30 Day Ab Challenge For Women …(and Men!)

You’re certainly not alone if you look in the mirror (or try not to!) and wish your stomach looked more toned and your abs were more defined. And while aesthetics are certainly a perk, the benefits of strengthening your abs go well beyond matters of vanity.

The abs—which include the rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, and transversus abdominis—are major components of the core. A strong core not only makes you a better runner and improves athletic performance but also protects your back, supports efficient movements, and helps maintain your posture.

If you’re looking for some motivation, direction, or inspiration for your ab routine, join us for our 30-day ab challenge! It’s going to be fun!

In this guide, we will cover: 

  • What is the 30-Day Ab Challenge?
  • The 30-Day Ab Challenge for Womenand Men!
  • Exercise Instructions for the 30-Day Ab Challenge

Ready to tighten and tone your core? Let’s see what’s in store with the 30-day ab challenge!

30-day ab challenge woman doing a sit-up.

What is the 30-Day Ab Challenge?

This 30-day ab challenge is a daily workout program lasting 30 days with core-focused exercises.

Every exercise in this challenge requires your bodyweight only, and you can complete each daily workout in 5 minutes or less, making it a great 30-day ab challenge for anyone who finds a lack of time to be a major hurdle to getting in your core-strengthening workouts.

While you won’t necessarily get chiseled six-pack abs after 30 days (as muscle definition is dependent on your body fat percentage and genetics), this 30-day ab challenge will help you get stronger abs while establishing a consistent habit of doing a few minutes of core exercises per day.

Oh, and men, we want you to join, too!

A woman doing a sit up.

30 Day Abs Challenge for Women…and men!

30-Day Ab Challenge Printout

(right click the image to save and print this Challenge, or scroll to the end of the article for a text version)

Exercise Instructions for the 30-Day Ab Challenge for Women…and Men!

High Plank

High Plank

Planks end up on most 30-day ab challenges because they are a foundational anti-rotation movement and great for developing ab strength. This variation also works your shoulders. 

  1. Get in a push-up position with your body in a straight line from your heels to your head.
  2. Your hands should be in line with your elbows under your shoulders.
  3. Keep your core tight throughout the hold.

High Plank With Shoulder Taps

30-Day Ab Challenge exercise: High Plank Shoulder Taps

This plank modification requires more core activation as you introduce movement and reduce your base of support.

  1. Get into a push-up position, maintaining a straight line from your feet to the top of your head.
  2. Without raising your butt into the air, lift one arm up and reach across to tap the opposite shoulder, and then return to starting position.
  3. Keep your legs locked, and don’t allow any swaying from side to side as you switch arms.
  4. Alternate arms.

Up-Down Plank

30-Day Ab Challenge exercise: Up-Down Plank

This dynamic move strengthens your abs, chest, and shoulders.

  1. Start in a plank position with your elbows on the ground.
  2. Push one palm into the floor until your elbow is straight and then do the other hand so that you end up in a push-up position. Your hands should be positioned directly underneath the shoulders.
  3. Lower back down onto your elbows with control, one side at a time. Be careful not to rock your hips. They should be kept as stable as possible by keeping your core and glutes engaged. Slow down if you feel them moving.
  4. Keep repeating this pattern, switching the arm that is pushing up to the top position every time.

Side Plank

30-Day Ab Challenge exercise: Side plank

This is a great exercise for your obliques, the “side abs” that help with bending and rotational movements. Halfway through the 30-Day Ab Challenge, you will progress the move by adding a rotation.

  1. Lie on your side with your legs stacked one on top of another.
  2. Push up and straighten the arm on the side of your body that is resting on the ground so that your whole body lifts up into the air. Your arm remains straight, your legs remain straight, and your feet stay stacked one on top of the other.
  3. Concentrate on pushing your top hip up to the ceiling.
  4. Hold this position for 30 seconds, or stop early if your form waivers.
  5. When you are ready to add the rotation, slowly rotate your pelvis towards the floor while reaching your extended arm underneath your body, bringing the hand to tap your shoulder blade. 
  6. While maintaining your balance, rotate back to the starting position, lifting your top arm back up into the air.

