Cardio or Abs First? What You Should Workout First and Why

While some do not have a preference on when and how they work out, just as long as they’re moving, some are a bit more serious about the order of which they should be working out. And one order that tends to confuse people is cardio or abs first.

It’s a common question that people ask when they’re starting out their fitness journey, and it can be confusing as to why it’s so important. Cardio and abs go together very well and tend to be done on the same day.

So, which should you do first, cardio or abs? Read more to find out everything you need to know about these workouts.

RELATED: What Is the Best Cardio for Abs?

Does it Really Matter?

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There are a lot of people who believe that the order in which you work out your abs or do your cardio doesn’t matter, and for some aspects of your fitness journey, it doesn’t.

The only reason you should worry about your order is if you have a specific goal in mind. But if you’re exploring your fitness journey or just focusing on moving your body, don’t sweat about what to do first, as in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal.

As long as you’re moving and getting exercise, you’re doing great by your body.

When Does it Matter?

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Like mentioned, the only real reason why you would want to focus on when to do what is when you have a specific goal in mind.

Are you trying to work on your endurance, strengthening your body, losing weight, or have no preference as long as you get to the gym? All these answers will determine whether you should be doing cardio or abs first.

Cardio Before Abs

Generally, you’ll want to do cardio before you work out your abs or any other muscle groups.

This is because you can warm up your body before doing intense workouts and make you a bit looser, which can help prevent any injuries.

Another big reason people say that you should do cardio first is to get it out of the way before getting to the fun part of strength training.

If you’re trying to improve your endurance, or just generally exploring your fitness journey, then doing cardio before abs is the way to go.

However, this doesn’t mean that everyone should be doing this. While several people would recommend this order, and why several people might never agree on how to work out, it’s not the answer for everyone.

READ MORE: How to Get Abs in a Week: A Beginner’s Guide

Abs Before Cardio

On the other hand, there are several reasons why you should try doing abs before cardio. The American Council of Exercise went over some reasons why you might want to do abs first.

The main reason is that doing abs before cardio is great for strength training. Doing abs before cardio is a great way to strengthen your core.

If you’re trying to get leaner and lose some more weight, doing abs, or any strength training before cardio, is the ideal order.

Why it’s Important

Arguing about the order is crucial though, as cardio has a huge benefit to working abs. The best kinds of cardio workouts that you can do that work on your abs include those that increase your breathing, get your heartrate up and improve your core endurance.

Intense workouts will work your core and heart, which will strengthen your core and build stronger abdominal muscles while losing weight and reducing body fat. Doing this not only helps yourself feel better physically, but improve your health, improve your mental and even help you work on a better posture.

How Often to Do Cardio and Ab Training

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense physical activity, so about 3o minutes for five days a week. However, it has been proven that doing small, snack-sized workouts through the day is as great as doing a longer session per day, as long as you’re doing high-intense movements.

But when it comes to training, several personal trainers, like Eric Bowling, CPT, at Ultimate Performance in LA says that weight training three times a week is ideal, while cardio can be done every day if it’s lower intensity, but less frequent if it’s at a higher intensity.

A great schedule would be weight training two to four times a week, and then moderate cardio about three to four times a week.

Be Careful About Overtraining

Just like lack of exercise, there are some negative effects if you overtrain.

While the amount of training you do depends on your goals, once again, overtraining can lead to energy loss, irritability or agitation, stamina decline, weight gain, chronic colds or infections, amenorrhea for women, and insomnia according to Cleveland Clinic.

Best Cardio and Abs

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Telling you about it won’t do much, so let’s take a look at some of the best workouts that you can start doing that will enhance your fitness journey.

Cardio, or cardiovascular workouts, are light exercises such as jogging, jumping rope or cycling with the purpose of increasing your heart rate.

But if you’re trying to help your abs, doing more intense cardio is ideal. Here are some of the best examples.

  • Sprinting
  • High Knees
  • Tuck Jumps
  • Burpees
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Bear Crawl
  • Plank Jacks
  • Jumping Lunge
  • High Knees

In Conclusion

While it truly depends on what you’re looking to get out of the workout, many will say that cardio before abs is the way to go.

It’s the most common, as not everyone works on strength training and mostly just focuses on moving their bodies and growing endurance. It completely depends on the individual, so be sure to figure out what your work out goal is and what you can do to reach it.

As always, if you’re not comfortable with a workout or something feels wrong, speak to your doctor or reach out to a personal trainer for more insight.