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Our favourite core exercises using dumbbells


Ready to take your abs and core routine up a notch? Adding some extra resistance is one way to make your core workouts more challenging. Here's our favourite core exercises using a dumbbell which we've combined into a workout targeting all ab muscles for you try, at home or in the gym.

Core strengthening exercises using a dumbbell

Perform each exercise for 40 seconds then rest for 20 seconds. This equals one set.  Complete 3 sets for each exercise and then move on to the next exercise.

Full body crunch

Targeting upper abs

  1. Lie on your back holding the sides of a dumbbell. 
  2. Extend your arms above your head and legs out, keeping the shoulders off the floor with the dumbbell a few inches off the floor.
  3. Drive your knees in towards your body whilst bringing your arms up and over your knees, as you squeeze the abs to perform a crunch.
  4. Slowly extend your knees and arms overhead to return back to starting position.


Targeting obliques

  1. Stand with feet hip distance apart.
  2. Hold the sides of a dumbbell in front of you.
  3. Bend into a half squat position and bring the dumbbell next to the outside of your left thigh.
  4. Twist your torso the side and lift the weight up and across your body with straight arms, using your core to control the movement.
  5. Reverse the movement to return back to starting position.

Lying leg raise

Targeting lower abs

  1. Lie on your back holding the sides of a dumbbell.
  2. Extend your arms towards the ceiling so the dumbbell is above your chest.
  3. Keeping both legs are straight as you can, lift them up towards the ceiling and lower them slowly back down. Make sure to push your lower back to the ground throughout the movement.

Dumbbell drags

Targeting entire core

  1. Start in a high plank position with a dumbbell placed on the floor, next to one of your hands.
  2. Lift the opposite arm, reach for the dumbbell and drag it across towards the other side, whilst trying to keep your hips square while doing so.
  3. Place the moving arm back into high plank and repeat with the other hand.

Including core exercises into your weekly workout routine is recommended as it can help to improve posture, core strength and stability, and performance in daily functioning and in sports. For more ab workouts, check out our Ab workouts and exercise section

Looking for more ways to use dumbbells? Why not try this full body dumbbell only workout for beginners. Or download the free PureGym app for over 600 workout ideas!

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