31 Day Abs Challenge: Week 5 Plan & Notes

Ok, people!  Last week of my January 31 Day Ab Challenge.  How are you feeling?  Who is still with me at the end of five weeks?  Like Week 1, this is somewhat of a short week to wrap things up.  Let’s finish strong, yes?!

January 2013 31 Day Ab Challenge

Sunday 1/27:  Sunday Circuit

The Sunday Circuit usually plays off of my Saturday Core Strength Tip.  Yesterday’s tip was to push yourself and get out of your comfort zone.  That being said, this week’s Sunday Circuit will be just that.

Sunday Circuit Week 5

Jumping jacks until fatigue
To push yourself harder than a regular jumping jack, try crossing your feet one in front of the other as you jack , or jumping your feet out by bringing your knees up first.

15 pushups
To push yourself harder than you would in a regular pushup, try doing them with one leg lifted, with your elbows back, by bringing one knee to the side for a spiderman pushup, making a diamond with your hands, or staggering your arms.

Mountain climbers until fatigue
To push yourself harder, bring the knees in even faster or try driving the knees to the opposite shoulders instead of into the chest.

20 Full Situps
Because I’ve only had you doing crunches, crunch pulses, or butterfly situps so far.

Monday 1/28:  Monday Morning Ab Burner

Do the following moves when you get out of bed on Monday morning!

Monday Morning Ab Burner Week 5

For a reminder on how to do burpees, click here.

For a reminder on how to do your ab ladder, see the notes from Week 2!!

Ab Ladder Series 1

Ab Ladder Series 2

Tuesday 1/29:  Plank for Time

This will be your second to last timed plank!  Hold an elbow plank for as long as you can, trying to beat last week’s time.  Has anyone reached their goal yet??  If so, let’s start making it more difficult!  Try planking on a stability ball, bosu trainer, core board, or another unstable surface.  Otherwise, set a new goal and shoot for the new goal.  Don’t just stop once you’ve reached your first benchmark.  There are ALWAYS ways to improve.

Stability Ball Plank

Wednesday 1/30:  V-Sits Before Bed

For your pre-snooze core work on Wednesday, do as many V-Sits as you can until fatigue!  Start lying on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you and your arms either by your sides or extended overhead on the floor.  Lift yourself up so that you are either..

Here (beginner):

Beginner V-Ups

Here (Intermediate):

Intermediate V-Ups

or here (advanced):


Thursday 1/31:  Tabata Thursday AND Plank for Time

Today is the last day!  First, time one final elbow plank so you can see where you ended up at the end of the challenge in terms of your plank times.  Then finish strong with one last Tabata Thursday.  This Tabata is going to be a TRUE Tabata, where you do the same move for the four minutes.  That move is going to be plank jacks! plank jacks

Do these for 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off… 8 times… for that total of four minutes.  Note:  You don’t have to do your final timed plank AND the plank jacks immediately after another.

And there you have it!  Our last week.  🙂

Any questions, let me know.  Enjoy, and good luck!

31 Day Abs Challenge: Week 4 Plan & Notes

Good morning!  I love Sundays, especially Sundays that are a part of a long weekend.  Before I head out to enjoy the day, just wanted to give you all this week’s ab challenge plan and notes.  This is our last full week!

January 2013 31 Day Ab Challenge

Sunday 1/20:  Sunday Circuit

Sunday Circuit - Standing Abs

Jumping jacks:  Self explanatory.  If jumping is too much, just tap your heels side to side, one at a time.

Canoe:  Stand with your feet, knees slightly bent, and hands clasped.  Keeping your hips still, bring your hands down to your left hips as if you were “paddling” backward.  Next, raise your hands up to chest level, and then paddle them to the right hip.  More advanced – hold a dumbbell while you do this.

Canoe Exercise

Canoe Exercise
Front Leg Lift & Tap:  Stand with your feet hip width apart.  Raise your arms overhead.  Bring one leg up at the same time you bring your arms down, so you are lifting one leg and tapping your toe (or as close to your toe as you can get) with your arms.

Front Leg Lift & Tap

Front Leg Lift & Tap(dirty sock)

High Knees:  Beginners, just alternate bringing one knee up to meet the hips.  More advanced, do these fast as if you are running but bringing your knees up high in front of you.

– Dumbbell Side Bends:  Hold dumbbell (or water bottle if no weights) in one hand.  Band waist toward dumbbell until slight stretch is felt, then lift back up to center.  Repeat on opposite side once all reps are done on one side.

Dumbbell Side Bends

Dumbbell Side Bends
Knee Cross Crunch:  Stand with your shoulders in line with your hips, and extend your right arm up and your left leg to the side, toes pointed.  Next, lower your right elbow and raise your left knee, crunching them together on a diagonal line.  Return to start.

