Try This Abs Workout with Weights and Put Your Core to Work

ab workout with weights female: woman doing core abs workout with weights, specifically a russian twist with a 20 pound dumbbell
Photo: Drazen_/Getty Images

The secret to getting strong abs, stat? These six core exercises with weights.

01 of 07

Why You Should Do Abs Workouts with Weights

Bored with your usual bodyweight core routine? Amp it up by making it an abs workout with weights. Female, male, both, or neither — if you're a human, these exercises will rock your core in a whole new way. During this dumbbell core workout, you'll force your muscles to work even harder to help stabilize your trunk by performing compound moves that more closely mimic everyday activities such as climbing a ladder, holding onto objects while sitting up in bed, or reaching for the top shelf in your closet.

As an added bonus, the extra effort required to move that additional weight means you'll strengthen other areas of your body as well. So if you're looking for the best core workout with weights, you've come to the right place. Now, grab a set of dumbbells and give these exercises a try. (Or try these standing abs exercises if you don't want to lie on the floor.)

How it works: Do 1 set of the prescribed number of reps for each dumbbell abs exercise. Move from one move to the next with little to no rest in between. Do the full circuit 1 to 3 times, depending on how much time you have. It's great after a cardio session, during a strength workout, or on its own for an abs workout at home with, duh, dumbbells.

You'll need: A set of dumbbells heavy enough to challenge you by the final rep of each set (5 to 10 pounds, depending on level); you may want a mat or towel for the floor-based moves

02 of 07

Windmill

ab workout with weights female: woman demonstrating how to do a windmill abs exercise with weights
Vanessa Rogers

A. Stand with feet slightly wider than hips-width apart, knees bent, holding one dumbbell in front of chest with both hands, elbows bent.

B. Lower into a squat while rotating torso to the left and straightening both arms, reaching right hand to the floor and left hand (holding the dumbbell) to the ceiling. Look up at left hand.

C. Maintaining upper-body position, raise halfway up out of squat (think of pressing up with the left side of torso), and then lower back to touch the floor with right hand. Return to starting position. That's one rep.

Do 15 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

03 of 07

Single-Side Vertical Climb

ab workout with weights female: woman demonstrating how to do a vertical climb abs exercise with weights
Vanessa Rogers

A. Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand on right leg with left toe pointed out to the side, lightly touching the floor. Bend right arm, bringing dumbbell to just outside of shoulder, and extend left arm up, palm facing forward.

B. Press right arm overhead and bend left elbow as left knee lifts up toward chest. Feel left obliques working to lift knee as high as possible. Return to starting position.

Do 15 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

(See also: The Best Adjustable Dumbbells to Get a Great Workout In at Home)

04 of 07

Bow-and-Arrow Squat Pull

ab workout with weights female: woman demonstrating how to do a bow and arrow abs exercise with weights
Vanessa Rogers

A. Grab a pair of dumbbells and start in a squat position, hinging forward at hips, lowering chest, and reaching arms to the floor. Bend knees a little deeper and open arms into a "bow and arrow" by reaching right arm to the ground and bending left elbow back behind body, twisting torso slightly to the left during the pulling action.

B. Immediately switch sides, rising slightly up out of the squat as arms change position, lowering back into squat as right elbow bends back and left arm extends.

Do 20 reps, alternating sides.

05 of 07

Plank Pull Through

ab workout with weights female: woman demonstrating how to do a plank pull through abs exercise with weights
Vanessa Rogers

A. Start in a high plank position with a dumbbell on the floor a few inches away from the outside of right hand.

B. Engage abs to keep torso steady and reach left arm under right to grab the dumbbell.

C. Pull the dumbbell across the floor to the left side of body, releasing it just outside of left arm, and then return to plank. That's one rep.

Do 20 reps, alternating sides.

06 of 07

Straight-Arm Climb

ab workout with weights female: woman demonstrating how to do a Straight-Arm Climb abs exercise with weights
Vanessa Rogers

A. Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie faceup on the floor, arms extended straight out above chest, palms facing away from head.

B. Lift head and neck off the floor, looking up to the ceiling, and press right arm up, lifting right shoulder blade off the floor.

C. Immediately lower right shoulder and repeat the lift on left side. Avoid letting elbows bend.

Do 20 reps, alternating sides.

07 of 07

Single-Arm Sit-Up

ab workout with weights female: woman demonstrating how to do a single-arm sit-up abs exercise with weights
Vanessa Rogers

A. Hold a dumbbell in left hand and lie faceup on the floor, left arm extended straight out from shoulder, right arm by side on the floor. Extend right leg out straight and bend left knee, placing left foot flat on the floor to start.

B. Brace abs in tight and roll up through spine (keep left arm reaching straight up to ceiling the entire time). Reach right arm forward in front of shoulder.

C. Round back and brace abs in tight to slowly roll through back and return to starting position. (If it's too difficult, keep the right arm on the ground for more support.)

Do 15 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

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