30-Minute Cardio Abs Workout (1 Dumbbell)

CARDIO and ABS! This belly fat burning, 30-Minute Cardio Abs Workout is HIIT for your abs. These 10 ab exercises target the lower abs, upper abs, obliques and deep transverse abdominal muscles. Tone your midsection and burn calories at home (modifications offered for all fitness levels).

Click here read core workout FAQs, including modifications for pregnancy + postpartum

The best way to get abs at home?

Pairing fat burning cardio with core strengthening ab exercises…Enter this 30-Minute Cardio Abs Workout!

Think, full body ab exercises like planks. But I promise, this fat burning Cardio Abs Workout isn’t just 30 minutes of planking; it’s 10, non-traditional core exercises that will sculpt your abs while raising your heart rate.

This is high intensity interval training (HIIT) for your abs! A HIIT ab workout to to burn fat at home. 

Oblique crunch | cardio abs workout

30-Minute Cardio Abs Workout

Burn belly fat at home with this killer cardio and abs routine.

A HIIT workout for your abs to increase core strength and decrease body fat. 

Ten weighted ab exercises that will challenge your core from every angle — lower abs, upper abs, and obliques.

Equipment:

Optional Single Dumbbell. 

I suggest anywhere from 5-25 lbs. Rachel and I used a 15-20 lb dumbbell in this workout. You could also use a filled water bottle if you don’t have dumbbells. Adding a weight to this cardio ab workout increases the calorie burn.

Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Cardio and Abs Workout video at the top of this post. I’ll provide form cues and motivation for all 10 ab exercises! Rachel (on the left) joined me in the studio to provide modifications for each ab exercise; making this cardio ab workout accessible to all fitness levels.

The cardio abs workout looks like this:

  • 3 HIIT circuits, with 3-4 ab exercises per circuit.
  • Repeat each circuit x2 sets before moving on to the next circuit.
  • Perform each ab exercise for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds between exercises.

Alternatively, work through these 10 HIIT ab exercises with weights at your own pace.

wood chop with dumbbell | cardio abs workout

10 HIIT Cardio Ab Exercises (40 seconds per exercise):

CIRCUIT ONE: 

  1. Plank Launcher T-Pull
  2. Lateral Shuffle + Pivot Dumbbell Press
  3. Lying Pullovers + Toe Touch
    X2 Sets.

CIRCUIT TWO: 

  1. Half Kneeling Hinge Swing + Stand Up Press, Right
  2. Half Kneeling Hinge Swing + Stand Up Press, Left
  3. Reverse Crunch + Single Arm Floor Press, Right
  4. Reverse Crunch + Single Arm Floor Press, Left
    X2 Sets.

CIRCUIT THREE: 

  1. Bear Crawl Fast Feet
  2. Push Up + Pop Up Squat Hold + Dumbbell Press Out
  3. Side Plank Hip Dip + Crunch, Right/Left
    X2 Sets.

BONUS MOVE: Plank Jack + Pike Tuck

1. Plank Launcher T-Pull

Targets: The entire core with an emphasis on the obliques. Your quads, shoulders and arms are also engaged.

Your core stabilizes your hips as you pull the dumbbell overhead. This full body core exercise is also sure to raise your heart rate.

Plank Launcher + Side Plank with Dumbbell | cardio abs exercise with weights

How to do a Launcher T-Pull:

  1. Center your dumbbell on the mat between your hands. Start in plank position, maintaining a straight line with your body, gaze slightly in front of you.
  2. From this plank position, engage your core as you push your hips back towards your heels; bending at the knees. Then explosively drive your body back into plank position (nose to finger tips).
  3. Hold plank and grab the dumbbell with your right hand. Flex your core and open into a side plank as you pull the dumbbell overhead with your right hand. Hold this position for a moment as your body mimics a sideways “T” shape. Hips high and obliques turned on.
  4. With control, return the dumbbell back to the mat as you return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat this launcher plank and t-pull for 40 seconds.

Modification: Perform the plank launcher from your knees, the perform the side plank with your left knee on the mat. Option to do this as a bodyweight ab exercise instead of a weighted ab exercise.

2. Lateral Shuffle + Pivot Dumbbell Press

Targets: The entire core, specifically the deep stabilizing muscles of the core; hips, glutes, shoulders and upper body.

