For all you ab-tastic followers, here you go! Links to the week’s various exercises and instructions are below. They won’t be posted again throughout the week (just the reminders) so you’ll have to come back to this post if you need to reference any of the notes again.
Sunday 1/6: Sunday Circuit
The first Sunday Circuit of the series! These will take a little longer than the other challenges have, but they are good, and don’t need any equipment.
1. Side Lunge to Knee Lift – After bringing your body down into a side lunge (keep knees and toes forward), take the leg that’s extended out and lift that knee up in front of you. This is a good exercise for working on balance, which you need core strength for. If you have dumbbells, you could hold them if you want, but doing without is fine for the challenge.
2. Plank with leg lifts — Do these as a straight-arm plank instead of elbow. Take turn lifting each foot off the ground for a few seconds at a time, again trying to work on balance.
3. Lunge with rotation – Step forward into a lunge, twist your torso toward the direction of whichever leg is in front, bring yourself back to center, and step back to starting position. If you have a dumbbell for these, feel free to hold.
4. Side Planks — Beginners, keep your knee down. Intermediate, balance on your feet. Advanced, balance on one foot. Your choice here — either hold for as long as you can on each side (keep bottom of hip lifted!) OR do the prescribed reps of hip raises (drop hip down and lift back up) on each side. Wherever you are, the hand on the ground should be directly beneath your shoulder.
5. Glute Bridge March – Bring body into a bridge, and take turns “marching” each knee toward you – while keeping your hips lifted.
6. Finally, finish with reverse crunches – a very small crunch (lifting up) as you lay face down, for your lower back. These you can’t do on “each side” so just do 10, 12, or 15 in the center. Careful not to jerk your back as you raise yourself up.
Monday 1/7: Morning Ab Burner
Get yourself energized for the day and the week ahead with the first Monday Morning Ab Burner. Five minutes or less!!
- Jumping jacks: Do as many jumping jacks as you can in 60 seconds. If you need a lower impact option, just tap one heel out to the side at a time instead of doing the full jumping jack. You can still count how many taps you do.
- Bicycle crunches: Do 3 sets of 10 reps. Note that 1 rep equals right knee then left knee in <— that’s not two reps.
- Timed 6 inch hold: See how long you can hold yourself in the position I’m holding below. You can place your hands under your butt, then lift your upper back off the floor. Lift your feet no more than 6 inches off the ground (legs shouldn’t be high at all) and then look at your feet and breathe as you hold yourself there.
Tuesday 1/8: Plank for Time
Hold an elbow plank for as long as you can, trying to beat last week’s time!
Wednesday 1/9: Ab Ladder Before Bed
Do an Ab Ladder series before you go to bed on Wednesday night:
- Start lying on your back, legs extended out straight in front of you with feet flexed. If you prefer to keep your elbows in for this exercise only, that is okay. Otherwise, keep your elbows out. Lift your upper back off the floor and look at your feet. This is your low point. Do 20 mini crunch pulses in this position. Note that this is a small movement, NOT a full crunch. You never bring your back down to the ground with this one.
- After 20 mini crunch pulses with legs extended on the ground, bring your feet flat on the floor and do 20 more mini crunch pulses.
- After 20 mini crunch pulses with feet flat on the floor, lift your feet off the ground, keeping your knees over your hips. Do 20 mini crunch pulses here.
- Then straighten your knees so feet are over your hips and legs are straight. Do 20 mini crunch pulses here. This is the top of your ladder.
- Start working your way back down! Bend the knees – 20 more mini crunch pulses.
- Feet flat on the ground again – 20 more mini crunch pulses.
- Finish strong with the last 20 mini crunch pulses with legs out, just like you started with.
A lot of directions, but it shouldn’t be hard to follow. If you don’t feel your abs hurting by the end, do it again.
Thursday 1/10: Tabata Thursday
Four minutes! This week we will only do two moves as opposed to the four from last week’s.
- Plank jacks: A jumping jack, but in a plank position. Modification – tap your feet out to the side one at a time instead of doing the full jack.
- Butterfly Situp: If this move bothers your tailbone, modify with a regular situp instead.
Friday 1/11: Focus On Chest
On Friday I want you to take a break from focusing on your abs, and do an exercise that focuses on your chest instead. We’re doing pushups, people! All you have to do is take one minute out of your day, and do as many pushups as you can in 60 seconds. These can be done on either your feet or your knees, but stay consistent in whichever you pick. Please rest as needed during the minute (you will need to!), but make sure to count all pushups you are able to complete with good form.
Saturday 1/12: Rest and Read
Stay tuned for my second core strength tip, and rest up those abs for week #3.
Have you been enjoying the 31 Days of Abs Challenge so far? Are you feeling more motivated? Feedback welcome! Don’t forget to “check in” on the blog or on my Facebook page to get your entries into a prize drawing at the end of the challenge.
Keep on rocking!