The date was July 30, 2019. I was feeling inspired to take on a new physical challenge, one that I could do daily without hurting myself. I chose to train my abs!
I wanted one routine that I could do consistently. I figured that it would be easier to remember this way, and I would be more likely to turn it into a habit rather than performing different exercises during each unique workout session.
While thinking about it, I rediscovered the “22 Day” Ab Workout (NO REST!) (click to watch the YouTube video) by Jeff Cavaliere at ATHLEAN-X. I had performed some of the exercises years ago, so I was familiar with it. Familiar, but inexperienced.
I completed the first 22 days… then I kept going. I recently finished 66 days of this routine. I can quickly summarize the results as follows:
After 66 days of training abs with the 22 Day Ab Workout (NO REST!) by ATHLEAN-X, my abs feel the strongest they have ever felt in my entire life. My obliques are developing for the first time, and I am beginning to see my stomach flatten out.
I have been very pleased with the results so far, and I will continue to perform this ab workout until Day 88 and beyond. But first…
This article will be broken up as follows:
- Health Disclaimer
- The “22 Day” Ab Workout (NO REST!)
- The Results After 66 Days
- Full Transparency: A Five Day Delay
- Realistic Expectations
- How To Get A Visible 6-Pack
- YouTube Video
- Learn More About This Challenge
- Additional Questions
I am not a doctor, physical therapist, nor a personal trainer. I am a personal change enthusiast who is seeking to get stronger, more aesthetic core muscles. I am sharing the results of this ab challenge as a means of self-accountability, to show what type of physical changes are possible with this routine, and to inspire others to become more physically active.
Consult your personal health professional before attempting this workout, especially for prolonged periods of time.
The “22 Day” Ab Workout (NO REST!)
The 22 Day Ab Workout (NO REST!) is an ab routine created by Jeff Cavaliere at ATHLEAN-X. This routine is designed to be done every day for a period of 22 days. He chose 22 days because it is claimed that it takes 21 days to establish a habit.
By completing 22 days of this routine, the hope is that you will continue to perform it regularly. It worked for me. Perhaps it will work for you, too!
The routine is designed to target your entire midsection. It attacks the muscles from different angles and planes of movement. It uses time as a metric as well as classic sets. You are encouraged to use the best form possible while completing each movement.
The workout consists of six exercises. You complete each exercise for the assigned extinction period. This will either be a time (ex: 45 seconds) or a number of repetitions (ex: 12).
If you successfully complete the extinction period, you are allowed a 10 second rest. After your rest, you complete the same exercise again. You do this until you reach failure on the exercise. This is called going extinct.
After you go extinct, you move on to the next exercise. You repeat this extinction-rest process until you have finished all six of the exercises.
|Heals to the Heavens||Bottom Up||45 sec.||10 sec.|
|Step Through Planks||Bottom Up Rotation||45 sec.||10 sec.|
|X-Man Crunch||Mid-Range||12 reps.||10 sec.|
|Alternating Thread the Needle||Obliques||10 reps.||10 sec.|
|Alternating Jackknives||Top Down||45 sec.||10 sec.|
|Stationary Bike||Top Down Rotation||30 sec.||10 sec.|
I really LOVE this workout. People of all fitness levels can perform it thanks to its extinction-style structure. It hits the entire midsection in a calculated sequence which is optimized to produce the best results possible. I highly, highly recommend it to anyone interested in an ab routine that is straightforward, easily repeatable, and progressively more challenging.
Legend has it that Jeff Cavaliere started this workout for himself on May 26, 2017, and that he has still not yet gone extinct on the 1st exercise!
The Results After 66 Days
The moment you have been waiting for. Do I have a visible 6-pack yet? Maybe an 8-pack? Will I be gracing the covers of fitness magazines around the world? Let’s find out:
Day 1 to Day 66
Firstly, let’s point out that over these 66* days (more on that in a moment) I only lost 0.2 lbs. (0.1 kgs.). That means, essentially, that my weight in each picture is identical.
Yet, despite weighing the same, there is a noticeable difference in my midsection. It looks like I lost some weight, even though I did not. My love-handles look smaller, and you can even see some additional excess skin, seemingly indicating weight loss.
On top of that, you can see additional definition in my core muscles. In particular, my obliques are looking fuller and more developed. It even looks like one of the top abdominal muscles wants to start poking out to say hello to the world.
