dumbbell abs exercises
Fitness

13 Core-Busting Dumbbell Abs Exercises

Your abdominals are a muscle and just like any muscle they need resistance to get stronger. Training your abs with dumbbells will allow you to effectively work all areas of your midsection.

In this article, I’ll lay out 13 of the most effective dumbbell abs exercises to provide you with almost endless workout options. 

1. Weighted V Sit

Muscles worked

Rectus abdominis

Equipment used 

Single dumbbell

Step-by-step how-to 

  1. Lie on the floor on your back with arms extended overhead and dumbbell held between your hands. Your legs should be straight with feet together.
  2. From this starting position, hinge at the hips as you bring your upper and lower body up to form a V shape. 
  3. Keep your arms straight as the dumbbell comes up. 
  4. Lower and repeat
  5. Do 3 sets of 10 reps. 

Tips

Do not round your back.

2. Overhead to Squat

Muscles worked

Abdominal muscles, quadriceps

Equipment used 

None

Step-by-step how-to 

  1. Get down on the floor with knees bent and a dumbbell held at arm’s length in front of your stomach.
  2. From this starting position, lock up so that you rise to a crouching position with feet flat on the floor, standing in a full squat position with the dumbbell held directly out in front of you.
  3. Lower and repeat.
  4. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Tips

Move between your reps in a fluid, nonstop manner. Keep your arms straight throughout the movement. 

3. Knees to Chest

Muscles worked

Abdominal muscles

Equipment used 

Single dumbbell

Step-by-step how-to 

  1. Lie on the floor on your back with your legs extended and a dumbbell held between your feet and your arms at your sides. Bring your torso and knees up so they are both off the floor.
  2. From this starting position, draw your knees and chest toward one another.
  3. Reverse the movement, keeping your feet and torso off the floor.
  4. Perform 3 sets of 12 reps. 

Tips

Do not round your back.

4. Side Plank Weight Raise

Muscles worked

Obliques, intercostals

Related Post:  22 Killer Bodyweight Core Exercises For Abs

Equipment used 

Single dumbbell

Step-by-step how-to 

  1. Get down on the floor on your side with your legs in top of each other. Rest on your bottom forearm and hold a light dumbbell in your other hand. 
  2. From this starting position, rise up to the top of a side plank position.
  3. Bring the arm holding the dumbbell across and under your body.
  4. Pivot from the shoulder joint to bring your arm up above your torso to full extension.
  5. Lower and repeat.
  6. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

Tips

Keep your body rigid throughout the entire movement.

5. Seated Dumbbell Crunch

Muscles worked

Rectus abdominis

Equipment used 

Dumbbell

Step-by-step how-to 

  1. Sit on a bench with a dumbbell held against your chest and your feet firmly on the floor.
  2. From this starting position, crunch your torso down toward your hips and tense your abs strongly.
  3. Return to the start position and repeat.
  4. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

Tips

Forcefully contract the abs in the end position.

6. Weighted Russian Twist

Muscles worked

Obliques, intercostals

Equipment used 

Dumbbell

Step-by-step how-to 

  1. Sit on your butt with a dumbbell held at your stomach, and your knees bent.
  2. Twist to the right as you bring the dumbbell across and down to the floor. Touch the weight to the floor.
  3. Bring the dumbbell back to the central position and then across to the left side and down to the floor.
  4. Continue alternating from side to side to complete your reps.
  5. Do 3 sets of 15 reps. 

Tips

Don’t go too heavy on your weight selection; keep it manageable to maintain proper form.

7. Dumbbell Ab Slam

Muscles worked

Core muscles

Equipment used 

Dumbbell

Step-by-step how-to 

  1. Stand with you feet wider than shoulder width and a dumbbell held between your hands in front of your body at shoulder height.
  2. Contract your abs as your bend your knees slightly. Bring your hands overhead and then forcefully drive them down to the start position.
  3. Reverse and repeat.
  4. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

Tips

Maintain a slight knee bend throughout the movement. 

8. Dumbbell Oblique Twist

Muscles worked

Obliques, intercostals

Equipment used 

Dumbbell

Step-by-step how-to 

  1. Hold a pair of dumbbells out to your sides at arm’s length. 
  2. Keeping your arms straight, rotate from the hips to bring your right arm directly in front of your body and your left arm behind. 
  3. Reverse the position to bring your left arm forward and right arm back behind you.
  4. Continue this motion back and forth to get a full oblique extension.
Related Post:  T-Bar Row: Proper Form, Mistakes to Avoid, Variations

Tips

Forcefully contract the obliques on every rep to develop rotational strength on this weighted twist.

