11 Best Cardio Abs Exercises to Strengthen Your Core

Whether you’re trying to fit in a quick gym session or you just want to make your workout time as efficient as possible, you may wonder if you should be doing cardio or spending those precious minutes on core work. But what if you have to decide? Can you do a cardio abs workout for full-on efficiency?

The good news: you can. There are plenty of exercises that will give you a cardio burn And An abs workout at the same time.

Can you get abs from cardio?

Although some cardio-focused workouts end with core-strengthening exercises, the point is that all movements should engage the core, says Trevor Thiem, director of fitness and nutrition content for CSCS and Beachbody.

“The core muscles provide stability and support the spine,” he says. “The more instability created by the exercise, the greater the activation of the core muscles.”

But remember that abs exercises alone won’t make your six-pack pop — diet and body fat percentage also play a huge role in whether or not you can see your abs. (More on that here.)

Should I do an ab workout after cardio?

Women's Six Pack Dirty Arms Gym |  Cardio Abs

Because cardio requires stability in between movements, all cardio will involve some degree of core activation, Thieme says. But not all cardio is equal when it comes to strengthening your major core muscles.

If you’re doing steady-state cardio, like logging miles on a treadmill or stationary bike, you’ll do some degree of core activation, but not a ton, Thiem says. In this case, it doesn’t hurt to close out the workout with some dedicated core work.

so what is Best cardio for maximum abs activation? There are certain moves that will strengthen your abs to a higher level. “If you’re doing a workout with a lot of kicking, jumping, twisting, and other movements that require a high degree of core activation, you probably don’t need to use an ab-focused ‘finisher’ routine,” says Thieme.

By picking the right cardio moves, you can kiss those “post-cardio core sequences” goodbye.

11 exercises that will give you a killer cardio abs workout

We’ve selected the best cardio abs exercises below from several streaming workout programs available on Beachbody. Try some (or all!) to get your heart rate up and challenge your core muscles. And if you want more after these 11 moves, check out some of these 10-minute abs workouts in 600 seconds, or check out the killer cardio abs routines in the MMA-inspired Rough Around the Edges program.

Regardless of the moves you choose, be sure to keep your core movement engaged throughout. Not only will this help fully engage your abs, but it will also help stabilize and support the spine so you can prevent potential injury and get stronger.

1. Plank side foot taps

  • Start in a high-plank position with your feet a few inches apart.
  • With everything else still, reach your right leg out to the side to tap the ground and then return it to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side with your left leg.
  • Move quickly to ramp up the cardio component.
  • This is also a good warm-up move before you move on to the plank jack (below).

2. Plank Jack

  • Start in front plank with your elbows under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels.
  • At the same time, jump both legs to the side and then come back together. Keep the hips stable so they don’t drop or go up.
  • Simplify this move by performing it in a high-plank position, or doing the foot tap exercise (above) on the side of the plank.

3. Plank to Low Squat

Low squat man from plank

  • Start in a high-plank position with your wrists, feet together, core engaged, and shoulders over your head to heels.
  • Jump your feet to the outside of each hand, and then lift your chest up as you come into a low-squat position. Your hands should come in front of your chest.
  • Pause, and then continue the sequence by reversing the action: Plant your hands between your legs and return to a plank. Repeat. (For an in-depth look at how to plank for low squats, click here.)

4. Mountain climbers

  • Start in a high plank position.
  • Engage your core to pull your right knee toward your chest so your feet are off the ground and then return to plank. Repeat on the other side with your left leg.
  • Speed ​​it up, one foot in and then the other.
  • Be sure to keep your hips level and fully extend each leg as you return from center.

5. Russian twist

  • Sit on the ground, balance on your tailbone and bend your knees to about 90 degrees, heels on the ground and feet flexed. Place your hands together in front of your torso.
  • Twisting to your right side, bring your hand down toward your right hip. Then, reverse the moves and twist to your left.
  • Make it extra challenging by speeding it up, lifting your feet off the ground, or holding a light weight in your hands (shown in the video above).

6. Cycle Twist

  • Lie on your back with your legs straight. Place your hands lightly behind your head with your elbows pointing out to the side.
  • Keeping your lower back on the ground, engage your core to lift your chest and bring your right knee toward your chest as you rotate your torso to bring your left elbow toward your right knee.
  • Straighten your right leg as you bend your left leg and bring it toward your chest as you rotate your torso to bring your right elbow toward your left knee.
  • Once you have proper form down, start moving quickly to ramp up the cardio component of this move.

7. Scissor kick

  • Lie on your back with hands under your glutes (this will help support your back). Lift both feet a few inches off the floor while keeping your lower back in contact with the floor.
  • While keeping the leg straight, raise your right leg to about a 45-degree angle and then switch legs so that your right leg lowers toward the ground and your left leg raises.
  • Go faster, gradually go faster. To intensify it, lift your chest into a partial crunch.

8. Plank Hip Dips

  • Come into a forward plank with your elbows under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels.
  • Keeping your abs engaged, lower the right hip to the floor while keeping both elbows tucked under.
  • Return to center and then reverse the step so that your hips drop to the left.
  • Continue to alternate sides, making sure the movement is coming from your abs and not your shoulders.

9. Dolphin Hops

  • Begin the front plank with your feet together.
  • Lift your hips and raise your legs toward your arms in three short bursts.
  • Pause at the top by raising your hips, and then return to the starting plank position.
  • Repeat, hopping a sequence of three hops forward, then back.

10. Knee tap with high to low plank

  • Start in a high plank with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart.
  • Draw your right knee under your torso and tap it with your left hand, trying to prevent any rotation of your hip. Return to plank position and repeat on the opposite side, drawing in your left knee and tapping with your right hand. End back into a high plank.
  • Lower your right arm to the ground and then lower your left arm down, so you’re in an elbow plank with your elbows under your shoulders.
  • Then, press up to a high plank again: Place your right hand under your shoulder to press down to straighten your right arm, and then repeat with your left side.
  • Start with knee taps and go straight to the next rep.
  • Keep your abs engaged the entire time so that the transition from high to low plank doesn’t cause your lower back to sag or hips to swing.

11. Jab, Wave, Front Kick

  • Assume a standing fighting stance with your left foot forward and your fists in front of your chin. This position begins.
  • Throw a jab by punching your left fist straight in front of your left shoulder.
  • Bring your left fist back toward your chin as you bend your knees and weave to the left, so your left shoulder is now slightly forward.
  • Shift weight to your left leg and bring your right knee up to hip height, bend to 90 degrees, and then kick your leg straight forward.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat. (Want to get your kicks down? Rough Around the Edge’s Amy Johnston shows you how to perfect your front and side kicks.)

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