I just did the Peloton core challenge — here’s what happened to my abs

Emma Lovewell abs workout
(Image credit: Emma Lovewell on Instagram/Shutterstock)

As a fitness editor, I’ve tried a number of weird and wonderful challenges to help build the core of my dreams — from 100 dead bugs a day for a week, to JLo’s ab workout. Think of me as your fitness guinea pig (if your guinea pig wore lululemon leggings and could hold a plank).

With that in mind, when I installed the Peloton Bike+ in my living room, the four-week Peloton core challenge with instructor Emma Lovewell caught my eye. 

One of the huge selling points of the Bike+ is the large, rotating touchscreen that allows you to take classes next to the bike. I was able to position the Peloton behind the sofa and take the classes on my yoga mat in the middle of the room, as well as tune into the classes from the Peloton app on my phone when traveling.

The four-week challenge consisted of five classes for the first and second weeks, and then six for the final two weeks to really blast the core. The instructor, former professional dancer Emma Lovewell, guides you through all of the workouts.

Read on to find out what happened. 

I did the Peloton core challenge — here’s what happened to my abs

The best part about the entire challenge was that the workouts were short and sweet — most of them were five to ten minutes long, meaning I could easily pair them with a 20-minute ride, and still have time to eat some food on my lunch break. That said, the sessions were long enough to really torch my core, and were a good way to fit some core workouts into my day. 

My core felt a lot stronger, and looked a lot more toned. This four-week challenge reminded me that you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to see results.

The core-focused sessions had a Pilates-based feel, but Lovewell gives modifications for those who are new to the exercises. Most of the workouts followed a similar pattern — plank exercises, followed by various crunches on your back. Each week the workouts progressed so you were holding the plank for longer, or trying more advanced crunch exercises, such as single-leg raises, working into the oblique muscles along the side of the stomach. 

Like all Peloton classes, there’s a leaderboard where you can see other users taking the class, a time bar across the top of the screen to see how long you have left, and the chance to save various tracks to your music library. When you’re signed up for the challenge, it appears across the screen each time you log in, reminding you to take your class. 

Of course, nobody is perfect, and I didn’t make every single session — I completed 17 out of the 22 classes, because some days life got in the way, making it impossible to unroll my yoga mat and work my core. That said, did 17 ab classes leave me with the six-pack of my dreams? 

Sadly not. If the human body worked that way, I’d be The Rock, but visible abdominals are a reflection of your overall body fat percentage, not how long you spend in the plank position. Here’s how to calculate your body fat percentage, and why it matters.

That said, my core felt a lot stronger, and looked a lot more toned. The four-week challenge reminded me that you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to see results, but you do have to do little and often to shape a routine. It also reminded me that even with the best intentions, things don’t go to plan — something I’ve had to accept following an ankle injury during my current marathon training cycle (here’s how the Peloton has helped reduce my anxiety).

Marathon training or not, I’ll definitely be adding more ten-minute core workouts to my schedule over the next few months. 

Looking for more workout inspiration? Here’s the exact resistance band workout Chris Hemsworth used on the set of Thor: Love and Thunder, plus what happened when one fitness writer did 50 bird dogs a day for a week

Also see our hands-on with the new Peloton Row machine.

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.