Only building muscle without burning fat will leave you with flab over your abs. Tighten your core during all exercises. Incorporate a cardio twist into your core workout. Push-ups with pull throughs, jumping jack burpees, plank lateral tucks, mountain climbers, and pli’e squat chops will challenge your stamina, burn the fat, duplicate your strength, and leave you with sculpted Greek-God abs.
We can do all the sit-ups and crunches we want, but what about that annoying layer of “extra” skin on top of our awesome abs?! You know what I’m talking about, you can feel the muscle underneath, but how do you burn off that top layer?
That’s where cardio comes into play. Why not add cardio to our ab/core exercises to burn more calories and fat while building our core muscles?
Technically, we should be keeping our stomach tight during all exercise, cardio included. Next time you’re running/walking, biking, swimming, etc, try keeping your abs, obliques and core tight. On top of that, there are a few ab/core exercises that we can make dynamic to add that cardio effect of getting our heart rate up and burning extra calories.
5 Ab/Core Exercises With Cardio Effect
Here are a few to get you started:
1. Plank Lateral Tucks
Starting in plank position, bend knees, and jump feet in toward your right hand keeping your knees together (aim knees toward right elbow). Then hop back to plank and to the other side. Alternate sides for 10 on each side.
2. Mountain Climbers
In a plank position with your hands right underneath your shoulders, pull one knee in to hover your toe above the ground, return to plank position and pull the other knee forward. Try pulling your knee in more with your stomach than your legs. To make this harder, speed it up. Build up until you can continue this exercise non-stop for 30s.
3. Pli’e Squat Chop
In a pli’e squat stance (toes out, heels in with feet slightly wider than hip distance), extend arms overhead with palms connected. Bend knees and sit back in heels for a pli’e squat, then stand up on your right leg bringing your left knee to hip height and hands chop cross your body to end at or close to your left hip. Stay on this side for 10 to 15 repetitions. You should feel this through your left side obliques (plus shoulders, inner thighs, quads and glutes). Repeat other side for 10 to 15 reps.
4. Jumping Jack Burpees
Don’t ask me why it’s called a Burpee, but I’m sure you’ve heard of this wonderful exercise at one point or another. The jumping jack burpee adds a jumping jack when standing and in plank. From a standing position, sit back in your heels to bring your hands to the ground, then hop or step back to a plank position with hips staying the same level as your shoulders (keeping the stomach tight). Hop or step your feet wide then back in together (what your feet do during a jumping jack). Stand up by jumping or stepping your feet up towards your hands. Sit back in your heels to use your butt muscles (NOT your low back) to stand up. Then do at least one jumping jack. To make these harder, add a push up in the plank position. Complete 10 jumping jack burpees and you’ll be loving life (when you get done).
5. Push-up With Pull Through
Starting in push-up position, similar to plank but your hands can be wider than shoulder distance. However, don’t let your hands be more forward than your shoulders. Do one regular push-up, then lift left hand and right foot. Opening your body up to the left, bring your right foot and left hand together. You may not to be able to touch your right toes but that’s ok. Return to push-up position, do second push-up, then bring together right hand and left foot like on the other side. Continue alternating sides with a push-up in between. To make it more difficult, make it more dynamic (i.e., quicker). Complete 10 total push-ups.
Try adding one or all these exercises into your routine to get a cardio ab workout and be one step closer to lose that extra ab flab.