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7 Core Exercises With Dumbbells for Sturdy, Ironclad Abs

 Core Exercises With Dumbbells: Russian Twist

If you want to blast your ab muscles and get a solid core, you don’t need a bunch of fancy gym equipment. 

Don’t get me wrong, you can use gym equipment if that's your preference, but if your access to a gym is a bit limited lately, your abs and lower back don’t have to suffer for it. 

Here, I’ll show you 7 best core exercises with dumbbells that you can use from the comfort of your living room...

…to get the abs of your dreams AND bulletproof your core at the same time! 


Why Core Exercises With Dumbbells? 

When it comes to working out your abs, you have 3 options: 

- Bodyweight 

- Gym Equipment 

- Or Dumbbells 

There isn’t one right option here, but let’s explore the benefits of core exercises with dumbbells! 

Core Exercises With Dumbbells Are More Convenient Than Gym Equipment

Going to the gym isn’t for everyone–or for every phase of life. If you have a busy day and can’t make it to the gym, it’s great knowing that you can still easily complete an ab workout from home. 

All you need is a set of dumbbells stored under your bed or in the closet, and you’re set. 

No excuses. 

Core Exercises With Dumbbells Add More Intensity Than Bodyweight

If you already have a solid bodyweight core workout that you’re using, but it’s getting a bit stale, adding dumbbells can amp up the intensity of your core workout! 

The added weight from dumbbells stops your muscles from plateauing–just solely resisting against your body weight, and the weight from the dumbbells engages your core muscles in a whole new way! [1]


Core Exercises With Dumbbells: Get a Six-Pack And Stabilize Your Back! 

What’s not to lose? When you perform core exercises with dumbbells, you really do get it all: sculpted abs and a bulletproof spine. 

I’ll show you a variety of: 

- Best Core Exercises With Dumbbells

- Standing Core Exercises With Dumbbells 

- Stability Core Exercises With Dumbbells (focusing on balance)  


Dumbbell Ab Exercise #1: The Russian Twist 

The Russian twist is one of the best core exercises with dumbbells because it’s a basic movement packed with a lot of power. Adding dumbbells can elevate your performance, increasing your stability and strength. 

How to Perform This Dumbbell Core Exercise

  1. Sit on the floor or a yoga mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. 
  1. Lean your torso back, forming a 45-degree angle with the floor. 
  1. Hold one dumbbell in both hands–out in front of your chest. 
  1. Lift your feet off the ground, keeping your core engaged. 
  1. Twist your torso, and use both hands to bring the kettlebell down to one side near your hip. 
  1. Then, bring it to the other side, repeating these reps at a steady pace for 10-12 reps. 


Core Exercises With Dumbbells: Russian Twist

Core Exercises With Dumbbells: Russian Twist


Dumbbell Ab Exercise #2: Dumbbell Bird Dog 

Bird Dogs are one of the best great stability core exercises with dumbbells because they work your abs while simultaneously building balance. Using dumbbells means your arms and shoulders are working alongside your core and lower back.  

How to Perform This Dumbbell Core Exercise

  1. On a yoga mat, get in a table-top position on hands and knees. Hands should be just below your shoulders and knees hip-width apart. 
  1. Point one arm out straight in front of you, holding a dumbbell in this arm. Simultaneously extend out the opposite leg. During this motion, your hips should be squared to the ground and not twisting or moving. 
  1. Hold for a few seconds. Then return to your hands and knees. 
  1. Switch to perform the motion with the other side. 
  1. Complete for 5 reps on each side for a set. 


Core Exercises With Dumbbells: Bird DogCore Exercises With Dumbbells: Bird Dog
To learn how the Bird Dog is used by Dr. Stuart McGill as an exercise to relieve lower back pain, click HERE


Dumbbell Ab Exercise #3: Dumbbell Wood Chop 

One of the most active standing core exercises with dumbbells, the dumbbell wood chop is a total body workout that’s great for the core and fun to perform! 

