Why you need to know which is the best cardio workout might seem unclear to anyone new to this site. However, if you are familiar with our articles you will know that one of our four rules for the perfect six pack is including cardio in your training and so it makes sense to find out which is the most effective.
When deciding on which is the best cardio for you the first thing to take into consideration is what physical restrictions (if any) do you have that will limit the type of aerobic exercise that you can do. Depending on your age, weight, fitness level and health problems there might be certain types of this exercise that you cannot do and so before you make your choice about which is the best cardio workout for you you need to eliminate them.
For example, even though interval running is an excellent form of fat burning exercise there is no point in including it in your six pack program if you suffer from weak ankle joints or doggy knees as there will be little prospect of you maintaining this exercise in the long term.
The same consideration should also be given to all other types of aerobic exercise and so do not think that high intensity exercise will be the best cardio workout for you if you are not fit enough to do it at the present time. Instead it makes more sense to start with low intensity cardio and move to the more intense when your fitness has improved sufficiently. This simple but important consideration will prevent you from getting injured unnecessary or becoming disillusioned because you had to stop training.
How Cardio Works.
Cardio is any type of exercise that is sustained for a long period of time and sufficiently raises the heart rate for your body to burn more calories for energy. To provide the extra energy your body will take it from the most ready available sources which are the sugar reserves in the muscles (glycogen) and your fat reserves. The benefit of this for ripped abs is that as long as you follow your six pack abs diet, your cardio will burn even more of the fat that is hiding your six pack and the result is that you get ripped abs quicker.
Types of aerobic exercise.
There are many types of aerobic exercise but broadly speaking they can be put into three different categories, low intensity, moderate intensity and high intensity. How you know which form of intensity the cardio you are doing is depends on the percentage of your maximum heart rate (MHR) during the activity. Low intensity cardio will have an MHR percentage of 60 - 65% of your MHR, moderate will have 65 - 75% and high intensity will have between 75 - 85% of your MHR.
Obviously before you can know what percentage of your maximum heart rate you are working in during exercise you first have to know what your MHR is. The easiest way to work this out is to use this simple formula, take the number 220 and then subtract one for every year of your age so for example a 50 year old man will have a MHR of 220 - 50 = 170. Once you know your MHR the easiest way to monitor it during your cardio is to wear a heart monitor watch.
As to which one of the three types of aerobic exercise is the best cardio workout there are varying opinions depending on how you look at things. Generally speaking low and moderate exercise burns a higher percentage of fat from the calories used but higher intensity exercise burns more calories in total and the bottom line for fat burning is creating a calorie deficit by burning as many calories as possible.
Therefore the best advice for which type of cardio you should do is to first ensure that you are physically capable of doing the one you choose long term, second, consider the amount of time you have to dedicate to your cardio because the higher the intensity the more calories burnt in the same time frame and therefore less time needed and third, remember that any cardio is great for six pack abs so do not be swayed only by what is the best cardio workout for burning calories. Instead choose the one that you will enjoy and therefore stick at.
Speed walking is the best way to begin aerobic exercise for anyone who is unfit, overweight or hasn't trained for some time. The beauty of this form of cardio is that most people can do it for long periods of time even if they are not particularly fit and it is a low intensity aerobic exercise so a high percentage of the calories burnt will be from your bodies fat stores. Another benefit of speed walking is that it is low impact which means even those who cannot run because of joint problems can still walk.
Comments - Speed walking is a pleasant form of exercise especially if you are out in the country and is a great way for anyone to start their fitness journey. However, although a lot of the calories used are in the form of fat, speed walking does not burn as many calories per hour as many other types of cardio. For anyone who can devote up to an hour at a time to their aerobic exercise speed walking should be seriously considered as an option. However, if time is of importance and you are physically fit there are far more effective forms of training for time spent.
hardcoreabexercises rating - For the very fit 6 out of 10. For anyone who cannot do intense cardio and has the time needed (3x 1hour per week) speed walking is perhaps the the best cardio workout and gets 10 out of 10.
Steady paced jogging is a low to moderate intensity form of cardio that burns a high percentage of fat in the calories used. It also builds endurance and helps the body to use oxygen more efficiently. However, one of the downsides of jogging is that it doesn't burn as many calories as intense cardio would in the same time frame. Therefore to be truly effective you need to jog for at least 20 minutes but preferably for as long as 45 minutes in one session. Having said that if you have the time jogging will greatly improve your overall fitness and burn fat without pushing yourself to much.
