30-Day Post Vacation Butt & Ab Challenge

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As the summer is coming to close and everyone is tan from vacation it’s also pretty likely that we have all been a little lax on our workout routine. But not to worry, we’ve put together a quick ab and butt challenge that will help strengthen your body back to it’s pre July-4th BBQ condition. Focusing on toning your obliques and building strength in your glutes, these next few weeks will be a one-way ticket to hitting fall now both tanned and toned. 

30-Day Ab &Butt Challenge

Do each exercise for ten reps and for two sets with about 10-30 second break between sets. Repeat all 7 days over four weeks for the ultimate ab and butt 30-day challenge. 

Ab Exercises 


[Source: Refinery 29]

Plank is one of the best exercises you can do to build core strength as well as slim your waistline. Since it doesn’t require any equipment, you can perform it anywhere. The plank also engages your arms, back, shoulders and glutes, working your full-body in just one exercise.

Tip: If you’re a beginner, begin with the kneeling plank until you build enough core strength to perform the basic plank.

How To

  1. Lie face down, legs straight out behind you, knees and feet together. Bend your elbows with your forearms facing each other. Support your weight on your forearms
  2. Contract your abdominals and prop your body off the yoga mat, forming a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold it for about 1 minute and that counts as a whole rep

Side Plank 

[Source: Women’s Health]

Side plank exercise targets and works the obliques (AKA love handles or muffin tops). This exercise strengthens and tones your obliques and abs as well as the lower back muscles that support your spine. Side plank also improves your core strength. That means you’ll have a more stable back that is less prone to lower back injuries too.

Tip: Just like a regular plank you can modify this movement by lowering your knees to the mat. 

How To

  1. Lie down on your right side with your legs straight out. Prop your upper body up on your right elbow and forearm
  2. Contract your abs to raise your hips off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to the shoulders. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then switch and repeat on your left side, this is considered one rep


[Source: Very Well Fit]

V crunches help to strengthen and tone the muscles in your abdomen by engaging your six-pack muscles, rectus abdominis, obliques, and the lower abs. Because it’s a bodyweight exercise, you can do it anywhere without needing any equipment. 

How To

  1. Lie face-up flat on your back with your legs and arms straight
  2. With your arms straight above the top of your head, contract your abs. In one movement, simultaneously lift your torso and legs and attempt to touch your toes with your hands
  3. Pause for 1-2 seconds and then lower your body back down to the starting position that is considered one rep

Bicycle Crunch

[Source: Women’s Health]

Bicycle crunch effectively targets and works your rectus abdominis and obliques all at once.

How To

  1. Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Put your hands behind your head, without locking your fingers. Bring your knees in towards your chest and lift your shoulder blades off the ground.
  2. Straighten your right leg out to about a 45-degree angle to the ground while turning your upper body to the left, bringing your right elbow towards the left knee. Make sure your rib cage is moving and not just your elbows.
  3. Now switch sides and do the same motion on the other side to complete one rep.

High Plank Walk

[Source: Nourish Move Love]

This one can be a killer! This slowly cranks up the stress on your abs and is more difficult to hold than a standard plank.

How To

  1. Begin standing at the foot of your mat and slowly walk your hands forward, one at a time moving into high plank position.
  2. Get your hands as far forward as you can without losing your neutral back position.
  3. Hold for 2-3 seconds before walking your hands slowly back to standing. This is one rep.

Standing Dumbbell Oblique Crunches 

[Source: The Globe And Mail]

A fun oblique exercise you can do using the dumbbell is an oblique crunch. This may be a small movement, but it will really work your lats, obliques, glutes and even your grip a bit! And if you don’t have a dumbbell, you can also do this holding a kettlebell or plate weight!

How To

  1. Stand up straight while holding a dumbbell on the left hand (palms facing the torso) as you have the right hand holding your waist. Your feet should be placed at shoulder width. This will be your starting position.
  2. While keeping your back straight and your head up, bend only at the waist to the right as far as possible. Breathe in as you bend to the side. Then hold for a second and come back up to the starting position as you exhale. Tip: Keep the rest of the body stationary.
  3. Now repeat the movement but bending to the left instead. Hold for a second and come back to the starting position, this is one rep. 

Mountain Climbers

[Source: Julie Lohre’s FitBody]

Mountain Climbers are one of those exercises that look easy at first. Like any core exercise, it can become difficult quick. In addition to core building, Mountain Climbers provide strength and agility. As you get stronger, you can start performing this exercise faster and faster.

