day Ab Challenge
These workouts are incorporated into this simple 30-day ab challenge.
Day 1 – 15 bicycle crunches, 10 leg raises, 10 Russian twists, 15 mountain climbers, 20 seconds side plank
Day 2 – 20 bicycle crunches, 15 leg raises, 15 Russian twists, 20 mountain climbers, 20 seconds side plank
Day 3 – 25 bicycle crunches, 20 leg raises, 20 Russian twists, 25 mountain climbers, 30 seconds side plank
Day 4 – Rest
Day 5 – 25 bicycle crunches, 20 leg raises, 20 Russian twists, 25 mountain climbers, 30 seconds side plank
Day 6 – 30 bicycle crunches, 25 leg raises, 25 Russian twists, 30 mountain climbers, 40 seconds side plank
Day 7 – 30 bicycle crunches, 25 leg raises, 25 Russian twists, 30 mountain climbers, 40 seconds side plank
Day 8 – Rest
Day 9 – 35 bicycle crunches, 30 leg raises, 30 Russian twists, 35 mountain climbers, 50 seconds side plank
Day 10 – 35 bicycle crunches, 30 leg raises, 30 Russian twists, 35 mountain climbers, 50 seconds side plank
Day 11 – 40 bicycle crunches, 35 leg raises, 35 Russian twists, 40 mountain climbers, 60 seconds side plank
Day 12 – Rest
Day 13 – 40 bicycle crunches, 35 leg raises, 35 Russian twists, 40 mountain climbers, 60 seconds side plank
Day 14 – 45 bicycle crunches, 40 leg raises, 40 Russian twists, 45 mountain climbers, 70 seconds side plank
Day 15 – 45 bicycle crunches, 40 leg raises, 40 Russian twists, 45 mountain climbers, 70 seconds side plank
Day 16 – Rest
Day 17 – 50 bicycle crunches, 45 leg raises, 45 Russian twists, 50 mountain climbers, 80 seconds side plank
Day 18 – 50 bicycle crunches, 45 leg raises, 45 Russian twists, 50 mountain climbers, 80 seconds side plank
Day 19 – 55 bicycle crunches, 50 leg raises, 50 Russian twists, 55 mountain climbers, 90 seconds side plank
Day 20 – Rest
Day 21 – 55 bicycle crunches, 50 leg raises, 50 Russian twists, 55 mountain climbers, 90 seconds side plank
Day 22 – 60 bicycle crunches, 55 leg raises, 55 Russian twists, 60 mountain climbers, 100 seconds side plank
Day 23 – 60 bicycle crunches, 55 leg raises, 55 Russian twists, 60 mountain climbers, 100 seconds side plank
Day 24 – Rest
Day 25 – 65 bicycle crunches, 60 leg raises, 60 Russian twists, 65 mountain climbers, 110 seconds side plank
Day 26 – 65 bicycle crunches, 60 leg raises, 60 Russian twists, 65 mountain climbers, 110 seconds side plank
Day 27 – 70 bicycle crunches, 65 leg raises, 65 Russian twists, 70 mountain climbers, 120 seconds side plank
Day 28 – Rest
Day 29 – 70 bicycle crunches, 65 leg raises, 65 Russian twists, 70 mountain climbers, 120 seconds side plank
Day 30 – 80 bicycle crunches, 70 leg raises, 70 Russian twists, 80 mountain climbers, 130 seconds side plank