Comments - Steady paced jogging is one of the quickest ways to get you into shape providing you are fit enough to do it and don't suffer from any kind of joint problems. If you can dedicate the time needed to make jogging effective there is no reason why you shouldn't stick with it long term. However, if you are fit enough there are far more effective forms of fat burning when taking into consideration the time spent doing the activity.
hardcoreabexercises rating - 6 out of 10
Swimming is a very popular form of low intensity exercise and unfortunately many people think it is good for fat burning, it isn't and the reason is because it is a non weight baring form of exercise i.e the water supports your weight meaning your body needs very little energy to do the exercise. This is not to say that swimming isn't a great form of exercise because it is especially for increased flexibility. However, for the purpose of fat burning this in not the best cardio workout and if you are capable of more intense aerobic exercise you should do it.
Comments - Any form of cardio is better than none and so older or less able people should do swimming if they are unable to do much else. However, if you are fit and want a six pack you need to get out of the water and get into the gym or on the track.
hardcoreabexercises rating - 4 out of 10 unless you can't do much else.
Step aerobics is a very popular form of cardio that can be very effective. It is usually of moderate intensity but obviously the intensity and calories burned depends on the structure of the class and how much the individual puts into it.
Comments - Generally speaking Step aerobics is a great form of fat burning and many people find that the class nature of it is enjoyable and pushes them harder than they would if they were training on their own. The only down side to step aerobics is that it can be of a high impact nature and it will therefore not be the best cardio workout for everyone.
hardcoreabexercises rating - 8 out of 10
My three personal favourite forms of cardio
As a former boxer I am biased but even so I can say from experience that a boxing session that includes skipping, shadow boxing, heavy bag work and bodyweight circuits is the best cardio workout that there is. After all you really see a fat boxer enter the ring and if he is fat it is always because he hasn't trained before the fight. Besides being an awesome form of fat burning other benefits of boxing training include self defence, improved co-ordination and confidence and don't forget just how much fun it is.
Comments - Because of the intensity and high impact nature of boxing training this form of exercise will not suitable for everyone. However, for those who can do it there is no better fat burning on the planet.
hardcoreabexercises rating - 10 out of 10
Circuit training involves doing a number of bodyweight or weight training exercises one immediately after another for one circuit and then a rest of between 30 - 60 seconds before repeating the sequence a given number of times. This is a very high intensity form of exercise that normally lasts for between 10 - 20 minutes and for the time spent doing it it is probably the second best cardio workout that there is. I personally do circuit training twice per week and have found it one of the most important parts of getting my six pack abs.
Comments - Because of its intense nature there is nothing pleasant about circuit training when you are doing it but it does give you a wonderful feeling once you have finished. Besides its effectiveness at burning fat another benefit of circuit training is that it is one of the few forms of cardio that also strengthens the muscles of the body and therefore allows you to keep more muscle mass during dieting than other aerobic exercises. However the high intensity of this form of exercise means it will not be the best cardio workout for everyone.
hardcoreabexercises rating - 10 out of 10
Interval running generally involves sprinting for a given distance (normally 50 - 100 metres) and then jogging for the same distance before repeating the cycle for as many times as desired. Again I speak from experience when I say that this form of training is truly awesome for both fat burning and improving fitness.
Comments - This is a high intensity high impact form of training that some people will be unable to do. However, for fat burning interval running is up there with boxing and circuit training so anyone who can do it should if they want six pack abs in double quick time.
hardcoreabexercises rating 10 out of 10
Although you can get ripped abs without doing any cardio whatsoever including it in your training plan speeds up the process and also gives the benefit of improved health and fitness. As to which is the best cardio workout it depends on the physical characteristics and likes of the individual. Ensure that you choose a form of cardio that you are capable of doing and don't make the mistake of choosing a type of cardio just because it is more efficient at burning calories. Instead the best cardio workout will be the one that you most enjoy because then you are far more likely to stick with it in the long term. This will then ensure great abs and health and fitness.
Find out more about why a fat burning diet is crucial for a great six pack and why so many people fail.