Knee Cross Crunch

Knee Cross Crunch

Monday 1/21:  Morning Ab Burner

Get yourself energized for the day and the week ahead with another Monday Morning Ab Burner!  This week I want you to repeat the 25, 50, or 100 crunches from Week 1.  Try to aim for a higher number than you did last time – if you did 100, shoot for 125!  Also, try to make them a little more challenging in some way – bring your knees over your hips, straighten your legs in the air, do them on a stability, add a weight… up to you!

Tuesday 1/22:  Plank for Time

Hold an elbow plank for as long as you can, trying to beat last week’s time!  Has anyone reached their goal yet??

Elbow Plank

Wednesday 1/23:  Leg Lifts Before Bed

Do leg lifts before zzz’s!  Lying on your back, start with your legs straight up over your hips.  Your hands can be either underneath your butt, or right by your sides.  Lower down until you feel like your lower back might come off the floor – that’s your stopping/low point.  You don’t want to be arching your back.  Do as many as you can until fatigue!  Note, to make this more challenging, lift your upper back off the ground during the leg lifts.

Leg Lifts

Leg Lifts

Thursday 1/24:  Tabata Thursday

31 day abs challenge tabata thursday week 4

-Walking Plank:  Get in a straight-arm plank position.  “Walk your arms” to the left, until you get to what 10 o’clock would be if you started at 12.  Then walk over to the right until you reach 2 o’clock.  Continue “walking” back and forth.

Walking Plank

Walking Plank
-Plank Leg Kick & Knee Tuck:  Start again in straight-arm plank position.  Kick one leg back (it’s actually OK to lift your butt a little here!), then pull the knee in toward the chest.  Alternate sides.

Plank Leg Kick & Knee Tuck

Plank Leg Kick & Knee Tuck

Friday 1/25:  Focus On Hips

31 Day Abs Challenge:  Friday Focus Hips

– Lying Hip Abduction Series:  Lie on one side with hips stacked, knees slightly bent, then straighten top leg so knee is straight, foot is flexed, and your toe is facing forward.  Raise top leg (that’s the abduction), then instead of returning to start as you lower, lower slightly in front of the other leg.  When you raise back up, make sure you raise it in the center where you started.  Do 20 reps to the front, then repeat but doing the same thing to the back.  Do on both legs.  More advanced — add an ankle weight or hold a dumbbell on your outer thigh.

Hip Abduction Series
– Lying Hip Adduction Series:  Lie on one side with one foot flat on the floor and the other leg straight out in front.  Lift and lower so you feel the movement in the inner thigh.  Try 30 on each leg.  More advanced — add an ankle weight or hold a dumbbell on your inner thigh.

Hip Adduction Series
– Squat and Kick Series:  Do a regular squat, but when you come up do a front kick on the right.  Squat again and then do a front kick on the left.  Do 40 total.

Squat and Kick
-Hip Stretches:  Finish off hips by choosing some hip stretches from this post and trying them out!

Saturday 1/26:  Rest & Read

Stay tuned for my fourth core strength tip, and rest up those abs for the last (short) week!

Have a great day and week ahead, everyone!  Don’t forget to continue to “check in” once you’ve completed each challenge!

31 Day Abs Challenge: Week 3 Plan & Notes

Good morning!  I can’t believe we’re heading into mid-January already this week.  I am so happy to hear about all the people who have kept up with my abs challenge.   If you are doing it, make sure to check in after you complete each challenge on either the blog or my Facebook page so you get entered into my contest!  The more times you check in, the more entries you will have.  Also, if you are feeling your motivation start to wane this week, take a step back and remind yourself about why you wanted to participate in the first place.  Don’t forget that each challenge, with the exception of the Sunday Circuits, takes less than five minutes out of your day.  Considering that your day has 1440 minutes in it, 5 is really not too much.

January 2013 31 Day Ab Challenge

Here’s what’s in store for this week!  I know this is a long and detailed post, but it’s not meant to overwhelm.  Just here to help and for you to refer back to for the moves later in the week.

Sunday 1/13:  Sunday Circuit

Since yesterday’s core strength tip focused on improving balance, this week’s Sunday Circuit incorporates exercises that will help you work on balance in some way.

31 Day Abs Challenge Sunday Circuit Week 3


1.  Balancing with eyes closed:  Self explanatory.

2.  Unilateral overhead press with one knee raised:  Keeping palms front, hold a dumbbell (or water bottle if you have no weights) out to the side, keeping your elbow in line with the shoulder.  Press up overhead, then return to start position.  That’s 1 rep.  Work all reps on the right first, then switch to all reps on the left.

Unilateral overhead press

(Don’t my parents have a hip tv?)

3.  One leg touchdown squat:  Balancing on one leg, bend down to touch the ground.  Then keeping yourself steady, come back up and reach your arms overhead.  That’s one rep.

