What Is the Best Cardio for Abs?

If you’ve ever worked out before, you’ve definitely looked up at least one way to get abs. Even though the chiseled abs look is quite hard to achieve, and you really do have to have a certain body type, there’s nothing against strengthening your core anyways. Check out our article on what is the best cardio for abs, and learn a little more about exercises and food that can help you get more confident in yourself. 

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Best Cardio for Abs

These ten exercises are great ways to target your abs with repetitive motions and a planned amount of sets. Though the numbers vary depending on which exercises you are doing and which source you find a routine from, always keep these in mind when you want to have the best cardio for abs. 

10. Mountain Climbers

Lay on the floor and get into a crouched position on your hands and feet. Then alternate between having your left leg bent towards your chest and the right leg straight and switching the position. 

9. Flutter Kicks

Lay on your back and place your hands to the sides of your hips. Lift your legs a few inches into the air and “flutter” your legs up and down, making sure they don’t touch the ground. 

8. Jumping Jacks

While you are standing jump and stretch your legs out while at the same time lifting your arms above your head to touch each other. Then jump and bring your legs back together while dropping your arms parallel to the ground. Repeat this motion for however long you need to.

7. Barbell Russian Twists

In a sitting position cross your legs in front of you while holding a barbell in both of your hands. Then balance on your butt as you move the barbell from side to side, making sure your feet do not touch the ground. 

6. Bicycle Crunch

While lying on your back, bring your left knee up towards your chest and touch it with your right elbow. Then alternate limbs, touching your right knee to your left elbow. Contine switching while making sure you twist your torso, feeling it in your abdominal muscles. 

5. Burpees

Starting in a standing position, jump up vertically and then crouch down and out into a push-up position. Do a push-up and on your way up, pull your legs into a crouching position and pop back up into the air vertically. Repeat this motion for however many reps you have in your circuit. 

4. Planks

Balancing on your toes and your forearms, make sure your body is parallel to the floor. You should be as straight as possible, having your hips tucked downwards. Hold this position for as long as possible, or incorporate other motions to increase the difficulty. 

CHECK OUT: 8 Things to Know About Rowing Machine Exercises

3. High Knees

This is similar to jogging, but instead of pushing your legs forward normally, you want to lift them as high as possible. The best way to do this is trying to get your thighs parallel to the ground as you’re moving forward. 

2. Jumping Lunges

An elevated version of regular lunges, lean forward and drop one of your knees to the ground as the other leg turns into a right angle. Instead of slowly straightening back up and switching legs, you will want to spring upwards and switch legs, dropping slowly back into the bent position but on the opposite leg. 

1. Squats

Start in a standing position with your legs shoulder width apart. As you squat down, bend your knees and push your butt backwards in order to keep your back straight. Then you will push back up into a standing position, and then repeat the downwards motion. 

6 Full Body Cardio Exercises that Work the Abs

Sometimes there are workouts that can target the whole body including the abs and include numerous health benefits. Try out some of these exercises if you’re not super fond of targeted exercises. 

6. Jumping Rope

Though this exercise is not directly targeting your abs, jumping rope still helps build your core strength. It also burns a lot of calories, allowing different parts of your body to become toned too. You can also try combination jump rope techniques that will focus on your abs more. 

5. Cycling

While you’re cycling, you are using your abs for stabilization to keep steady in the bike seat. This can be intensified if you are biking up a steep incline or along rough terrain. When you start cycling, you may feel some tenderness the next day in your obliques (the sides of your torso). Of course, start small and slowly build up your bike time and difficulty in order to avoid injury. 


HIIT workouts (High Intensity Interval Training) are extremely useful in cutting lots of fat and building muscle with shorter intense workouts. This is also true for your abs. HIIT ab workouts take the same primary exercises of a traditional ab workout, but are executed in a clockwork style for short intervals at a high intensity, with short rest periods in between. 

You may want to save these types of exercises for when you have built a little muscle, so you are not hurting yourself while trying to complete the circuit. 

3. Running

In order to stay upright, you need to have a strong core when you are running. So while you are working out your thigh and calf muscles, you will also be toning your abdominal muscles. Having a strong core will take pressure off of other body parts, and make running a more enjoyable experience. 

ALSO READ: 6 Great Travel Workout Tips for Staying Fit on Vacation

2. Swimming

If you want a cardio workout that targets all parts of your abs and lessens the strain on your body, then try swimming laps in a pool. As each arm plunges through the water, your obliques will get a work out, while your core keeps you from swimming in circles. Finally, your lower abs get a workout from the repetitive kicking to propel yourself forward. 

1. Sprinting

Sprinting is similar to running in how it works out your abs, but it is pumped up to a higher intensity. You can get abs quicker with sprinting over running, but sprints are quite taxing and should be done in moderation. 

Diet Options to Help Gain Abs

healthy food
Credit: Brooke Lark

Of course exercises will help, but having a balanced diet will really help with getting rid of fat and building muscle. Here are some suggested foods that can help you on your ab workout journey. 


Foods like lean beef, ground lean turkey, turkey breast, chicken breast, egg whites, game meats, white fish, salmon, and protein powder will give you energy and crucial proteins to help build muscle. 


Some great carbohydrates you can include into your diet are brown rice, white rice, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, whole grain bread, oatmeal, quinoa, pasta, and all fruits. This will give you energy to get through that cardio workout. 


All green and colored vegetables are great for your body, providing you with much-needed vitamins and minerals crucial to keeping your body in top shape. 


Now, you may be a little hesitant about this category, but there are a lot of healthy fats that need to be in your body. Options that have fats in them include walnuts, peanuts, almonds, avocado, olive oil, fish oil, and nut butters. 

There is no quick workout that will give you instant results for abs. It’s a lot of dedication and hard work in order to achieve the chiseled six pack you see in sports magazines. But, there are ways to strengthen those muscles and gain a six pack. These are just a few of the best cardio for abs, but always remember that your body is unique and only you know your limits.