How to Perform This Dumbbell Core Exercise

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. 
  1. Hold a dumbbell with both hands. 
  1. Keep your eyes on the dumbbell as you use both hands to raise it over your right shoulder. 
  1. Now twist your torso and squat, bringing the dumbbell across your body and down toward your left hip. Keep your eyes on the dumbbell the whole time. 
  1. Repeat for 10-12 reps. Then switch sides. 


Core Exercises With Dumbbells: Wood Chop

Core Exercises With Dumbbells: Wood Chop


Dumbbell Ab Exercise #4: Dumbbell Side Plank

Any time you perform a plank, you’re working on your balance. Add weight to it, and that’s just cruel. It also gives you a lot more stamina and stability. 

This is one of the best stability core exercises with dumbbells! 

How to Perform This Dumbbell Core Exercise

  • 1. Start in a side plank position, using your right forearm to balance yourself on the floor. Your body should be turned sideways with hips elevated and feet stacked. 

  • 2. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand, and extend this arm up as you hold the side plank position. 

    3. Hold for 15-30 seconds; then switch sides.


    Core Exercises With Dumbbells: Dumbbell Side Plank


    Dumbbell Ab Exercise #5: Dumbbell Swing

    This is one of my favorite standing core exercises with dumbbells because it gets the heart rate pumping and gives the whole body a workout! 

    How to Perform This Dumbbell Core Exercise

    1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. 
    1. Hold a single dumbbell with both hands. 
    1. Maintaining a flat back, push your hips back, and slightly bend your knees. 
    1. Swing the dumbbell between your legs until it goes behind you. 
    1. Then, contract your glutes, and thrust your hips forward, bringing the dumbbell up to chest height. 
    1. Let the dumbbell lower back to between your legs, and repeat. 


    Core Exercises With Dumbbells: Dumbbell Swing

    Core Exercises With Dumbbells: Dumbbell Swing


    Dumbbell Ab Exercise #6: Waiter’s Walk 

    Back when I worked as a waiter, my manager made me carry an empty tray above my head and do loops around the restaurant. Replace the tray with a dumbbell, and you have a waiter’s walk! 

    How to Perform This Dumbbell Core Exercise

    1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
    1. Hold a dumbbell in one hand, and extend your arm above your head. 
    1. Hold the dumbbell up in the air as you walk forward about 10 yards. 
    1. Then, walk back to your starting position.
    1. Repeat on the other side. 


    Core Exercises With Dumbbells: Waiter's Walk


    Dumbbell Ab Exercise #7: Dumbbell Oblique Twist 

    This dumbbell core exercise works your obliques and requires a fast tempo! 

    How to Perform This Dumbbell Core Exercise

    1. Lie on your back on a yoga mat. 
    1. Straighten your right leg while bending the left–keeping the bent leg flat against the ground, and the bottom of your left foot on your right leg. 
    1. Holding one dumbbell between two hands, extend your arms out straight over your head. 
    1. Now use your core to push yourself up into a sit-up position, keeping your arms straight out in front of you. 
    1. Once you’re up, twist your torso to the left side, continuing to hold your arms out straight with the dumbbell. 
    1. Twist back to return to the center. 
    1. Lower your torso back down to the floor. 
    1. Then, do it all over again on the other side. 


    Core Exercises With Dumbbells: Dumbbell Oblique Twist

    Core Exercises With Dumbbells: Dumbbell Oblique Twist


    How Core Exercises With Dumbbells Can Help Your Lower Back Pain

    Picture this: You just finished a long day at work–sitting in that office chair that probably needs an upgrade. 

    Honestly, you feel the nagging lower back pain start to annoy you as soon as you stand up to leave, but you try to ignore it. 

    Once you’re home, the dull, aching pain in your back makes you want to do anything but move. So, you sit on the couch, flip on the TV, and do your best to keep your mind off the throbbing. 