One leg touchdown squat

4.  One arm dumbbell row in staggered stance:  Standing with one foot in front of the other, bend the knees slightly and lean slightly forward.  Start with a dumbbell (or water bottle) in one hand, palms in, arm extending.  Pull your arm back so the elbow is back, then return to starting position.  That’s one rep.

one arm db row in staggered stance

(My mom got embarrassed that the TV was in the background and made me switch here.  Now you get the fireplace.)

5.  Wide stance plank, with opposite arm & leg lift:  Bring yourself to a straight-arm plank, then lift your left arm and right leg at the same time.  Hold three seconds then return to the straight-arm plank.  That’s one rep.

Wide stance plank with opposite arm and leg lift

6.  Yoga tree pose:  Bring your weight onto one foot.  Bend the other leg and then place the sole of the foot on the inside of your other thigh.  Press the foot into the thigh (more advanced) or into the area between your ankle and knee (beginner) as you reach up.  Do not press into the knee.  Raise your arms above your head once you have your balance, palms pressed together.

Yoga Tree Pose

Monday 1/14:  Morning Ab Burner

Get yourself energized for the day and the week ahead with another Monday Morning Ab Burner!

Monday Morning Ab Burner Week 3

Notes1.  Jump Rope:  Can be done in place with a real jump rope or mocking the movement
2.  Pushups:  Do 30 seconds of your favorite kind (modify on wall or knees, intermediate on feet, advanced with feet stacked or other variation)
3.  Straight leg crunches:  Lying on back, raise legs so they are straight above the hips.  As you crunch, lift your upper back off the ground and reach toward your feet.

Raised leg crunch4.  Arm pulses with raised knees:  Lying with feet flat on floor, raise your knees so they are directly above your hips.  Lift your upper back off the ground and keep arms extended out by sides, palms down.  Do quick little pulses.  The motion should be fast as if you are pressing something imaginary to the floor, but you never actually touch the floor.

Pilates Pulse


Tuesday 1/15:  Plank for Time

Hold an elbow plank for as long as you can, trying to beat last week’s time!  It helps if you set a goal for yourself.  For example, my plank goal is to get to 5 minutes by the end of the challenge.  This week I was able to get to 4:30, this week I am shooting for 4:45 and so forth.  Once you have that goal in mind, it’s easier to plank with intention than well, just plank.


Wednesday 1/16:  Obliques Before Bed

Wednesday Bedtime Moves for Obliques

1.  Windmills:  Stand with feet hip width apart.  Turn one foot so the toes are facing the side, but keep the toes on the other foot facing front.  If you have a dumbbell or water bottle, hold in the hand that’s on the same side as the foot with the toes facing out.  Put your other arm straight in the air.  Lean down until you feel a stretch in your side, then return to starting position.  That’s one rep.


2.  Side Planks:  Place your hand on the floor directly beneath your shoulder.  Keeping your arm straight, lift the hips and balance on your hand and feet.  For a modified version, lower the knee of your bottom leg to the ground.

Side Planks

3.  Russian Twists:  Sitting on the ground, put your feet out in front of you and bend the knees slightly.  Lift your feet off the ground (you can keep heels on the ground for modified version), hold a dumbbell or water bottle out in front of your chest, and twist side to side.  Make sure to look over your shoulder as you twist.



Thursday 1/17:  Tabata Thursday

Week 3 Tabata Thursday

1.  Burpees:  Here’s the link if you don’t already know how to do them.
2.  Straight arm plank with alternating knees to chest:  Hold yourself in a plank with straight arms.  Bring your right knee into your chest, then place it back down.  Do the same with your left knee.  Continue.  Note, this is not supposed to be done fast like a mountain climber.  Keep it controlled.

Straight Arm Plank with Alternating Knee Tucks

Friday 1/18:  Focus on Glutes

For the past two Fridays we’ve focused on muscles besides the abs that make up our cores.  This Friday we are going to focus on our bums glutes, which can often be weak if not trained properly.  Our glutes are responsible for holding the pelvis steady, they extend the hip, move us forward, and keep the legs aligned with the pelvis and torso.  When I suffered from my hip injury, it was because of imbalanced glute muscles.  That being said, for Friday’s ab challenge I’m going to have you do two of my favorite glute exercises.

31 Day Abs Challenge:  Focus On Glutes

1. Weighted bridges:  With feet flat on the floor, raise hips so you are in a bridge position.  If you have a dumbbell, place it right beneath the belly button.  If not, keep palms on the floor by your sides.  Hold for 5 seconds, then return to starting position.  That’s 1 rep.

Weighted Bridge

2.  Single leg bridges:  Start with one foot flat on the floor and one leg raised straight above the hips.  This time as you raise the hips, drop the leg in the air down so it is line with the other knee.  When you drop the hips, the leg comes back up.  That’s 1 rep.  Dumbbell optional depending on fitness level.

Single Leg Bridges

Single Leg Bridges


Saturday 1/19:  Rest & Read

Stay tuned for my third core strength tip, and rest up those abs for week #4.


Good luck this week!  Let me know if you guys have questions on anything.  Enjoy your Sunday!