Trainer Tip: The farther you press the dumbbell away from your body the harder this cardio ab exercise will be (and the more your your core will have to work). This HIIT cardio and core exercise is sure to raise your heart rate.

shuffle pivot pass | HIIT cardio abs workout

How to do a Lateral Shuffle + Pivot Press:

  1. Hold a dumbbell horizontally between your hands at your chest. (one head of the dumbbell in each hand).
  2. Take one large lateral shuffle step to your right, then plant your front right foot and pivot your back left foot as you push the dumbbell away from your body. Similar to how you pass a basketball.
  3. Toes follow hips (back left toe pivots right, following the hips as they turn to the right).
  4. Bring the dumbbell back to your chest, then take one large lateral shuffle step to your left. Pivot your back right foot as you push the dumbbell away from your body.
  5. Return to the starting position and repeat this shuffle, pivot, pass movement for 40 seconds.

Modification: Replace the lateral shuffle with a squat.

3. Lying Pullovers + Toe Touch

Targets: The lats and core — lower abs on the pullover and upper abs on the toe touch. Strength training for the upper and lower abs.

Lying pull over and touch touch | abs workout

How to do an Lying Pullover + Toe Touch:

  1. Lay flat on your back, legs extended up ‘the wall’ (feet stacked over hips). Hold a dumbbell between your hands horizontally. Holding one head of the dumbbell in each hand.
  2. With a slight bend in the elbows, slowly lower the dumbbell overhead towards the ground. Try to keep your low back pressed into the mat/ground. As you lower the dumbbell, lower your right leg toward the ground, tapping your right heel to the ground.
  3. Then exhale as you pull the dumbbell back overhead, while simultaneously pulling your right leg up towards the dumbbell (returning to the starting position).
  4. Then use your upper abs to lift you up, pressing the dumbbell up towards your toes.
  5. Lower your shoulder back to the mat with control and repeat this alternating leg lower with overhead pull and toe touch movement for 40 seconds.

Modification: Bend your knees at 90 degrees throughout the entire movement (the shorter the lever the easier the exercise becomes). Option to omit the dumbbell and perform this as a bodyweight exercise as well.

4. Half Kneeling Hinge Swing + Stand Up Press (perform on the right side, then left side)

Targets: Hips, glutes, quads, core, abs and shoulders.

Trainer Tip: This HIIT cardio ab exercise specifically uses the core to stabilize the body as you accelerate (stand up) and to control the body as you decelerate (drop back down to one knee). A great unilateral exercise (single-sided exercise) which requires the core to work extra hard to stabilize the body with an uneven load (weight on one side of the body).

Kneeling hinge swing to stand up press | cardio abs workout at home

How to do a Kneeling Hinge Swing + Stand Up Press:

  1. Start in a half kneeling position — left knee bent at 90 degrees, foot on the mat in front of you and right knee bent at 90 degrees on the ground underneath your hips.
  2. Hold one dumbbell in the right hand with a neutral grip (palm facing your left thigh).
  3. Perform a half kneeling hinge swing by hinging at the hips with the dumbbell between your legs. Then drive your hips forward, powering the dumbbell up to your right shoulder; elbow in line with your shoulder (maintaining a neutral grip).
  4. Then drive through your left glute to stand up, bringing feet parallel as you push the dumbbell overhead with your right hand. Press the dumbbell straight overhead, locking out the elbow, right bicep should be near right ear.
  5. Slowly lower the dumbbell back down towards the right shoulder as you step the right leg back to a lunge, lowering the right knee back to the ground with control; simultaneously lowering the dumbbell in your right hand back between the legs.
  6. That’s one rep. Repeat this movement for 40 seconds on the right side, then switch sides, performing this on the left side.

Modification: Stay standing throughout the entire movement. Perform a staggered stance dumbbell swing instead of kneeling swing.

5. Reverse Crunch + Single Arm Floor Press (perform on the right side, then left side)

Targets: The rectus abdominis (your ‘six-pack ab muscles’), deep transverse abdominals, upper abs, lower abs and obliques. As well as, chest and shoulders.

