30 Day Ab Challenge with PDF

Simple Yet Effective Method to Sculpt Your Midsection Fast

Welcome to the Ultimate 30 Day Ab Challenge! This is a well-rounded fitness program combining targeted exercises with dietary guidelines.

It is designed to be accessible, requiring minimal equipment, and emphasizes the importance of realistic goals and sustainable lifestyle changes.

The program is suitable for individuals looking to enhance their abdominal definition while also improving overall fitness and dietary habits.

Jump to the challenge now!

Alternatively, you can download the free PDF version of the routine using the link below:

The 30 Day Ab Challenge In a Nutshell

Program styleAb training
Workout duration30 mins – 1 hour
Program duration30 days
GoalDevelop abdominals
LevelBeginners to advanced
Target GenderMale and Female

Can You Get Abs in a Month?

Mike abs in Boracay

Is it possible to develop a washboard in just 30 days?

Yes it is.

But first…

They must first be uncovered, and I don’t mean by disrobing.

So here’s the disclaimer:

From a standing position, if you can pinch more than 1” (2.5cm), then the bet is off. No ab routine–no matter how expert a liar its author is–will develop abs visible through a thick layer of belly fat.

There’s work to do simultaneously in the kitchen. Maybe better yet, stay out of the kitchen.

To help carve away the surplus adipose tissue, a Food Guidelines section’s been included with the Ab Challenge exercise list.

Still, go ahead and get working on developing the underlying muscle to be prepared for the unveiling.

What To Expect

You can expect to spend 20 minutes or less each day for a month performing 3 staple mid-section exercises:

  • Crunches
  • Sit-ups
  • Sit-ups with a Twist

That’s it.

Expect the routine to start pretty easy and get a bit more challenging each day.

At 2-week intervals, you’ll add a 1 second pause hold at the top of each crunch, forcing you to squeeze the abs between reps. A pause assures control of the exercise.

None of the exercises should be performed rapid-fire. This is NOT a time challenge.

You should probably expect to alter your diet. The Food Guidelines are practical and simple, easy to implement, like drinking a glass of water 10 minutes prior to each meal.

Expect to be able to do this program anywhere: home, hotel, gym. All you need is a flat surface. You can use an angled sit-up board if you like and want the added challenge; not mandatory.

About the Abs

When we say “abs” we mean the rectus abdominis muscles, aka 6-pack or whatever quantity pack God gave you.

Diagram of upper body highlighting abs

The rectus abdominis is one sheet of muscle that is segmented along its length both horizontally and vertically.

The division down its center is called the linea alba. The individual segments of the abs are separated by tendinous intersections, which demarcate each “ab”.

A person is born with as many of these tendinous intersections as they’ll ever have. Some people have 6, some even have 10, and some have 4… like Arnold Schwarzenegger, who won Mr. Olympus 7 consecutive times with a 4-pack.

You could do 10,000,000 ab exercises and not develop another set of abs. Not humanly possible.

The rectus abdominis’ role in life is to move your upper body closer to your hips and legs. That’s it.

Other Abdominal Muscles We Care About

A well-defined washboard looks good. Add a set of chiseled external obliques…now there’s a physique.

Diagram of upper body highlighting obliques

The external obliques are the narrow muscles that run diagonally on either side of the “abs”. There are internal obliques too, and they’re important. They lie underneath the externals.)

When the external obliques are developed and exposed on a lean person, they add that next dimension to the body’s aesthetic.

The external and internal obliques are responsible for lateral flexion and rotation of the trunk. The routine included here includes two exercises that target the obliques.

The transverse abdominis (TA) is very important for strength, physical health, and posture.You can’t see it; it’s a sheet of muscle that lies underneath the other abdominal muscles and acts like a girdle around the abdomen. Every exercise in our challenge works the TA.

I thought about adding abdominal vacuums to the routine, but they’re hard to describe and really need in-person coaching to learn well. But they are magnificent for the TA and for creating a compact mid-section.

Specifics of the Exercises


Mike doing crunches

Crunches isolate the abs better than pretty much any other core exercise. A crunch is a simple exercise. Flex the rib cage toward the pelvis. That’s it. And that’s all the abs do.

Abs DO NOT move the legs. A muscle physically cannot move a bone to which it is not physically attached. The abs are able to tilt the lower edge of the pelvis toward the upper body, but not the legs.

Crunches are the single most important exercise for a 6-pack. Do them with or without a slant board.

By contracting the abdominals and crunching the rib cage toward the hips, you’re strongly working the abs. Squeeze at the top of the motion for extra effect.

Side Bends

Mike doing side bends

Side Bends work internal and external obliques due to their lateral flexion demands.

Perform this exercise with resistance. On the non-working side, use a dumbbell or a cable machine. The “away” side of the body does the work.

Perform the exercise slowly, concentrating strongly on the eccentric and concentric portions of the motion. Over and back slow and under control.

Side Bends have the reputation of being one of the most butchered exercises and for good reason. Weight should be used on one side only, not both. The obliques doing the work are the ones opposite the weight.

How to butcher this exercise:

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and rock side-to-side.

Yeah. Don’t do that.

