Dumbbell Abs Exercises for Core Strength and Toning

Many people want to get six-pack abs, but they get bored with doing crunches and sit-ups all the time.

If you add dumbbells to your ab training, you will give your abs the stimulus they need to grow and adapt.

These exercises with dumbbells work your core from different angles, making you stable and strong.

Doing exercises like dumbbell V-ups and Twists correctly can improve your posture and prevent back pain.

In this guide, we’ll talk about the best dumbbell abs exercises and how to do them, as well as workout plans.

Let Dive In!

Complete Dumbbell Abs Exercises For Six-Pack

If you want your Abs to be more defined, you need to progress your training. Just doing a few crunches and sit-ups every week won’t be enough.  This means you need to gradually increase the intensity to strengthen and achieve a rock-solid core.

There are many different exercises for your abs that you can do with dumbbells. Choose 3 to 4 that you like and combine them into a routine to work on your abs.

Choose a dumbbell that is right for you and try to do 10–12 reps of each move. Repeat the circuit 3–4 times.

Target, hitting the different areas of your abs from every angle. Some exercise concentrates on your upper abs, some focus on the lower abs, and some work on the often neglected side abs – or obliques – along with your deeper core muscles.

How To Train Upper Abs With a Dumbbell?

The rectus abdominal main jobs are flexion of the torso, which means forward bending (bringing your chest toward your hips), and flexion of the hips, which essentially means bringing your pelvic bone/hips upward.

The upper abs will be the most activated during movements that bring your upper body toward your hips/legs (spinal flexion)

For example, the following dumbbell exercises will target your upper abs:

  • Dumbbell Sit-ups
  • Dumbbell Crunches
  • Dumbbell V-Ups
  • Dumbbell Pullovers
Upper Abs Exercises With a Dumbbell

How To Workout Your Lower Abs With A Dumbbell

To target your lower abs, think of movements that bring your thighs toward your core.

These exercises are great for activating the lower abs area.

  • Dumbbell leg raises,
  • Dumbbell Reverse Crunches
  • Dumbbell flutter kicks
  • Dumbbell Russian Twists
  • Dumbbell scissor kicks

Train Your Oblique (Side Abs)?

The obliques work together to help you bend side-to-siderotate your torso from left to right, and assist with spinal flexion.

The obliques also work to keep your spine stable and protect it from turning. They are a key muscle group for stability, a muscle group that is attacked when you twist and turn.

For example, the following dumbbell exercises will target your oblique:

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18 Best Dumbbell Abs Exercises

Here is the best dumbbell abs Workout you can add to your core workout regimen to build core strength and toned Abs.

1. Dumbbell Russian Twist

The Dumbbell Russian twist engages your core and strengthens your abs and oblique muscles, as well as your lower back.

This exercise helps to tone and trim your waist. It also helps to improve your balance, stability, and posture.

A more advanced way of performing the Russian twist is to raise your feet a little off the floor.

The elevated position of the feet puts a lot of strain on both the upper and lower abs, which are usually challenging to work.

Dumbbell Russian Twist

How To Do Dumbbell Russian Twist

  1. Lie down with your knee bent at the knees and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in your hands.
  3. Elevate your upper body so that it creates a V shape with your thighs.
  4. Rotate your torso to the right side.
  5. Rotate your torso back to the center and then to the left side
  6. Continue rotating your torso from side to side for 30-60 seconds.


  • Keep your back straight at all times and twist your torso only from the ribs up.
  • Don’t move your head from side to side.
  • Use a slow, controlled motion to target the muscles. 

2. Dumbbell Side Bend

Dumbbell side bends are isolation exercises that target the oblique muscles on the side of your body.

It is effective at targeting the internal and external obliques, strengthening the lateral flexion of your spine, improving spinal mobility, and helping to develop a strong and stable core.

The dumbbell side bend is an easy core exercise to practice at home. If you’re new to the exercise, practice the movement with your body weight alone.

Dumbbell Side Bend

How To Do Dumbbell Side Bend

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold a dumbbell with a neutral grip in your right hand with your arm hanging at your side. You can place your free hand behind your head.
  3. Bend your torso to the right side, keeping your back straight.
  4. Lower the dumbbell towards your right knee.
  5. Pause for a second, then return to the starting position.
  6. Complete the desired number of reps and repeat on the other side.


