30 Day Ab Challenge for Runners – 12 Minute Workout
An essential but often overlooked group of muscles to strengthen is the core. A strong core has lots of benefits regardless of your overall health and fitness goals. Completing regular core exercises for runners will translate to improved running posture and running speed. Our 30 Day Ab Challenge is perfect for any individual looking to gain core strength and strive for that 6-pack of abs!
Your core is what connects your limbs. Moving your arm or leg requires at least some use of your core; there is no way around it. So, it only makes sense if we want to develop strength or efficiency somewhere else in our bodies, then we need to start with our core muscles first. Core muscles can include everything from your shoulders down through your butt.
While our 30 Day Ab Challenge focuses primarily on the abs, in completing this daily routine, you will notice increased strength in your shoulders, back, and legs as well.
After consistently completing these core exercises for runners, you will notice improved posture and stability while running. The results will be less fatigue toward the end of a run and a reduced risk for injury from running. This 12-Minute Ab Workout is the perfect 30 Day Ab Challenge for Runners looking to improve strength and running efficiency.
How does this ab challenge work?
Our 30 Day Ab Challenge for Runners is reasonably easy to add to your daily running or workout routine. We are going to give you six (6) core exercises. Try to complete each move twice to add up to a 12-minute workout. You can do more than that if you have time, but for a quick and effective training session, complete at least two rounds.
A quick 12-minute ab workout is easy to add to the end of a run, complete before or after work, or fit into your lunch break. What’s great is it does not require a full-blown workout to build a stronger core!
Who Should Try this 30 Day Ab Challenge?
These core exercises for runners are best for someone who either is:
- Looking for a quick workout because you dislike training,
- Needing to save time, but wanting to put in some work to get stronger,
- Been dealing with fatigue from poor running form or overuse injuries,
- Or trying to look better at the beach or pool this summer!
Anyone can complete our 30 Day Ab Challenge! We will show you how to break up the exercises to make it possible! The most crucial factor is to start working out and stick with it! With any training routine, you need to work at your own pace. With focus and consistency, you will make your way up to the 12-minutes throughout the month.
Will a 30 Day Ab Challenge Work?
Yes! Stick with the Ab Challenge for 30 straight days, and you will without a doubt notice a stronger core. For some runners, 12-minutes may not seem like a lot of time to dedicate to a strength workout, but it is all about consistency and repetition.
We recommend keeping track of your total complete repetitions for each exercise and full workout time. Keeping track of your workouts will not only help you to notice your progress, but it will also help keep you motivated and pushing yourself to work hard.
After completing this 30 Day Ab Challenge, keep going! Don’t limit yourself by following back into the routine of not completing strength work. You can always mix in other exercises to change up the workout and add to the challenge.
What Equipment Do I Need?
No equipment is needed to complete this 30 Day Ab Challenge. You can complete the daily workout at home, at work, in the park, or even while traveling. We do recommend at least having a good pair of shoes. A yoga mat is optional, which can help if you need extra padding while completing the exercises on a hard surface.
30-Day Ab Challenge
Complete the six (6) exercises highlighted below for 1-minute (60-seconds) each, then repeat. If you are having trouble keeping track of the time, many sport-watches and smartphones can set repeatable/interval timers.
If you need to take 10-20 seconds of rest between each exercise at the beginning of this 30 Day Ab Challenge, that is fine. As you get more familiar with the routine and become stronger, try to reduce the recovery time between exercises.
If you feel that you reach a point where you are not progressing any longer, try the following:
- Add in an extra round(s) of exercises.
- Change up the order you complete the activities.
- Mix in some variations of each exercise—for example, sit-ups with a twist to each side at the top.
- Lay with your back on the floor, and your knees bent to a 90-degree angle.
- With your hands crossed over your chest, bring your chest to your knees.
- Try to move from the hips, keeping your spine straight.