Sit-ups with a Twist

MIke doing situps with a twist

Sit-ups with a Twist require strong contribution from the rectus abdominis, just like crunches, but they heavily involve the internal and external obliques.

The external obliques are the ones most care about because they’re visible in the absence of superficial body fat.

The internal obliques cooperate with the external obliques but they lie deep to the externals, therefore invisible.

Dietary Guidelines

Abs are more about the fridge and the kitchen than they are the gym.

Truth is: if you’re lean enough, the abs you have now will show and probably be pretty impressive.

In fact…

Some of the foremost bodybuilding writers today do NO ab work at all. None. Zero sets of zero reps.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.


You ABsolutely cannot crunch your way into ab-dom if you’ve got fat to lose. Ain’t happenin’.

I’ve included a few simple, practical guidelines that anyone can follow that will help you peel off surplus fat if you’ve got it.

Those who are seriously overweight will need to implement further sustainable measures, not a fad diet or intermittent fasting or any of that.

There are things you can do as routine that will peel off the pounds. It will take a while… about as fast as it was getting fat in the first place.

So if it takes a person 3 years to gain a bunch of weight, it’s going to take about that long to take it off in a sustainable, long-term way.

Anything else is marketing hype.

There are some good lifestyle change diets available. I know of one.

If a lifestyle diet sounds interesting, you can do no better than Scott Abel’s Cycle Diet. His Cycle Diet is not really a diet; it’s a method of eating you can follow forever and it works great for almost anyone. (I’m not a paid endorser).

The 12 tips are all simple, sustainable, and easy to implement now.

  • Drink one 8 oz glass of water 10 minutes before each meal
  • Drink 8 total 8 oz glasses of water daily
  • At least 4 full servings of colorful fruits or vegetables daily (brown is not a color here)
  • Zero-calorie beverages only (including sports drinks)
  • No alcohol
  • Learn to read a food label
  • Avoid added sugars (food labels specify added sugar). Natural sugar in whole fruit is fine.
  • Limit processed food products (If it was a plant or ate a plant, fine. If made in a plant, no.)
  • Limit foods made from flour (bread, pasta, pizza, tortillas, chips)
  • Do not eat if not hungry.
  • Learn to love being a little bit hungry. Not hangry. Maintain an edge.
  • Adjust portion size downward if overweight.

Related: Try our 7-Day Keto Diet Plan

The 30 Day Ab Challenge

This 30-Day Ab Challenge features the 3 ab exercises that isolate and strongly challenge the muscles that matter when the shirt comes off.

  • Crunches
  • Sit-ups with a Twist (right elbow-left knee, left elbow-right knee)
  • Side Bends

Only Side Bends require a weight, although you can add resistance to crunches and sit-ups if you like and if you’ve mastered the form using bodyweight alone.

You’ll progress in 5-day increments, adding reps and weight if indicated, along the way.

Here is the 30 Day Ab Challenge:

DayCrunchesSit-ups w/ twistSide bends
1-52 sets of 201 set of 10
(5 each side)
2 sets of 15
6-102 sets of 20 with
a pause at top
1 set of 12
(6 each side)
2 sets of 15
11-152 sets of 301 set of 14
(7 each side)
2 sets of 15
add weight
16-202 sets of 30 with
a pause at top
1 set of 16
(8 each side)
2 sets of 15
add weight
21-252 sets of 401 set of 18
(9 each side)
2 sets of 15
add weight
26-302 sets of 40 with
a pause at top
1 set of 20
(10 each side)
2 sets of 15
add weight

Challenge Guidelines

You can accept our 30-day Ab challenge by doing it all on its own. Or, you can insert it into a workout routine you’re already doing today.

I recommend doing it as your only ab work so that, once you’re done, you can evaluate this routine on its own with no added variables.

It should be the only ab work you need.

If you are already following a resistance workout program, I recommend putting this program at the end of each workout. This workout stabilizes the muscles of the trunk. It’s best that you not tire those in advance of other work that needs the core fresh to prevent injury, such as deadlifting or squatting.

1. Focus on Rep Cadence

Man doing crunches

Perform each rep intentionally. Do not perform these exercises for speed. You’re looking for solid, quality reps each and every time.

Work toward a smooth rhythm. No jerking.

Think about squeezing the muscles.

2. What to Do with your Hands

Lady doing situps

Touch your fingers just behind your ears for crunches and sit-ups with a twist. Avoid the Prisoner’s Grip with interlocking fingers behind the head.

Prisoner’s Grip hand position invites pulling the head forward as the set gets challenging, unnecessarily stressing the cervical spine.

Download our 30 Day Ab Challenge PDF below:

Please Reply back in Comments with questions, and let us know about your results!!

I write custom programs for busy people. Reply in Comments or simply contact us with a valid contact, and I’ll get back in touch with specifics.

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Mike Julom, ACE CPT

Mike is an ACE Certified PT and a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. He is an avid lover of all sports. Basketball, tennis, athletics, volleyball, soccer, squash, golf, table tennis, even darts, you name it! He's a very active CrossFit athlete and has been WOD'ing for over 7 years. With such an intense fitness regime, Mike has learned to take care of his body physically, nutritionally, and spiritually. Mike founded ThisIsWhyImFit as a way to share his vast knowledge of exercises, diets, and general fitness advice.

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