21-Day Abs Challenge: Day 20

This expert-backed routine 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 20 is here, get moving…

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 centre, 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.

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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 20

Plank With Reach Through: Left Side

Start in a side plank with your left forearm on the floor, your elbow under your shoulder, your feet stacked, and your hips lifted so your body forms one long, straight line. Stretch your right arm up to the ceiling. This is your starting position. Draw your right hand down and reach it below your left underarm as you curl your upper body forward so your shoulders are parallel to the floor. Return to starting position. Repeat for a total time of 50 seconds.

Hollow Hold to V-Sit

Start lying faceup on the ground. Lift your head, shoulder blades, and feet off floor as you extend your arms straight out. Your neck should be relaxed, not strained. This is your hollow hold. Next, engage your abs to lift your chest towards your legs as you bend knees so that body forms a V shape and your shins are parallel to the floor. Slowly lower back down to a hollow hold position and repeat for a total of 50 seconds.

Plank With Reach Through: Right Side

Start in a side plank with your right forearm on the floor, your elbow under your shoulder, your feet stacked, and your hips lifted so your body forms one long, straight line. Stretch your left arm up to the ceiling. This is your starting position. Draw your right hand down and reach it below your right underarm as you curl your upper body forward so your shoulders are parallel to the floor. Return to starting position. Repeat for a total time of 50 seconds.

Hollow Hold to V-Sit

Start lying faceup on the ground. Lift your head, shoulder blades, and feet off floor as you extend your arms straight out. Your neck should be relaxed, not strained. This is your hollow hold. Next, engage your abs to lift your chest towards your legs as you bend knees so that body forms a V shape and your shins are parallel to the floor. Slowly lower back down to a hollow hold position and repeat for a total 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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