Reverse Crunches

30-Day Ab Challenge exercise: reverse crunch

Reverse crunches are one of the most effective lower ab exercises. The key is to squeeze your lower abs and keep your low back in full contact with the ground (do not arch up). 

  1. Lie on your back with your hips flexed so that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor, your knees are up in the air bent to 90 degrees, and your shins are parallel to the ground up in the air. Rest your arms at your sides. 
  2. Draw your belly button in and engage your abs while you slowly lower both legs in tandem towards the ground, maintaining the bend in your knees and a tight abdomen.
  3. Gently tap your heels on the floor and then lift your legs back up to the starting position and slightly upward beyond that towards your chest using only your core muscles.

Dead Bug

30-Day Ab Challenge exercise: Dead Bug

This core exercise will strengthen your lower abs.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent to 90 degrees, shins parallel to the floor, and arms pointing straight up towards the ceiling.
  2. Inhale, engaging your abs, then slowly lower one foot towards the floor until your toe nearly taps down while simultaneously extending the opposite straight back behind you towards the floor without touching it.
  3. Keep the other leg and arm steady at the starting position.
  4. Raise the leg and arm back to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg and arm. 
  5. Alternate sides with each rep, moving slowly and with control.

Forearm Plank

30-Day Ab Challenge exercise: elbow plank
  1. Get into a push-up position, but drop down so that your forearms are on the floor with your elbows directly underneath your shoulders.
  2. Hold the position, squeezing your glutes and engaging your abs by drawing your belly button up to your spine. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your feet.

Mountain Climbers

30-Day Ab Challenge exercise: Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are a great way to strengthen your abs, along with your shoulders, back, and glutes. They also give you a cardio boost and improve your coordination. Be sure to maintain good form with your hips in line with your body. The crossover variation further engages your obliques.

  1. Get into a push-up position with your core, glutes engaged, and hands placed on either side of the top of a medicine ball, which should be centered under your chest, or you can put them on the floor if you are less confident in your core strength.
  2. Pressing your weight into your hands, alternate bending each knee and bringing the leg up under your chest between your arms and then returning it to the starting position.
  3. Move as fast and hard as you can for the duration of the exercise.

Crossover Mountain Climbers

Crossover Mountain Climbers: Crossover mountain climbers
  1. For the crossover mountain climbers, alternate bending each knee and bringing the leg up under your chest across your body so that you aim to tap your right knee to your left elbow and left knee to your right elbow.

Burpees

Crossover Mountain Climbers: Burpee

Burpees can be thought of as a full push-up followed by a jump squat cycled continuously together.

  1. After you squat, place your palms on the floor in front of your body about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Shift your weight to your hands and jump your feet back behind you so that you’re in a push-up position with your weight pressing through your palms and toes. Your body should be in a straight line from the top of your head to your heels.
  3. Perform one complete push-up by bending your elbows and lowering your chest to the ground, and then pushing through your palms to lift your body back up until your elbows are extended but not locked out. Be sure to engage your core and glutes and keep your hips in line with your body.
  4. Load your weight into your palms and jump your feet forward towards your hands, back to their starting position, so that you’re in a tuck position.
  5. Push through your hands and feet to stand up, raising your arms so that they are straight overhead, fingers pointing towards the ceiling.
  6. Jump up vertically as high into the air as high as you can, reaching up towards the ceiling.
  7. As soon as you land, bend your knees to cushion the landing, transitioning immediately into a full squat to begin the cycle again. 

V-Ups

Crossover Mountain Climbers: V ups

This is one of the tougher moves in the 30-day ab challenge for women.

  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended straight out in front of you, and your arms extended straight back above your head.
  2. Engage your glutes to simultaneously lift your entire lower body in a straight line and your entire upper body to meet upright in a folded “V” position. Your knees should be straight, and your arms should remain straight above your head.
  3. Lower your body back down, using control by engaging your abs.
  4. Do not allow your feet or upper body to come to a full rest on the floor; rather, hover just above the floor in the extended position and then sit back up into a “V.”

Russian Twist

Crossover Mountain Climbers: Russian Twist

The Russian Twist is a classic ab exercise to target the obliques. You can hold onto a dumbbell or weight if you want to make the exercise more challenging.

