Cardio-Core Combo: Sample Workout

by Crystal Powers on Dec 16, 2016

Help participants work their core with a miniroutine that approaches muscles from different angles while elevating heart rates. Mix 30-second cardio intervals with athletic, integrated core exercises that load the upper body and lower body simultaneously. Here’s how you do it: Teach continuous movement as you alternate between 30 seconds of “cardio-core” and 2 minutes of recovery-pace core work (which includes the transition time from one move to the next). Use dumbbells for added load in every plane of motion as you bend, stand, reach, rotate, catch and brace.

A Sample Menu

Following are some teaching suggestions with examples of both elements:

Cardio: Demonstrate the exercise, and cue students to do as many reps as they can safely do in 30 seconds. Encourage them to go breathless. All moves include dumbbells but can be done without them if necessary.

  • forward jump with snatch
  • lateral hop lunge with overhead arch
  • standing broad jump with chest press
  • lateral jump to vertical jump
  • sumo jump-squat with snatch
  • split-lunge hold while holding dumbbells overhead
  • power skater with reach
  • tuck jump with 180-degree hop

Recovery-pace core work: Self-select reps, and cycle through for 2 minutes:

  • lateral walking plank with superman reach
  • static crab with alternating elbow and knee pulls, then reverse plank
  • plank variations (choose two): ski jumps, donkey kicks, frog jumps, jacks
  • alternating forward lunges while passing dumbbell between legs
  • side plank with three hip pulses, low front hover and alternating hip-taps
  • halo with lateral lunge, forward lunge or reverse lunge
  • squats with knee-lift oblique crunch, alternating crossover crunch or sumo prisoner oblique crunch

Put It Together

Below are two examples of how the concept works in action.

Interval One

Jumping dumbbell snatch (cardio):

  • Start with feet in narrow position, holding dumbbell with both hands (at thighs).
  • Jump or step forward and catch dumbbell overhead in a snatch (brace core).
  • Land in wide squat to absorb landing.
  • Jump or step back to narrow feet.
  • Return dumbbell to thigh, and repeat.
  • Lateral walking plank with superman reach (recovery pace, 4 reps each; 2 minutes):
  • Begin in standard plank position.
  • Add superman: Extend opposite arm and leg (alternate).
  • Add walking plank, moving to side.
  • Repeat superman reach.
  • Repeat walking plank, opposite direction.

For interval two, please see “Ditch the Crunches!” in the online IDEA Library or in the November–December 2016 print edition of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at 800-999-4332, ext. 7.

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About the Author

Crystal Powers

Crystal Powers IDEA Author/Presenter

Crystal Powers has worked in the fitness industry for more than 25 years. She has been certified as an ACE professional since 1990 and thereafter achieved her B.Sc. Exercise and Nutritional Science from SDSU. Powers is a personal fitness trainer, group exercise instructor, fitness and wellness director and a member of the IDEA Program Director Committee for 4 years. Crystal is also a freelance photographer and writer, public speaker and presenter. She has worked with corporate wellness centers, community recreation facilities, private health clubs, non-profits, colleges, universities, international resorts and as an international P.E. instructor and presenter.