Training

Dumbbell Exercises For Abs | Do More For Your Core

If you didn’t know already, now’s the time to embrace more variety in your ab workouts with dumbbell exercises for abs. One of the best ways to tone and strengthen your core is resistance training, so while you’ve been standing, curling or shoulder pressing, all this time there’s a good chance you weren’t counting this an abs exercise.

Why Use Dumbbells Exercises for Abs?

Far too often, a one-track mind sees many gym goers miss the opportunity for gains. Want bigger quads? The answer is squats. Bigger chest? Bench press. Beastly wings? Seated rows. Whether your aim is bigger arms, or more toned pecs, people almost always leave ‘abs’ off the list of supporting muscle that an exercise develops.

As core stabilisers, your abs come into play when you’re performing just about any exercise that requires resistance and balance.

Dumbbells are so important in strengthening your core because they iron out asymmetry. You may not be all that conscious of it, but your body is not perfectly symmetrical and the likes of machines and barbells can encourage you to favour your stronger side, which will ultimately take an effect on the development of your core strength. This can affect your symmetry, posture, balance and cause injuries in the longer run.

Because dumbbells mean that each arm and the muscles of each side of your torso will work independently of one another, a few choice dumbbell exercises can provide the resistance that activates your core and tones and strengthens your abs, all while burning calories because of the number of muscle fibres you’ll be hitting.

So, where do we begin? Check out these six dumbbell exercises for abs to strengthen your entire core.

 

Dumbbell Exercises for Abs

 

 

1. Straight-Arm Climb

Why it works


This is one of the best dumbbell exercises for abs as involves a twist that will work your sides, but will also see you engage your core to keep steady and stable as you lower each shoulder to the ground. It will also work your core to keep your arms out.


How to do it


Lying on your back on the floor, extend your arms straight in front of you, as if you’re bench pressing. Lift your head off the floor. Then, alternating each arm, lift your shoulder off the floor and press as if reaching to climb and lower to the floor, doing the same on the other side.


Reps and sets


3 sets of 20.

 

2. Swing

Why it works


This move involves a hip hinge that sees you engage your core and also your posterior chain. This is a good addition as it will give your hips some much needed attention. Remember, muffin tops run all around your waistline, not just in front of you.


How to do it


Holding a dumbbell in both hands, bend from your hips and lower the weight between your legs, then push your hips forward to raise it up to the height of your shoulders.


Reps and sets


3 sets of 15.

 

3. Side Bend

Why it works


As with the last two, it’s important to arm yourself with abs exercises that aren’t all about your front and the popular up-down crunch motion. Side bends are simple and effective for your obliques, which can help your rotational strength.


How to do it


Standing upright, hold a dumbbell in one hand at your side and lower the weight, bending at the hip so that you feel the resistance up your side.


Reps and sets


3 sets of 15 on each side.

 

4. Crunch

Why it works


OK – so we’ve been preaching about moving away from the standard crunch, but it is still an important exercise in stimulating your abs. It can iron out the negatives of sitting too much throughout the day, too. Adding a dumbbell (or one in each hand) take the resistance to the next level.


How to do it


Lie flat on the floor with your knees bent, hold a dumbbell to your chest with both hands and crunch.


Reps and sets


3 sets of 15.

 

5. Russian Twist

Why it works


This will hammer your lower abs. By keeping your feet up, you place the strain on both the tops and bottoms of your abs. The twist will put your obliques to work and holding the weights will add extra strain.


How to do it


Begin as if about to crunch, but lift your feet off the ground. Holding a dumbbell, or one in each hand, twist to one side and then the other.


Reps and sets


3 sets of 10.

6. Bow-and-Arrow Squat Pull

Why it works


This brings your back into play, working your lats and the muscles associated with rowing, but also causes your abs to contract as you twist.


How to do it


Standing in the squat position, bend at the waist and lower your chest, reaching your arms to the floor. Form a bow and arrow action by bringing one arm back and bending the elbow and reaching the opposite arm straight to the floor.


Reps and sets


3 sets of 15 reps on each side.

 

Take Home Message

Your core muscles are much more than just your six pack. They move in all directions, not just the up and down movement of crunches, but twisting, turning, stretching and rotating as well. They also play a major part in your stability. For that reason, to get the most out of your ab workouts, you should put them to work in as many ways as you can and dumbbells are a great way to do just that.

Enjoy this article on the best dumbbell exercises for abs?

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Jack Boardman

Jack Boardman

Contributor

Jack is a fitness and nutrition writer who specialises in weightlifting, boxing and MMA training.


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