  • Keep the dumbbell close to your side, your elbow very slightly bent, and your hips still.
  • Perform this exercise slowly and steadily to work the obliques.
  • Avoid using a heavy dumbbell for this exercise. Large overdeveloped oblique muscles will make your waist appear bulky.
  • Always keep your back straight, eyes facing forward, and bend at the torso only.

3. Dumbbell Farmers Walk

The Dumbbell Farmers Walk is a simple yet effective exercise that targets multiple muscle groups, including the forearms, traps, core, glutes, and upper back

It is a great exercise for building your core muscles and improving your grip strength. It also improves your overall strength and functional fitness by strengthening your abs, oblique, back, glutes, legs, and gait.

Dumbbell Farmers Walk

How To Do Dumbbell Farmers Walk

  1. Reach down, bending at the hips and knees, and grasp the dumbbells in each hand.
  2. Hold the dumbbells at your side with a firm grip.
  3. Stand tall and keep your shoulders, back, and core tight.
  4. Take small steps and walk forward at an even pace with your eyes focused straight ahead of you.
  5. Complete the desired number of steps, come to a stop, and place the dumbbells down.


  • Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades and tightening your abs.
  • Keep a neutral or straight spine.
  • Focus on maintaining a strong grip on the dumbbells.

4. Dumbbell Plank Row

The plank row is also known as a renegade row, which is almost a variation of the dumbbell row.

It is designed to target the back, chest, abs, and obliques. Like a plank, it targets the core, and rowing movement targets the back and bicep muscles.

It is a multitasking exercise that tones your back and works your core, while also testing your balance and stability.

Dumbbell Renegade Row

How To Do Dumbbell Plank Row

  1. Place two dumbbells on the floor about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Start in the top position of a push-up position with your hands on the weights.
  3. Pull the right elbow back and raise the dumbbell towards the chest.
  4. keep the right elbow close to the torso, abs tight, and hips in one line.
  5. Hold the weight for one second at the top and return it slowly to the starting position to repeat on the other side.


  • Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.
  • Do not jerk the weight up. Row weight in a smooth, controlled motion.
  • Make sure you do the same number of repetitions for each arm.

5. Hanging Knee Raise with Dumbbell

The hanging knee raise is one of the great dumbbell abs Workouts for isolating the abdominal muscles, building strength in the hip flexors, and developing the six-pack.

Hanging knee raises are a lower abs exercise consisting of lifting and lowering your knees to your chest while hanging on a pull-up bar.

A 2014 study demonstrated that leg raises produce an impressive level of muscle activation, with over 130% maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) in the rectus abdominis (the “six-pack” muscles) and 88% MVC in the external obliques. These findings highlight the effectiveness of leg raises in targeting and strengthening the core muscles.

Hanging Knee Raise with Dumbbell

How To Do Hanging Knee Raise with Dumbbell

  1. Grab a bar with an overhead grip, with the hands slightly wider than shoulder-width and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Hold a dumbbell between your feet.
  3. Keep your core and glutes tight to keep your back and hips in the correct position.
  4. Lift your legs, bending your knees on the way up to pull your knees up toward your chest, while rounding your lower back to bring your glutes forward and up.
  5. Pause in this position for a second, and slowly lower your legs back down to the start position.


  • Keep the movement slow and under control.
  • Remember to engage your core before you raise your knees.
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6. Dumbbell V-Up

The Dumbbell V-Up, also known as a jackknife, is a full-body move that works your core, legs, back, and shoulders.

The exercise is designed to work the obliques and abs, including the lower and upper abs muscles simultaneously.

A V-Up involves sitting on the floor or a mat and positioning the body in the shape of the letter “V. It requires you to lift the weight of both your arms and legs by using your abdominal muscles.

Dumbbell V-Up

How To Do Dumbbell V-Up

  1. Lie down on the floor on your back, hold a dumbbell, and extend the arms straight back behind your head.
  2. Your legs should also be extended.
  3. Exhale and bend at your waist while raising your legs and arms to meet in a jackknife movement.
  4. Try to hold the contracted position.
  5. Lower your arms and legs back to the starting position, inhaling as you do so.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps.


  • Keep the movement slow and controlled.
  • Try to keep your back as straight as you can during the V sit-up.

7. Dumbbell Swing

The Dumbbell Swing is a dynamic and powerful exercise that primarily targets the muscles of the posterior chain, including the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, but also engages the core and shoulders.

It’s a variation of the traditional kettlebell swing, adapted for use with a dumbbell.