These photos can only tell so much. Personally, my abs feel rock solid, especially when compared to how they have historically felt. They feel strong. They feel flatter. They feel amazing. My strength is increasing, as is my stamina. My workouts continue to get more intense and longer. Physically, I am ecstatic about the results to date.
Full Transparency: A Five Day Delay
For those of you who have already seen the dedicated page on this website where I publish and compare the results of each round of this exercise, you may have noticed an oddity in the most recent finishing date:
- Round 2 finished on Sep. 11, 2019
- Round 3 finished on Oct. 8, 2019
But that’s more that 22 days, right? Indeed, it is. It’s 27 days, to be exact. During this round I was hit by a nasty cold. It knocked me out for about five full days, during which time I rested and did not complete my ab workouts nor my pushup routine.
It was devastating to miss these five days! Still, health comes first. As soon as I felt better, I picked up right where I left off. After completing the 66th day of this routine I filmed my after-video and continued towards Day 88.
So, the results you see are after 66 days completing this workout, with a five day rest included. It’s one thing to push yourself to the limits of your abilities physically and mentally… it’s another to be reckless. Sometimes knowing where to draw that line is difficult. On this occasion, I chose the prudent approach and thought first about my health. I am glad that I did.
I am happy with my results so far. My body looks and feels better than it did 66 days ago. My abdominals and core are stronger and flatter than they have ever been. I am uninjured and motivated to continue this daily core training. All-in-all, I consider it a great personal success.
That being said, a small part of me was hoping that this would be the round where my abs really started to pop… that this would be the round where my future 6-pack started to become visible.
Alas, it was not the case. And you know what? I am totally fine with it. Changing our bodies takes time. Expecting to look like a totally different person after 66 days is, dare I say, unrealistic. The changes that I have made, on the other hand, are still awesome and ones that anyone can accomplish.
It is also a lesson that training requires consistency! Even if I did suddenly have a 6-pack, I would still need to maintain it.
This is a marathon, not a sprint. I may not have a visible 6-pack yet, but come back in another couple of months and I guarantee you that I will be a lot closer to achieving it that I am today, or than I was 66 days ago.
How To Get A Visible 6-Pack
It is commonly said that abs are built in the kitchen, not the gym. I would like to amend this expression based on my results after 66 days of daily ab training.
Abs ARE built in the gym, but they are seen thanks to your work in the kitchen.
As hard and intensely as you may train your abs, they will only be seen when your body fat percentage falls low enough for them to become visible. According to Livestrong, we need to achieve the following body fat percentages to see our abs:
- Men: between 6-9% body fat
- Women: between 16-19% body fat
Despite losing a mighty 0.2 lbs. over the last couple of months, and changing my body composition, I did not drop my body fat percentage to a level low enough to have visible abs… yet!
This means only one thing… my abs training will require additional focus on nutrition. My work in the supermarket and in the kitchen will be just as important, if not more important, than the work that I do on the mat every day!
It is important to me to write about my experiences and my results, and to visually document them. Watch this YouTube video I made with my before-and-after results:
Just a heads up: I am continuing to do this daily ab workout indefinitely. I am definitely going to continue until Day 88, and probably beyond that, too!
To make sure that you do not miss an update video, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel and hit the Notification Bell. YouTube will send you a notification every time I publish an update.
Follow my progress, and get inspired to train your abs, too.
Learn More About This Challenge
You saw the results after 66 days in this article. I have also published the before-and-after pictures of every round of this 22 Day Ab Workout (NO REST!) on this page of my website. There you can more easily see how my core muscles have changed as a result of this daily training.
Is this the only form of ab training that I do? Yes, this is the only for of direct ab training that I do. I do, however, perform indirect ab training all the time. When I perform my normal gym workout, I make sure that my core muscles are engaged to support each movement. This is, indirectly, a way to engage and stimulate the core muscles. I also am making a conscious effort to sit and walk with better posture. This keeps my core active for longer periods through the day that it ever has been in the past.
Which of the six exercises in this ab routine is the most difficult? Without question, the last exercise (Stationary Bike) is the most difficult. By the time I get to it my abs are exhausted. At this point, extinct really is the most appropriate word for it. I have never completed a single extinction period to this exercise, and I can only make it about 10 seconds or so before I go extinct on this one. I sometimes wonder if I should do this routine in reverse just so that I can, for once, use this movement to train my core. Maybe I will… one day!