21-Day Abs Challenge: Day 13

This expert-backed abs challenge will help you become a stronger, more efficient runner.


Danielle Zickl and Gifs by Julia Hembree Smith |

21 days of lockdown awaits us all! We may as well just embrace it and come out stronger runners! Day 13 of our 21-day abs challenge is ready and waiting for you…

By now you probably know that runners need strong cores to maintain efficient running form and posture. But you might not realise that those muscles around your middle are one of the first parts to fire up when you start running.

“Your core is your power center, the home base of your body,” says Lindsey Clayton, RRCA run coach and instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp in New York City. “Having a strong core stabilises your body as you run, and adds power to your arms and legs to drive your body forward.”

To give you some extra motivation for building your core, we put together this 21-day ab challenge with the goal of boosting your overall strength so you can head into winter training with more speed and efficiency than before.

But before you start, Clayton has some words of advice: You don’t have to power through each move or do them as fast as humanly possible. Instead, take your time and breathe through them, fully inhaling and exhaling through each rep. Performing each move with control will help you reap the most rewards.

core ab challenge
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How to do this challenge:

Each workout listed below is its own circuit. Do Workout 1 on day one, Workout 2 on day two, Workout 3 on day three, so on and so forth. Once you finish Workout 6 on day six, start back at the beginning. Cycle through Workouts 1 through 6 every day for 21 days straight.

Clayton recommends performing each exercise for 50 seconds with a 10-second rest in between each round. For the first 15 days, aim to complete 2 to 3 rounds, and work up to completing 3 to 4 rounds for the last 15 days. As always, check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program and stop at any point if something feels off.

Workout 7

Plank March

Start in a high plank position, with your arms straight, your wrists over shoulders, and your body forming a straight line from your head to your ankles. Bend your right elbow to your lower right forearm to the floor. Lower your left forearm to the floor. Extend your right arm, then your left arm back to starting position. Continue to repeat, alternating which arm you start with each time, for a total of 50 seconds.

Jackknife With Stability Ball

Start in a high plank position with your shoulders over your wrists, but instead of placing your feet on the floor, rest your shins on a stability ball. Engage core to pull the stability ball toward your chest and lift your hips up as you roll the ball forward to your feet. Return to starting position and repeat for a total time of 50 seconds.

Russian Twist

Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet off the floor. Lean back so that your torso and upper body are at a 45-degree angle. With your elbows bent and your hands together, rotate your torso from one side to the other for a total time of 50 seconds.

Leg Lift

Lie on the ground face up, legs straight, and hands under your glutes for support. Lift your legs up towards the ceiling, keeping your legs straight and your back flat against the ground. Slowly lower your legs back down until they’re about 3cm off the ground. Repeat lifting and lowering your legs for a total time of 50 seconds.

Bicycle Crunch With Extension

Lie on the ground face up with both hands behind your head, elbows wide, and legs in tabletop position with knees over hips. Peel your right shoulder off the ground to bring your right elbow toward your left knee, as you extend your right leg straight out. At the same time that you extend your right leg straight out, kick your left leg straight up in the air. Reverse to draw left elbow to right knee as you extend left leg straight and right leg up. Continue alternating for a total time of 50 seconds.

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