Dumbbell Swings

How To Do Dumbbell Swing

  1. Stand with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, and the dumbbell on the floor behind you.
  2. Grab the Dumbbell behind you.  
  3. Bend your knees slightly and hinge at your hips, pushing your buttocks back.
  4. Swing the dumbbell between your legs while keeping your back straight.
  5. Thrust your hips forward and straighten your legs to propel the dumbbell up to chest height.
  6. At the top of the movement, squeeze your glutes.
  7. Let the momentum swing the dumbbell down again between your legs as you hinge at the hips.
  8. Repeat in a continuous loop for a full set. 


  • The swing motion should be powered by your hips and legs, not by lifting with your arms.
  • Keep your neck and head neutral. Don’t hyperextend your neck to watch the dumbbell.
  • Swing smoothly without jerking the weight.

8. Dumbbell Wood Chopper

The dumbbell wood chopper is one of the best oblique exercises that you can do with a dumbbell at home or in the gym.

This is great for strengthening the twisting movement pattern of your torso, as well as improving your torso’s ability to resist twisting forces.

Dumbbell Wood Chopper

How To Do Dumbbell Wood Chopper

  1. Hold the dumbbell with both hands, with either your fingers interlaced or with one hand over the other.
  2. Stand shoulder-width apart.
  3. Keep your arms straight and turn the dumbbell in a diagonal downward motion until your torso turns to the opposite side and your hands are at knee height.
  4. Hold for a count of two. Then slowly reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions. Repeat the exercise on your opposite side.


  • Don’t lock the knees and hips. Allow the hips and knees to rotate slightly.
  • Control the weight all the time while doing this ab exercise.

9. Reverse Dumbbell Wood Chop

The low to-high dumbbell Wood chop is also known as the dumbbell down-up twist. It can help you lose weight and burn calories.

It is a variation of the wood chop that is used to strengthen the core muscles, especially the obliques.

Reverse Dumbbell Wood Chop

How To Do Dumbbell Down-Up Twist

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold a dumbbell with both hands near your left hip.
  3. Rotate your torso and lift the dumbbell diagonally across your body, extending your arms, so the dumbbell ends up above your right shoulder.
  4. Hold for a count of two. Then slowly reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions. Repeat the exercise on your opposite side.


  • Don’t lock the knees and hips. Allow the hips and knees to rotate slightly.
  • Keep your arms straight, shoulders locked in place.
  • Exhale as you lift the dumbbell and inhale as you lower it.

10. Dumbbell Twist

The Dumbbell twist is an isolation exercise that works the oblique muscles of the core.

Use it to strengthen the twisting movement pattern of your body.

It is a great idea to stop halfway through some reps, hold the stirrup, and try to resist the twisting force.

Dumbbell Twist

How To Do Dumbbell Twist

  1. Hold the dumbbell with both hands, with either your fingers interlaced or with one hand over the other.
  2. Keep your arms straight and move the dumbbell in a twisting motion across your body to the other side.
  3. Hold for a count of two. Then slowly reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
  4. Do 15–20 reps. Repeat the exercise on your opposite side.


  • Don’t lock the knees and hips. Allow the hips and knees to rotate slightly.
  • Control the weight the whole time

11. Standing Crunches with Dumbbell

Standing crunches with a dumbbell is one of the variations of crunches, are effective abdominal exercises that target your obliques and both upper and lower abs muscles, simultaneously.

Standing Crunches With Dumbbell

How To Do Standing Crunches with Dumbbell

  1. Grab a dumbbell with both hands and lift it in front of your head.
  2. Lift your left knee to waist level and, at the same time, crunch your torso.
  3. The best way to do this is to touch the DB with your knee and squeeze your abs.
  4. Get back to the starting position and do the same with your right knee.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.


  • Use a slow, controlled motion to target the muscles.
  • Focus on squeezing and tightening your abs.

12. Dumbbell Lunges With Twist

Dumbbell Lunges with Twist is an excellent exercise to build thigh muscles and glutes, abs, and obliques.

However, this exercise requires good balance, so if you have issues keeping your balance, start off by doing the lunges twist exercise without weights. This will help you learn the proper form.

Be careful that the knee of the forward leg does not extend past the toes as you bend the leg.