Sit-ups are the darling of the core workout world – and part of the reason is their versatility. A sit-up can be modified to fit any injuries you’re dealing with or enhance your personal goals. Make them easier on your lower back by changing to crunches, or make them more challenging by keeping your feet an inch or two off the floor.
Sit-ups will target your overall core muscles by hitting your prominent “6-pack” ab muscles the most, as well as your stabilizing muscles in your back and legs.
- Lay face down on the ground.
- Raise yourself so you’re resting on your forearms and your toes.
- Your elbows should be directly below your shoulders.
- Your head should remain in a relaxed position and your eyes looking at the ground.
- Engage your abs by drawing your navel toward your spine.
- Make sure your hips are not falling toward the ground or hiked up toward the sky. Keep your spine in a neutral position.
Planks are one of the best ways to make sure you’re strengthening every stabilizing muscle in your body, and they’re super versatile. Play with stability by lifting an arm or leg. Or, rotate your hips in a semicircle toward the ground to focus on your obliques. Planking is a great way to increase stability for runners.
3. Lying Side Leg Raises
- Lay on the ground on your right side. Your body should be in a straight line with your legs extended and feet stacked on top of each other.
- Bend your right arm and rest your head in your hand for support.
- Place your left hand in front of you, or rest it on your left hip.
- Raise and lower your left leg off the lower leg. Stop raising your leg when you feel the muscles flex in your lower back or obliques.
Perform side leg raises to build strength in your outer thighs and the hip abductors, including the gluteus medius and minimus. This simple yet powerful exercise will increase the range of motion in your hips, improve overall stability, activate muscles that help your knees track correctly, and improve muscular endurance.
4. Slow Bicycles
- Lay on your back on the ground with your legs bent at 90-degree angles
- Place your fingertips to your temples. Do not grab your neck or pull on the back of your head.
- Lift your shoulders slightly off the ground and bring your right knee up toward your chest.
- Rotate your core and bring your left elbow toward your right knee.
- Your left leg should remain straight, and your toes pointed.
- Slowly switch legs and elbows as if you are pedaling a bicycle.
This exercise combines a challenge to your stability by introducing constant movement. Make it more complex by adding a pulse or a two-second hold at the full extension of the action, or make it a little easier by resting your feet back on the ground between movements.
Bicycles are fantastic for runners because it not only builds up your core muscles, but it also focuses on the same muscles you use to power your runs. The movement mimics the counteracting muscles that stabilize you during runs.
5. High Knees
- Stand straight up with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands relaxed down at your sides.
- Raise your left knee toward your chest.
- Quickly switch to bring your right knee toward your chest.
- Continue with alternating legs as if you are running in place.
- Try not to lean too far forward. Keep your chest up and shoulders back.
- Engage your abdominal muscles, and make sure to use your arms.
High knees will get your heart rate up and improve your aerobic capacity. You can do this one at varying speeds (slow or fast) to change the focus. Slow high knees will force you to work more on stability and improve running posture. In comparison, more rapid high knees will give you a higher aerobic workout and improve your running cadence.
6. Bird Dog
- Get into a tabletop position on the ground. Ensure your shoulders are over the top of your hands and your hips are over the top of your knees.
- Lift the right hand off the ground and extend your right arm straight in front and extend the left leg behind you. Maintain your balance on the other hand and knee.
- Bring your right arm and left hand back to the ground.
- Perform the same movement with the left arm and right leg.
The bird dog exercise is another exercise that will work a lot of muscles that are important to runners. You will feel this one in your lower back, glutes, and abdominals. If you’ve been working on improving your running posture, the bird dog is the exercise you should do more often.
Aim for 12 minutes per day for this 30 Day Ab Challenge.
Continue alternating through these exercises for as long as you can. Again, 12 minutes will be two rounds but do as many as you want each day. We’ve created a Free 30-Day Ab Tracker for our Sunrise Running Company Subscribers so you can record your time on each exercise for each day of the challenge.
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