9. Dumbbell X-Up

Muscles worked

Entire core area

Equipment used 

Dumbbell

Step-by-step how-to 

  1. Lie on the floor on your back with your legs out straight and wide apart. Hold a dumbbell in your hands overhead and to the left.
  2. Without rounding your back, bring your torso up and across to the right as you bring your arms across and down to the touch the floor.
  3. Lower back down and repeat.
  4. Do the same number of reps on each side.
  5. Perform 10 reps on each side.

Tips

Maintain a natural arch on your lower back throughout the movement.

10. Dumbbell Superman Pass

Muscles worked

Abs muscle, spinal erectors

Equipment used 

Dumbbell

Step-by-step how-to 

  1. Lie on your stomach on the floor with legs and arms outstretched and a pair of light dumbbells in your hands. 
  2. Arch your upper body to lift your hands and feet into the air.
  3. Hold the arched position, bring your straightened arms down and to the sides to reach shoulder level.
  4. Return and repeat.
  5. Do 3 sets of 12 reps. 

Tips

Hold the contracted upper body position for 2-3 seconds on each rep. Do not use a heavy dumbbell on this exercise. Pull your shoulder blades together in the top position.

11. Dumbbell Plank Lean And Drag

Muscles worked

Entire core area

Equipment used 

Dumbbell

Step-by-step how-to 

  1. Get down in the top pushup position. A dumbbell should be on the floor just to the right of your body. 
  2. Reach under your torso with your left hand to grab hold of the dumbbell.
  3. Drag the dumbbell across the floor to place it to the left side of your body.
  4. Reverse the action to drag the weight back to its starting position.
  5. Perform 3 sets of 12 reps in each side. 

Tips

Keep your core tight and your body rigid the entire time. 

12. Dumbbell Burpee

Muscles worked

Abs, shoulders, quadriceps, biceps

Equipment used 

Dumbbell

Step-by-step how-to 

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart and a pair of dumbbells held at arm’s length.
  2. Drop down to the ground and kick your legs back to get into the top push up position, resting on the dumbbells.
  3. Perform a push up.
  4. Bring your legs back to your hands and jump back to the starting position.
  5. Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
Related Post:  Asian Squat Exercise Guide: Muscles Worked, Benefits, Alternatives

Tips

Perform your reps in a fluid, continuous manner

13. Overhead Side Bend

Muscles worked

Obliques, intercostals

Equipment used 

Dumbbell

Step-by-step how-to 

  1. Assume a standing position with your feet shoulder level apart with a dumbbell held overhead between your hands at arm’s length.
  2. Twist to the left side by bringing your arms over and down to the right.
  3. Return and repeat.
  4. Do 3 sets of 12 reps on each side. 

Tips

Keep your feet wide apart; do not bend your elbows. 

Conclusion

The thirteen dumbbell ab exercises provided in this article will work your entire core, developing core strength and power. Use these abdominal dumbbell exercises as the basis of your core workout routines, choosing 2 or 3 of them to combine into an 8 set routine, with reps ranging from 30 to 10 reps.

Train your abs every 5 days with your dumbbell ab workout to provide the best results. If you are also trying to lose fat from your belly, eat 500 calories behind your daily maintenance level each day. You should also do cardio 3-4 times per week.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I have a flat tummy?

The only way to get a flat tummy is to burn off stored body fat to bring down your body fat percentage. To do that you must create a caloric deficit by eating fewer calories than you burn each day. Combine this with cardio exercise to burn calories. Doing ab-specific exercises will not burn fat. It will build core strength and build the muscles that lie beneath the body fat. 

Do weights help abs?

Yes, weights help to make your abdominal muscles stronger. Weights will also build your abs muscles, though the rectus abdominis muscles do not have the capacity to get very much bigger.

Do squats work abs?

Squats will work your abs to a degree. Keep your core tight and your stomach pulled in as you squat to maximize the ab involvement in the squat movement. Squats alone, however, will not get you six-pack abs.

Steve Theunissen

Steve Theunissen is a former gym owner and personal trainer based in Tauranga, New Zealand. He is the author of six hardcopy books and more than a hundred ebooks on the topics of bodybuilding, fitness, and fat loss.

You may also like...