Dumbbell Lunges With Twist

How To Do Dumbbell Lunges With Twist

  1. Hold one dumbbell at your chest with both hands, gripping it on each end.
  2. Our chest should be upright and your torso should be leaning slightly forward so that your back is flat and not arched or rounded forward.
  3. Take a step forward, bending your knees, to create two 90-degree angles with your legs.
  4. Slowly rotate your torso to the left. You should feel a nice stretch in your midback.
  5. Push yourself back to the starting position and repeat with the other foot.
  6. Keep alternating the leg with which you lunge twist


  • Bend as far and low as possible without losing form.
  • Keep your torso upright and your head facing forward.
  • If you suffer from balance problems, it is best to avoid it or use your own bodyweight while holding on to a steady object.

13. Dumbbell Crunches

The crunch motion occurs in the upper spine, and your shoulders rise a few inches off the floor. Your lower back remains in contact with the floor, and there is no motion at the hips. It mainly targets the upper abs.

This is in contrast to the sit-up, where the movement occurs at the waist and hips. Dumbbell crunches are a more difficult version of the traditional crunch.

Dumbbell Crunch

How To Do Dumbbell Crunches

  1. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet and low back flat on the ground.
  2. Hold a dumbbell to your chest and lift your shoulders and upper back off the floor.
  3. Hold this position for a second before slowly lowering back to the starting position.
  4. Make the negative portion of the rep as slow and deliberate as the positive portion.
  5. Repeat the desired number of reps.


  • Keep the movement slow and controlled. Don’t use momentum.
  • Don’t pull on your neck with your hands, this will strain the neck.
  • Breathe out as you crunch, maintain your core muscles tight and engaged.

14. Dumbbell T Push-Ups

T push-Ups is an upper body exercise and the advanced progression of the standard push-up that targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

It also develops core strength, with an emphasis on the obliques.

Check how to do them correctly and blast your muscles at home or at the Gym.

Dumbbell T Push-Ups

How To Do Dumbbell T Push-Ups

  1. Lay face down on the ground with your legs straight, and arms supporting your upper body. Keep your knees off the ground.
  2. Raise yourself off the ground, straightening your elbows and your arms.
  3. Raise your elbows and lift one arm from the floor and raise it towards the ceiling. Twist your torso to the side.
  4. Roll onto the sides of your feet and keep your body straight at all times.
  5. Now, return to the starting position and lower your body slowly.


  • Keep the core tight and back flat throughout the movement.
  • Do not over-rotate during the reach towards the ceiling.
  • Do not let the elbows flare out. Keep the elbows close to your sides throughout.

15. Weighted Flutter Kicks

Flutter kicks are an exercise that works the muscles of your core, specifically the lower abdominal muscles and the hip flexors. Flutter kicks reshape and tone your lower body.

The exercises help you shed some extra fat from the belly, hips, and thigh area and tighten your abs for better strength.

While doing this dumbbell abs workout, make sure to keep your core super tight and lower back flat on the ground.

Weighted Flutter Kicks

How To Do Weighted Flutter Kicks

  1. Lie on your back and hold a dumbbell in both hands. Hold the weight straight above your shoulders.
  2. Lift your shoulders and upper torso off the ground.
  3. Raise your legs a few inches off the ground and flutter kick your feet.
  4. If your back comes off the ground, or you feel any strain, bring your legs up a couple more inches.


  • Keep the movement slow and controlled.
  • Tighten your abs for better strength.

16. Turkish Get Up

The Turkish Get Up works the upper and lower abs. This is a great shoulder stability exercise, that works your core, too.

The benefits of the Turkish Get Up include improved strength, flexibility, and stability.

Turkish Get Up

How To Do Turkish Get Up

  1. Lie on your back on the floor and hold a dumbbell in one hand with your arm fully extended above your chest.
  2. Bend the knee on the same side to a 90-degree angle.
  3. Keep your opposite leg straight, and place it 5–10 degrees away from the midline of your body.
  4. Start by lifting the dumbbell to the sky.
  5. Lift your hips in the air and sweep your straight leg underneath your body. Step back and settle on your knee.
  6. Shift the weight away from your hand and onto your knee and front foot as you bring your torso upright.
  7. Push to a standing position and keep the dumbbell lifted the whole time.
  8. Slowly lower yourself back to the ground


  • Keep your eyes focused on the dumbbell throughout the entire movement.
  • Take your time and concentrate on each segment of the exercise.

17. Single-Arm Overhead Press

This shoulder exercise forces the abs to stabilize the weight at the top of the lift and keep your core from twisting under the uneven load.

