You’re not going to magically get a six-pack in a week’s time — but you can kick-start your journey toward building a stronger core. Strengthening your abdominals is something NASM-certified personal trainer Stef Corgel, CSCS, from Tone It Up wants to help you with, which is why she created a seven-day ab challenge just for POPSUGAR.
7-Day Ab Challenge
Equipment needed: one dumbbell (Corgel suggested eight pounds maximum for beginners, up to 12 pounds for people who are at an intermediate level, and 10 pounds minimum for those who are advanced).
Directions: Start each day’s workout with a dynamic warmup. For the workout itself, perform all six weighted exercises listed below three times through for the designated amount of reps. Rest for 30 to 45 seconds between rounds. With each round, you’ll decrease by two total reps for each move, and each new day will begin with two more reps than the previous day.
Here’s a brief breakdown: Day one starts with 10 reps of each exercise, then eight, and six. On day two, you’ll do 12 reps for round one, 10 reps for round two, and eight reps for round three. On day three you’ll start with 14 reps. Corgel told POPSUGAR that she structured the challenge this way “to focus on good form while the abs reach fatigue.” This also gives people an option to increase their weight if they want since they’ll be doing fewer reps with each passing round.
For the unilateral exercises, the rep count applies to each side (10 reps of dumbbell side planks with oblique twists on the right and 10 on the left, for example). Cool down after your workout.
- Dumbbell plank pass through
- Dumbbell roll-up
- Dumbbell toe touch
- Dumbbell rock the boat
- Dumbbell side plank with oblique twist
- Dumbbell side plank with hip dip
|Day||Round 1 Reps||Round 2 Reps||Round 3 Reps|
|Day 1||10 reps||8 reps||6 reps|
|Day 2||12 reps||10 reps||8 reps|
|Day 3||14 reps||12 reps||10 reps|
|Day 4||16 reps||14 reps||12 reps|
|Day 5||18 reps||16 reps||14 reps|
|Day 6||20 reps||18 reps||16 reps|
|Day 7||22 reps||20 reps||18 reps|
If you need to modify this schedule, you can do the challenge with rest days in between each day, but Corgel recommended trying to complete the first four days consecutively and doing the remainder with rest days every other day due to the increased reps. Additionally, if the weight seems to be too much, you can try some of the moves as bodyweight exercises, she suggested.
“With this daily progression of six exercises, you’ll feel the burn in your obliques, rectus abdominis, and transverse abdominis,” Corgel said. “By slowly increasing reps every session, the abdominal muscles learn to withstand the time under tension.”
Keep reading for specific instructions on how to do each of the six exercises.
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