If you’re like most people, reaching for your dumbbells during an ab workout probably doesn’t even cross your mind. Well, I have 4 exercises to target your core. Introducing your dumbbells to your ab workout could be just the thing you need to shake up your exercises and target your core. Break out of the monotony of the typical repetitive core exercises and workout your entire core with dumbbells and these moves.
There are two main ways to work out your abs. The first is through movement that is targeting your abs such as traditional crunches. The other type of exercise is known as “anti-movement.” These types of exercises work by training your core to resist movement, which in turn boosts your core strength. While many of these anti-movement exercises can look like traditional ab exercises, most of them work double-time by serving as upper and lower-body exercises as well. By strengthening your core you can function better in your everyday life as well as prevent or reduce your lower back pain.
This move works double time by targeting both your upper and lower abs. Start this move by lying on the floor and use both hands to hold the dumbbell over your head. Next, bring your arms and feet up from the floor at the same time until your body makes a “V” shape. Once the “V” shape is achieved, lower yourself gently back down to the floor and repeat. The leg raise works your lower abs while the overhead dumbbell raise works the upper core. It’s a win-win!
Talk about a killer ab workout! This move will have your abs burning without ever getting off of the floor. Start by sitting on a hard surface with knees bent in front of you. Keep your heels on the floor by flexing your feet. Hold a weight in front of you with both hands and lean your torso back until you feel your ab muscles engage. Now, slowly twist your torso from side to side. Keep your core tight and don’t forget to breathe!
This exercise targets your hip flexors, lower ab muscles, and lower back muscles. To begin, lie on the floor with your legs flat on the floor in front of you. Grip a dumbbell between your ankles while keeping your back flat on the floor. Raise your legs until you reach a 45-degree angle, keeping the dumbbell clutched between your ankles. Once you have reached that angle (or as close as you can), lower your legs back to the floor.
Ever wonder why lumberjacks have such strong cores? Try this wood chop exercise to find out! Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and grab a dumbbell. While engaging your core, hold the dumbbell by your left leg with both hands. Now, raise your arms up diagonally in front of you until you reach the upper right of your reach. Let your toes and torso rotate naturally while you twist to avoid injury. Bring the weight back down across your body to your left leg, still allowing your torso and toes to rotate naturally. Keep your lower half stable and focus on using your core to rotate. Move the dumbbell to your right leg and repeat the process on that side.
String together a few of these exercises for a simple and effective dumbbell core workout. I recommend doing 10-12 reps of each move and repeating the circuit three times. Just like working any other muscle, it’s really important to spread out when you work out your core. I recommend working out your core with dumbbells twice a week with a rest day in between. These moves may seem uncomplicated, but they make for an effective ab workout and will have you on your way to a stronger core in no time.