This exercise helps build muscle in the front and side of the deltoids and engages abs and oblique muscles.

Single-Arm Overhead Press

How To Do Single-Arm Overhead Press

  1. Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, hold a dumbbell in your right hand in front of your shoulder.
  2. Raise the dumbbell to the side of your shoulder. Keep your elbow pointed down and your palm facing forward.
  3. At the top of the movement, shrug your shoulder to raise the dumbbell even higher.
  4. Reverse the motions and lower the dumbbell to the starting position.


  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements.

18. Dumbbell Pullover

A Dumbbell Pullover is the best exercise to build a strong rib cage and build serratus anterior muscle.

The pullover works directly on the serratus anterior muscle to develop the back and core.

Dumbbell Pullover

How To Do Dumbbell Pullover

  1. Lie across on a bench on your shoulders so that your head is hanging.
  2. Grasp a dumbbell with both hands and get it straight over your chest.
  3. Lower the dumbbell in an arc slowly, getting a good stretch in your rib cage.
  4. Lower the dumbbell as far as possible and then raise it back to the starting position.


  • Maximum stretching ensures the greatest expansion of the rib cage.

ABS Training Program With Dumbbells

The abs need to be trained with adequate volume and frequency, and with considered exercise selection and progressive overload, just like any other muscle group. 

You could train abs twice per week, one session using an abs exercise and the other using an oblique exercise, and achieve adequate volume throughout the whole area.

Now you can take them into consideration when planning your workouts. You could use them as a finisher, picking two or three moves and cycling between them with minimal rest in between, or you could separately train your core.

Below are some sample workout plans to train your core, abs, and obliques separately with dumbbells.

Abs Dumbbell Workout Plan


Dumbbell Crunch3 10-15
Dumbbell Russian Twist3-48-10
Dumbbell V-Up3 8-10
Weighted Flutter Kicks2-310-12

Dumbbell Oblique Workout Plan

Dumbbell Side Bend3 10-15
Dumbbell Russian Twist38-10
Dumbbell Wood Chop38-12
Standing Dumbbell Crunches2 10-15

Dumbbell Core Workout Plan

Dumbbell Lunges With Twist3 10-15
Dumbbell T Push-Ups3 max reps
Turkish Get Up38-12
Dumbbell Farmers Walk2 10-15

Of course, you don’t have to do only dumbbell exercises for your ab workouts. In fact, you probably should mix it up with:

If you want a well-rounded abs and oblique and core workout, then you must add variation to your workout.

We strongly suggest adding Planks and leg raises to your routine once you have achieved sufficient core strength to perform them safely and correctly.


If your primary goal is to achieve midsection muscle definition, the best way to achieve this is through weighted (dumbbell) abs workouts.

Well-developed abs can make the midsection look defined by giving it deeper cuts. However, this is dependent on your body fat levels. Even if your abs are well-developed, if your body fat levels are too high, your abs will not show.

It is important to train your abs hard, either with or without weighted ab exercises. However, in order for them to be shown off, you will need to work on your diet.

“Abs are developed in the gym and revealed in the kitchen”

Frequently Asked Question

Can you get abs with dumbbells?

Yes, you can achieve toned abs with dumbbells. Strengthening these muscles helps to tone this area of your body and improve its overall appearance. You can strengthen your core muscles by incorporating dumbbell exercises into your routine.

Are crunches with dumbbells good?

The Dumbbell crunches are one of the most effective abdominal exercises you can perform. Building this muscle is part of developing your core muscles for stability and performance. Crunch exercises can be part of a core strength workout or a total body workout.

How frequently you train Your Abs

It depends on what type of training you’re doing. 

When doing weighted ab exercises like the below, we’d recommend you approach your training like you would any other area of your body. For example, if you do leg twice a week with rest days in-between, do abs twice a week with rest days in-between. 

5 Best dumbbell exercises for upper abs

Here are the five best upper abs dumbbell exercises:

  1. Dumbbell Crunches
  2. Standing Crunches With Dumbbell
  3. Dumbbell V-Up
  4. Turkish Get Up
  5. Dumbbell Russian Twist

5 Best dumbbell exercises for lower abs

Here are the five best lower abs dumbbell exercises:

  1. Hanging Knee Raise With Dumbbell
  2. Dumbbell V-Up
  3.  Standing Crunches With Dumbbell
  4. Weighted Flutter Kicks
  5. Turkish Get Up

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