Two Core Exercises with Dumbbells

Two Core Exercises with Dumbbells

Getting core strength training into a dumbbell workout can be a bit of a challenge. Here are two simple core exercises with dumbbells?you can use to tighten up your midsection and really hit up your abs and obliques.

Chest It Out

Here’s a floor press variation that really kills the abs.

In a standard floor press, you have a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping the elbows tight to the side, you press the dumbbells up, working the chest, triceps, and shoulders in one move. While this is a great multi-complex movement, we can adapt it to add the core as well.

First, use only one dumbbell. This offsets the weight, forcing your abs to do more.

Next, raise your knees so your legs are 90 degrees to the floor, with your lower legs held parallel to the floor (as if resting your legs on an invisible box or chair).

Extend the non-working hand into a locked-out position. Leave it there for the whole exercise.

Now do the press with only one hand. Do NOT allow your body or your legs to move back and forth with the weight. To accomplish this, you have to lock your core solid for the duration of the excerise. After a set, switch hands.

A set can consist of a set number of repetitions, or a set amount of time, depending on how you choose to measure density for the workout.

Rock and Roll

For this one, take a sit up position on the floor. Hold one dumbbell in the middle of your chest.

Raise your head and shoulders slightly off the floor, just enough to start tensing your upper ab muscles.

Twist your body to the the left keeping the weight dead centre on your chest. Your hips and legs have to stay absolutely stationary in order for this to work. As you rock your body back to centre, you’ll feel your right obliques working overtime to pull you back.

Now twist to the right and back to centre. That’s a rep. Repeat as needed.

To add more challenge to your core, extend your arms a little at a time. You can’t use a weight that’s so heavy your shoulders can’t handle it, but even a lighter weight held just slightly away from the body will increase the challenge to your core muscles. The key is keeping your butt pinned to the ground so it doesn’t twist with you.


Feature image courtesy of Josh Kesawa /

Steve Baric

Steve is an ISSA-certified Elite Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, and Transformation Specialist. He helps men of all ages and levels regain control of their emotional and mental wellness, take the reins on their health and fitness, and optimize their lifestyles for the best possible quality of life.

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