Trainer Tip: Another great single-sided (unilateral) exercise. Focus on keeping your right hip connected to the mat as you perform a single arm press on the left arm. Full body strength training with core stabilization!

reverse crunch and single arm floor press, cardio abs workout

How to do a Reverse Crunch and Single Arm Floor Press:

  1. Start lying on your back, core engaged, legs extended out from your body and floating off the mat (closer your legs are to the mat, the harder this exercise will be). Hold a dumbbell in your left hand at your chest (palm facing in towards your body, neutral grip).
  2. Exhale to press the dumbbell overhead, performing a single arm floor press while keeping your right hip connected to the mat (counter-balance). With control, lower the dumbbell back to your chest.
  3. Then engage your upper abs to perform a sit up as you engage your lower abs to pull your knees towards your chest.
  4. With control, lower back to the starting position with your back on the mat.
  5. That’s one rep. Repeat this movement for 40 seconds on the left side, then switch sides, performing this on the right side.

Modification: Omit the reverse crunch and stay seated on your sit bones throughout the entire movement. Keep your left foot planted on the mat as you slide or float your right foot out away from your body while simultaneously performing a single arm press.

6. Bear Crawl Fast Feet

Targets: Core stability, shoulders, quads and cardio endurance. The most challenging ab exercise of this workout (in my opinion) 🔥!

Trainer Tip: These bursts of HIIT cardio spike the heart rate burning more calories in a shorter amount of time compared to steady state cardio.

bear crawl fast feet, HIIT cardio ab exercise

How to do Bear Crawl Fast Feet:

  1. Start in a table top position or quadruped position on all fours — shoulders stacked over wrists and hips stacked over knees.
  2. Tuck your toes under to lift your knees off the mat, finding a bear crawl position. Abs engaged, knees close to the mat creating a straight line from head to tailbone.
  3. Keeping your hips square to the ground and your knees as close to the mat as possible, run your feet in and out (wide, wide, narrow, narrow) as fast as you can.
  4. Find a pace you can maintain for 40 seconds.

Modification: Perform wide and narrow fast feet from a standing position instead of bear crawl. Alternatively, you could jump rope.

7. Push Up + Pop Up Squat Hold + Dumbbell Press Out

Targets: The entire core from head to pelvis. As well as the arms, shoulders, chest, legs, glutes and core. A true full body exercise.

push up pop squat hold and dumbbell press out, cardio and core

How to do Push Up + Pop Up Squat Hold + Dumbbell Press Out:

  1. Start in high plank position, with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, weight evenly distributed amongst all 10 fingers; core engaged. Place a dumbbell between your hands, horizontally.
  2. Hold this push up position, maintaining a straight line with your body, gaze slightly in front of you.
  3. Perform a push up by lowering your chest down towards the ground (or dumbbell). Maintain a straight line with your body. Option to perform the push up with your knees on the mat.
  4. Then step or jump your feet outside the dumbbell into a loaded squat position. Hold at the bottom of the squat as you pick up the dumbbell between your feet. Bring the dumbbell up towards your chest, and then push it out away from your body (the farther you press the dumbbell away from your body the more your core will have to work to stabilize you).
  5. Pull the dumbbell back towards your body and place it on the ground between your feet. Plant your hands to the mat as you step or hop back into a high plank position.
  6. Repeat this movement for 40 seconds.

Modification: Step in instead of jumping into a low squat and step back to plank instead of jumping back to plank. And perform this exercise with just your bodyweight.

8. Side Plank Hip Dip + Crunch (perform on the right side, then left side)

Targets: The obliques, hips, core and shoulders.

side plank hip dip and crunch

How to do Side Plank Hip Dip + Crunch:

  1. Lie on your right side. Place your right forearm flat on the ground, shoulder stacked over elbow. Stack your feet, left foot resting on top of right foot if possible.
  2. Then drop your right hip towards the mat and lift it back up to side plank.
  3. Hold this side plank position. Then, pull your top, left leg up towards your left elbow, bending at the knee (striving for the left knee to meet the left elbow). Flex the muscles along the sides of your body (obliques) to pull the left leg in and keep your hips from sagging.
  4. Return your left leg to starting position, stacked on top of your right foot.
  5. That’s one rep. Repeat this movement for 40 seconds on the right side, then switch sides, performing this on the left side.

Modification: Bend your right knee at 90 degrees and place it on the mat underneath you to help support you; keeping your right knee planted for the entire movement.