How To

  1. Begin in a high plank position with your feet about hip-width apart. Tip: make sure your wrists are directly below your shoulders in plank.
  2. Jump one foot to the top of your mat while remaining in high plank, then jump to switch your opposite foot to the top of the mat. This is considered one rep. 

Butt Exercises 

Glute Bridge 

[Source: Women’s Health]

The glute bridge is an isolation exercise that targets (no surprise here) the glutes and also your hamstrings, as well.

How To

  1. Lie on your mat with your back flat to the floor, bend your knees and make your feet flat on the ground. To add stability, take your arms to either side and flatten them by putting the palms down on your mat. 
  2. Form a straight line with your hips, shoulders, and knees by pushing off your hips of the ground in an upward motion. Squeeze your glutes and keep your abs drawn in so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise.
  3. Hold yourself in the same position for 3-5 seconds and then ease down. This is one rep. 

Side Lunge 

[Source: Women’s Health]

In comparison to the basic forward lunges, lateral lunges make you lunge towards the side and not towards the front. This is a great exercise to target your gluteus minimus, a muscle that is always trained with regular exercise. 

How To

  1. Begin the exercise by standing straight with your feet about shoulders width apart. You can also rest hands on your waist if comfortable. 
  2. Take a wide step to the side and lower the bend in your knee, put the maximum weight on your leading heel.
  3. Continue to deepen your bend until your knee is parallel to the floor. Tip: make sure to keep your toes straight and pointing forward throughout the exercise.
  4. Repeat the whole instructions with the other leg. This is counted as one rep.

Squat Jump 

[Source: Nourish Move Love]

While regular squats are great, squat jumps offer a new take on the traditional — one that you’re definitely going to feel in your quads.

How To

  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Lower your hips down and bend your knees like you are doing a normal squat.
  3. With most of your power coming from the drive-in your heels jump while keeping your core tight. Now jump while keeping your core tight. 
  4. Land as softly as possible then go down with control into the normal squat position. This is counted as one rep.

Plie Squat 

[Source: Lauren Gleisberg]

More graceful than a typical squat, the ‘wide second position’ is derived from a ballet exercise and will hammer those tough-to-reach inner-thigh muscles while simultaneously defining the entire leg muscles. 

How To

  1. You have to start in a way that the distance between your feet is greater than that between your shoulders. The toes must turn around a 45-degree angle.
  2. The first thing after this is the bending off of knees and lowering off the torso whole making sure that your back is straight and abs are pulled in tighter.
  3. Finally, squeeze the glutes and return back to the position from where you started. Repeat.

Wall Sit 

[Source: Coach Mag]

The wall sit may be considered one of the most overlooked exercises among regular gym-goers. The movement seeks to improve endurance, flexibility, mobility, and overall core strength. No fancy equipment is needed to perform this exercise, you simply need a steady wall and a bit of determination. You can do wall sits at any time and practically at any location.

How To

  1. Stand against a wall with your arms at your sides and your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keep your feet about 20 inches out from the wall and lean against the surface keeping your back straight.
  3. Now bend your knees and slide your back down the wall until you’re in a sitting position
  4. Stay in that position for 30 seconds to 1 minute. 
  5. When you’re done, slide back up. This considered being an entire set. 

Donkey Kicks

[Source: Workout Box]

Donkey Kicks are a great exercise to help switch up regular glute movements. This move will work both your butt and your lower back — plus all you need is a floor!

  1. Start on all fours with one leg extended long on the mat.
  2. Squeeze glutes and hamstrings and lift one leg up upwards. Tip: remember to keep your abs tight and keep your back straight!
  3. Lift your leg until you reach above your hip height. 
  4. Slowly lower leg back down and repeat on the other side. This counts as one rep. 

Forward Lunge

[Source: Happier Thank Skinny]

Lunges can help you develop lower-body strength and endurance, and unlike squats, they are highly effective at evening out muscle imbalances.

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and remember to actively engage your core. 
  2. Take a large step forward with one leg and lower your hips until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Tip: make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle and that your other knee is not touching the floor!
  3. Now push back to starting position and as you do so, keep the weight in your heels. Repeat on the other leg and that counts as one rep. 
Download Our FREE
Spartan Race Training Plan
Our comprehensive training plan provides you with 30-days of exercises right up to race day!
Download e-Book

Lesley George

Lesley is a content writer and community manager at Shape.
Download Our FREE
Spartan Race Training Plan
Our comprehensive training plan provides you with 30-days of exercises right up to race day!
Download e-Book