Dumbbell Abs Exercises

Wanted to level up your ab exercises routine? You can try getting a pair of dumbbells and sculpting your abs and obliques with some of the effective circuit workouts we identified. 

Having a well-chiseled ab not only looks good but will also help you accomplish daily duties more quickly such as carrying stuff into the house, picking up heavy things, or performing any lifting activities. You’ll also gain a better balance, posture, and stability.  

Dumbbells are relatively small, affordable, and can easily be incorporated into a wide variety of exercises including strengthening your core. 

Also, weighted ab exercises using dumbbells allow you to tone both sides of your body equally without putting any burden on one of them. It can further help engage the core muscles and enhance your workout, giving you a better result in a shorter span of time. 

With that said, we listed the best dumbbell abs exercises that you can try to amp up your core strength and improve your overall abdominal muscles! 

If you’re interested to know more about it, keep reading.

[You might also want to read about Dumbbell Back Exercises]

Best Dumbbell Ab Exercises

1. Seated Russian Twist

This Simple 9-Move Beginner Gym Workout Promises to Ease You Towards  Serious Results | 30 minute workout gym, Gym workout for beginners, Gym  workouts

This workout focuses on the obliques and rectus abdominis. It puts your rotational strength to the test, something most gym-goers tend to skip and neglect. Dumbbells add resistance to this classic exercise while also allowing you to concentrate on the form and engage more fully.

How to Do it

  • To do this ab training exercise, sit on the floor with your knees bent and your heels on the ground.
  • Hold a dumbbell in front of your chest, lean back at around 45 degrees angle to keep your core tight and engaged. 
  • Gradually turn your upper body to the left, return to the center, then repeat to the right side and return to the starting position. 
  • That is 1 rep. 

2. Dumbbell Crunches 

Well, if you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with the popular abdominal exercise, crunches. Adding dumbbells to your crunches basically adds resistance to intensify the workout, especially when your body weight is no longer a challenge for you.

This abs workout primarily targets the rectus abdominis muscle and the obliques, allowing you to tighten up your belly and build that six-pack abs you aim for. 

Just like the first ab workout, this also requires just one dumbbell. 

How to Do it

  • Lay your back on a mat, knees bent with your left foot and right foot apart. 
  • This time hold a dumbbell on top of your chest.
  • Engage your core as you roll off your shoulder slightly up the floor while raising your right arm and left arm straight at the same time.

3. Alternating Overhead Press

Buff Dudes Dumbbell Alternating Shoulder Press GIF by Buff Dudes | Gfycat

The alternating overhead press strengthens the muscles in the entire shoulder region. While aggressively working the core, alternately performing the exercise will promote balance and stability on both sides of the body.

When performing this core exercise, always keep your lower back straight and core tighten. 

How to Do it

  • Start off in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart.
  • With your palms facing forward and elbows bent, hold a dumbbell in each hand slightly over shoulder height. 
  • Raise one dumbbell above your head while keeping the other dumbbell stationary. Maintain a tall posture by keeping your chest high and shoulders back. 
  • Return to the starting position and repeat on both sides. Don’t forget to rest for a few seconds /minutes in between reps to avoid injuries.

4. Dumbbell Plank Row 

Top 30 Dumbbell Row GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat

The plank row is a great functional workout that targets your core, improves spine stability, and challenges the muscles in your middle and upper back, shoulders, and arms. For an added challenge, you can include push-ups while doing a plank row. 

How to Do it

  • It’s done by starting in a high plank position with a dumbbell in each hand on the floor. Hands shoulder-width apart. Check that your back is straight, shoulders directly above your wrists, and legs wider than hip-width. 
  • Pull first your right elbow back to do a row, raising the dumbbell near your chest while maintaining your plank position, make sure to keep the elbow near to your rib cage for correct form. Keep your core and glutes tight all the time to prevent your hips from rocking. 
  • Lower the dumbbell back down to the original position.
  • Then repeat the process using your left elbow to do a row. 

[Related post: Best Rubber Hex Dumbbells Set

5. Dumbbell Hip Thrust

One of the most important exercises for developing a strong posterior chain is the dumbbell hip thrust. This exercise will not only strengthen your hamstrings and glutes but will also aid in the development of perfect form for other exercises, particularly the barbell hip thrust.

Other muscle groups, including your core and lower back, are also activated by the dumbbell hip thrust. During compound exercises, your core is also engaged to help stabilize your body and lift securely.

How to Do it

  • Sit on the floor with your back leaning against a bench that has the same level as your mid-back. Have your feet shoulder-width apart, laying flat on the floor. 
  • Hold one dumbbell on top of your hip bones, drive through your heels to extend your hips, squeeze your glutes and brace your core until your thighs are parallel to the floor, shins perpendicular to your feet. 
  • Pause then slowly come back down without touching the floor with your glutes. 
  • Make sure to continue squeezing your glutes and engaging your core all throughout to keep your back flat. 

6. Single Leg Deadlift

One Leg Deadlift GIF | Gfycat

The Single-Leg Deadlift is an exercise that develops the back, core, and legs. One leg lifts off the ground and extends behind you in this modification of the standard deadlift. The higher resistance the more core muscles are engaged, as well as the standing leg, which aids in balance improvement.

How to Do it

  • Start by standing with your feet together. Hold one dumbbell in each hand while allowing your arms to relax down on each side of your body.
  • Then lean forward in your hips, putting your weight and balance onto your left leg, slightly bend your left knee while the right leg extends straight behind you. As you raise your extended leg and lean forward, you should form a “T” shape. 
  • Hold on to the weight while your arms dangle straight down.
  • Keeping your core tight, push through your left heel to stand up straight and pull the weight back to the original position. 
  • Then repeat with the other leg.


You can easily give your abs a solid workout with these dumbbell abs exercises.

Though there are a lot of ab exercises you can do such as crunches, situps, planks to name a few, incorporating dumbbells into your ab training can help enhance your workout even more with its added resistance, hence allowing you to achieve a quicker and better outcome. 

So go ahead and give these exercises a try and get those sculpted abs just in time for the summer season!

If you like this article, make sure to check out our other articles at ExpertFitness.org 

Nathan Lloyd, MSc

I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.

If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.