60 day ab challenge

About this 60 day ab challenge

60 day ab challenge

Intensity level: beginner/intermediate

Benefits: works all 4 layers of abdominal muscles

Safety: please read the general safety information here

Please also be aware that static contractions like plank holds can cause an increase in blood pressure. This is not a problem for healthy individuals, but if you have high blood pressure it’s not advisable to do static holds.

What you need: an exercise mat or some other form of cushioning for your spine. See an exercise mat buying guide here.

 60 day ab challenge chart

The challenge is split into 2 groups of exercises – crunches and planks. The crunches group is basic crunches, reverse crunches and straight leg crunches. In the plank group it’s basic plank, left side elbow plank and right side elbow plank. The chart shows the reps and hold times for the planks for each day. Do the reps/holds for all 3 exercises in the group every day.  Instructions for the exercises are below the chart.

60 day ab challenge chart

Exercise instructions

Basic crunch

Reverse crunch

Straight leg crunch

Side elbow plank

Elbow plank

 Planks and crunches – why should we do both?

Planks and crunches are two of the most popular ab exercises. They work different layers of the abdominal muscles and different benefits and limitations.


Planks are good for strengthening the deep core muscles. They also help to improve posture and stability. However, they are a static exercise (the muscles are held contracted in one position), so don’t challenge the core muscles in a functional way.


Crunches target the rectus abdominis muscles, which run down the front of the abdomen (the “6-pack”). The main action of these muscles is trunk flexion. The two main examples of trunk flexion in everyday life are bending over and sitting up from lying down. Bending over doesn’t need a lot of strength of course, because gravity helps us. We also often use our arms to help us sit up from a lying position. So the rectus muscles may not be very challenged from our day to day activities, which is why it’s good to add crunches into a fitness program.

Related to 60 day ab challenge

60 day 6 pack challengeSquat and ab challenge

Further reading

Harvard Health Publishing – The real-world benefits of strengthening your core