    If this is your life, something’s gotta give, and it can’t be your quality of life. 

    At Back Muscle Solutions, we believe people are not meant to accept lower back pain as a new reality, and we really enjoy kicking lower back pain in the butt! 

    And we believe this because we have been there–dealing with our own lower back pain. 

    Don’t Let Your Lower Back Bully You Into Staying Sedentary

    It might seem like the last thing you want to do, but believe it or not: staying sedentary while suffering from lower back pain only continues the cycle of pain. 

    Plus, physical activity has been proven a way to increase both emotional and mental health! [2

    That’s why I recommend adding in some basic exercises to strengthen your lower back and your core. 

    Add Lower Back Exercises Into the Mix

    If you’re interested in lower back exercises, I recommend checking out Back of Steel: our spine-strengthening workout routine, which provides guidance and accountability while stepping you through some of our favorite lower back exercises

    But Don’t Forget Your Core! 

    But lower back pain relief doesn’t just stop at lower back exercises. Your abs and core are deeply connected to your lower back health, and that’s why I recommend adding some core exercises with dumbbells to your daily workout routine. [3] (Also check out our page on the McGill Crunch!)

    In fact, when I first injured my back, core exercises provided me with some of the only relief I felt. In comparison, when I sat down for hours on end, my lower back pain was at its worst. 

    So, if your personal goal is to have more sculpted abs and a stronger lower back, you’re in the right place. 

    At Back Muscle Solutions, our goal is to help you get educated on workout, fitness, and health routines that work for you! 


    More Resources on Core Exercises for Lower Back Pain

    Revisiting our earlier scene: Imagine being able to get up from long hours sitting at work, realizing that you don’t even have to think twice about the act of getting up! 

    Your core feels strong and engaged all day from all those dumbbell core exercises you’ve been doing, and your lower back doesn’t have that dull ache nagging in the background. 

    With feeling so good, you might just go for a run once you get back home! Go you. 

    And as we know, with more movement, the stronger your back will be! 

    As I mentioned earlier, we’ve got loads of resources when it comes to working out with lower back pain, and if the core is your area of focus, we’ve got you covered. 

    Check out some of our YouTube videos below: 

    Back Pain Relief Exercises: 3 Ways To Strengthen Your Core... Without Hurting Your Back

    3 Core Strengthening Exercises for Lower Back Stability

    Best Core Workout For Lower Back Pain Relief (AND Your Dream Abs)

    2 Spinal Stability Exercises For Serious Core Strength


    Core Exercises With Dumbbells FAQs 

    Can you use dumbbells for core workouts?

    Absolutely! Adding dumbbells to your core workout routine is more convenient than going to the gym. It’s like getting the benefit of gym machines but in your own home. What’s not to love about that? 

    Are dumbbells good for your core?

    Yes, dumbbells provide extra resistance as you complete core exercises–meaning that your muscles will no longer just plateau from only resisting your body weight. [1] 

    Does a 20-minute ab workout just once a week build a solid core?

    Typically, it is recommended to complete an ab workout 2-3 times per week–with each workout lasting 10-30 minutes for effective results. 

    How do you get a flat stomach with dumbbells?

    Core exercises with dumbbells can be a great way to get a flat stomach and sculpted abs. Remember too, that nutrition is a huge part of getting low enough body fat, so your strong abs can show through. 

    Can I lose belly fat with dumbbells?

    Dumbbells are used to build muscle. Muscle gets its spotlight when you lose enough fat to show the muscle you’ve worked so hard to gain. 

    So, how do you lose belly fat? I recommend HIIT workouts: high-intensity interval training. It's a great way to get your heart rate up and also shed pounds. These short bursts of energy output lead to many calories burned–even hours after the workout is done. 

    I also recommend this article: “6 Amazing Back Fat Exercises to Help You Scrub the Flub.” 







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