  1. Sit with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and hands together with your fingers interlaced.
  2. Engage your abs, leaning your torso back into a V-sit position and lifting your feet off the ground. You can keep your knees bent in the tuck position or straighten your legs and lift your feet up into the air into a full V-sit for a more difficult progression.
  3. Twist your upper body towards one side, bringing your arms together to hover just over the floor on that side of your hips.
  4. Keep rotating your torso back and forth to switch sides in a fluid motion.

Alternating Toe Touches

Alternating Toe Touch exercise

This is a challenging core exercise that targets your upper abs, lower abs, and obliques. 

  1. Lie on your back with your arms extended straight above your head, flat on the floor, and your legs straight.
  2. Crunch up by engaging your abs, simultaneously lifting your right arm up towards your left foot as you bring the left leg straight up into the air until it’s perpendicular to the floor.
  3. Squeeze your abs as your hand and foot make contact, and then return to the starting position.
  4. Alternate sides between reps.

To make the exercise more challenging, do not allow your limbs to completely rest on the floor. Hover them above the ground.

High Knees

High knees exercise.

Use your abs to drive your knees up as high as they will go.

  1. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Sprint in place, driving your knees up towards your chest and pumping your arms vigorously.
  3. Run as hard as you can, driving your knees up as high as possible.

Bear Hold With Taps

Bear hold with taps exercise.

This core exercise is one of the harder ones in the 30-day ab challenge. The goal is to stay as stationary as possible with your body while you tap each shoulder.

  1. Kneel on all fours in a table-top position. 
  2. Push through your hands, loading your weight on them, to hover your knees just above the ground. Keep your toes on the ground.
  3. Engage your core to maintain this position while bringing your right hand to your left shoulder. Move in a slow and controlled manner.
  4. Lower your right hand back to the starting position, and then repeat with the left hand. 
  5. Alternate sides, while ensuring your back stays flat and neutral like a tabletop.

Ready to rock? You’ve got this!

If you are looking for more challenges, check out our Here’s How To Survive The 4x4x48 Challenge guide!

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
30 seconds High Plank30 seconds Mountain Climbers
+
15 Alternating Toe Touches per leg
12 Reverse Crunches30 seconds Forearm Plank
+
15 Dead Bugs per side
30 seconds High Knees sprinting in place
+
30 seconds Russian Twist
10 BurpeesRest Day
30 seconds High Plank2 sets of
30 seconds Mountain Climbers
+
15 Alternating Toe Touches per leg
2 x 12 Reverse Crunches2 sets of 30 seconds Forearm Plank
+
15 Dead Bugs per side
2 sets of 60 seconds High Knees sprinting in place
+
30 seconds Russian Twist
15 BurpeesRest Day
30 seconds High Plank with shoulder taps60 seconds Crossover Mountain Climbers
+
15 V-ups
30 seconds per side of Side Plank with Rotations
+
15 Alternating Toe Touches per leg
30 seconds Up-Down Plank
+
15 Reverse Crunches
3 sets of 60 seconds High Knees sprinting in place
+
30 seconds Russian Twist
10 Burpees
+
30 seconds Right Side Plank
+
10 Burpees
+
30 seconds Left Side Plank
30 seconds Bear Hold with Shoulder Taps
60 seconds High Plank with shoulder taps2 sets of
60 seconds Crossover Mountain
Climbers
+
15 V-ups
2 sets of
30 seconds per side of Side Plank with Rotations
+
15 Alternating Toe Touches per leg
2 sets of 30 seconds Up-Down Plank
+
15 Reverse Crunches
3 sets of 90 seconds High Knees sprinting in place
+
60 seconds Russian Twist
15 Burpees
+
30-45 seconds Right Side Plank
+
15 Burpees
+
30-45 seconds Left Side Plank
2 x 30 seconds Bear Hold with Shoulder Taps
60 seconds Up-Down Plank
+
25 Reverse Crunches
2 sets of
60 seconds Crossover Mountain Climbers
+
15 V-ups
+
60 seconds forearm plank
4 people holding a plank position.
Amber Sayer

Amber Sayer

Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, and contributes to several fitness, health, and running websites and publications. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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