5-Minute Pre-Cardio Ab Workout

5-Minute Pre-Cardio Ab Workout

So before anyone calls me out for not having the best form in these pictures, just keep in mind that superman planks in the sand are really freaking hard…

When I know I have a super busy day and will only be able to fit in a quick run, I’ll do five minutes of core work before I head out. Doing some sort of strength training before cardio actually increases the number of calories you burn during that cardio session. Do I think a five-minute ab workout is going to make a big difference? No. But I like getting a little burn in beforehand—it leaves my abs feeling more engaged during the run, and even if it’s all in my head, I feel like I’m getting an overall better workout in during a busy day.

5-Minute Pre-Cardio Ab Workout

Equipment I Used:

  • 15-lb weight
  • Exercise mat

I switch it up with the five minutes of ab work I do, but here’s one sequence I particularly like. Do each move for 1 minute. Don’t take any breaks between exercises! So that I didn’t have to look at a clock, I just set my Gymboss Interval Timer to 5 rounds of 60 seconds of work (and 0 seconds of rest).

5-Minute Pre-Cardio Ab Workout

  • Weighted Sit-Up into Russian Twist: I used a 15-lb weight for these. Start laying down with knees bent and feet elevated. Hold your weight to your chest and do a sit up. Twist your torso, bringing the weight to one hip and then across your body to the other hip. Bring weight back to chest and lower. With each sit-up, alternate the side to which you first twist.
  • Elbow Plank: Hold it for the whole 60 seconds.
  • Butterfly Crunch (Left, Center, Right, Center): Lay on your back with legs spread (feet together) in the butterfly position. Crunch up to the left, center, to the right, back to center. Continue.
  • Alternating Superman Plank: Start in a plank position. Simultaneously lift your right hand and left leg, extending both straight out. Return to plank position and repeat, lifting left hand and right leg. This is a great core exercise because your back is engaged, too.
  • Bicycle Crunch: Lay on back, hands behind head. When you crunch up towards your bent left knee, your right leg should be extended out and not touching the ground. Switch sides, crunching over towards the right with your left leg extended. Continue in a fluid, cycling motion.

Is five minutes going to make you look like a supermodel? No, probably not. But this is a great routine to throw in with some cardio on a busy day.


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  1. Whitney says:

    Love the pink pants! Where are they from?

  2. cute outfit! where are your capris from?

  3. Loving the butterfly crunch! May have to steal this one for my next bootcamp class… 🙂

  4. Nice workout outfit and great workout…

  5. not necessarily related to post, but do you use an interval timer app on your iPhone? i have struggled to find one that i like. currently using seconds pro.

    • I do–I use RoundTimer. It’s pretty basic, but it’s been doing the trick for me for a few years now.

  6. Great warm- up for busy days! thanks for sharing.

  7. Thanks for the great ab work out. I can always work on my abs. http://thefitfoot.blogspot.com

  8. Russian twist is a great exercise to train obliges. Since I started doing it I see great changes on my hips. I suggest for everybody who has some extra fat there. Thanks for the workout.

  9. having a flat and visible six pack of abs is all about getting down to a low body fat percentage. In order to do that, your workouts must focus on stimulating a fat burning hormonal environment in your body, and increasing your metabolic rate. That just does not happen when you focus too much time training a small muscle group like the ab

    • Very true! That’s why I love posting full-body workouts that target all the major muscle groups, in addition to my ab workouts. A clean, healthy diet is also crucial–that saying “abs are made in the kitchen” has a lot of truth to it. 🙂

  10. This workout is awesome I really enjoyed it …I found routines very similar at https://shedpounds.com/articles/2014-07-30/what-mistakes-are-you-making-when-youre-running 🙂

  11. This is the fun stuff – the full cycle of abs exercises.

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