9. Plank Jack + Pike Tuck

Targets: The entire core with an extra emphasis on the low abs (during the pike tuck). Another HIIT cardio ab exercise that will increase your heart rate.

plank jack and pike tuck, cardio and ab workout

How to do Plank Jack + Pike Tuck:

  1. Start in a high plank position, shoulders stacked over wrists, core engaged. Straight line fro head to toe.
  2. Keeping your hips square to the ground, jack your legs apart, and then pack together. Performing a plank jack.
  3. Then, use your lower abs to pull your hips up into a “pike” position as you hop your toes up towards your chest.
  4. Hop back to high plank and repeat this plank jack and plank pike for 40 seconds.

Modification: Tap toes out and in instead of jacking them. Then walk your toes towards your chest (on your tip toes) up into a pike position.

30-Minute Fat Burning Cardio Abs Workout beginner abs to advanced abs

Cardio Abs Workout FAQs

unilateral exercises — to stabilize the core as you transfer weight from one side of the body to the other

1. What is your core?

Your core muscles go far beyond your six pack ab muscles. You have 29 core muscles that extend from the base of your head to your pelvis. These muscles are  incorporated in almost EVERY MOVEMENT you make!

2. How do you locate your deep core muscles?

The best position to locate your deep abdominal muscles is just inside your pelvic bones; try this:

  1. Start lying on your back, legs bent at 90 degrees with feet on the mat.
  2. Place two fingers just inside your pelvic bones. As you inhale you should the area inside your pelvic bones is soft.
  3. Then as you exhale this area just inside your pelvic bones should become taught or tense. Those are your deep core muscles.
  4. Also reference instructor cue 3 below.

How do you locate your deep core muscles

Feeling neck pain or like your hip flexors are doing all the work during your ab workouts? Learn how to fix these ab exercise errors in this post: The 18 Best Ab Exercises for Women.

3. How many times a week should I work my abs?

I suggest doing a 5-10 Minute Abs and Core Workouts three times a week. 

If you follow any of my Free Workout Plans, you’ll be working your core daily. I build core training into all of my workouts.

And if you’re working on healing your core post-baby, I suggest doing this 10 Minute Abs After Baby three times a week.

4. Is this cardio ab workout pregnancy-friendly?

If you’re in your first trimester, YES!

However, I would not suggest this ab workout for the second and third trimester. Instead, try these 7 Pregnancy Ab Exercises that are safe for every trimester.

5. Is this ab workout postpartum/Diastasis Recti friendly?

This all depends on where you are in your postpartum and Diastasis Recti repair journey.

If you have less than a 2 finger ab separation I would say this workout is safe for you, just be sure to avoid all coning or doming of the mid-section and take the offered modifications as needed.

If you have greater than a 2-finger ab separation, I would suggest these ab workouts:

  1. 8 Diastasis Recti Recovery Exercise (10 Minute Abs After Baby)
  2. 10-Minute Beginner Abs
  3. 10-Minute Lower Abs Workout

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More of The Best Ab Workouts for Women:

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8 comments
  1. When I saw this workout, I thought “Oh no.” I usually HATE core workouts, and will mainly do workouts with core built in, or short 5-10 minute core workouts, but this was a blast!! Excited to build it into my weekly routine!! Thank you so much!!

    • Hi Winnie! So glad you like this Cardio Abs Workout! This is an advanced core workout and it all depends at where you are with your DR and the tension you can generation across your gap. That said, Rachel is in this video offering modifications for each ab exercise so you can always modify as needed! -Lindsey

  2. This workout was my jam!! Loved the workout and I laughed out loud three times, you girls are awesome! As a mom of 4 little ones, I look forward to these workouts every morning!
    Most importantly, my best friend from childhood is now a missionary in Botswana and we stay connected by doing you 14 and 30 day challenges. We keep each other accountable and it has brought us closer, even though we are worlds apart.
    Thank you!!!!!

    • Yeah Jennifer! So glad you like this workout and got a couple good laughs too! And wow, that’s such a great story I LOVE that you and your friend are able to stay connected through these workouts!!! Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work! -Lindsey

  3. Im participating in the 7 day workout plan and so far so GOOD! I found your youtube channel last year march 2020 during the lockdown and your strength, cardio and barre videos are amazing. thank you!