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!