The 5 best weighted ab exercises to tone and define your midsection! This quick but intense ab workout targets every muscle in your core to build strong, defined abdominal muscles. There are no crunches in this workout. Instead, we’re using unilateral training and weights to build muscle in the upper abs, lower abs, obliques, low back and glutes.
Build total core strength with five of my favorite weighted ab exercises at home.
We spend our days bending, twisting and reaching, which is why I love functional training that helps us move better in everyday life.
Today’s core workout is made of functional ab exercises that are designed to mimic everyday movements, strengthening your core so it can support your body through moves you do every day.
This dumbbell ab workout is functional training for your abs, back, hips, glutes and pelvic floor. Adding a dumbbell allows us to increase muscle mass in our abdominals and achieve the toned look most people strive for in their midsection.
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In my opinion, the best abdominal exercises train your core to do what it is INTENDED to do — stabilize your torso as your limbs move away from your body. Some of my favorite weighted ab exercises include: a wood chop, plank and pass or plank and rotate, and a Turkish get up.
What Are The Benefits Of Core Training With Weights?
A strong core makes everyday activities (such as carrying groceries, bending and lifting kids, and sitting at a desk) easier. It also reduces your risk of injury while performing all of these daily tasks. Strengthening the core can improve posture, improve balance and stability, and reduce lower back pain. I love to add a core workout like this one to other strength workouts.
Should You Include Weighted Ab Exercises In Your Fitness Routine?
5 Weighted Ab Exercises (10-Minute Weighted Ab Workout)
Five weighted ab exercises to majorly sculpt and strengthen your core and add muscle definition to your midsection.
Add this weighted ab workout to your workout routine as you feel capable. Start with 1-2 times a week and scale up to 3-4 times a week. I recommend alternating this workout with our other ab workouts to avoid workout boredom.
A Singe Medium Dumbbell. I’m using a 15 lb dumbbell in this weighted ab workout video.
Option to use just your bodyweight or substitute a sweat towel for the single dumbbell (follow Rachel on the left in the workout video).
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I’m using a 15 lb dumbbell in this weighted ab workout.
Single Leg Deadlift Dumbbell Pass and Knee Drive Pass Under
Targets: Deep transverse abdominals, obliques, lower abs, upper abs, low back, hamstrings and glutes.
How To Do A Single Leg Deadlift Dumbbell Pass and Knee Drive Pass Under
Start standing with feet hip-width distance apart, right leg forward, left toe popped slightly behind the right leg. Most of your weight should be in your standing right leg.
Hold a weight in your left hand and stand tall with a flat back and neutral spine.
With your right knee bent, hinge at your hips (hip flexors), extending the left leg behind you as you balance on your right leg. Keep your hips square to the mat as you press them back towards the wall behind you. This is a single leg deadlift.
Once you’ve reached the bottom (range of motion looks different for everyone), transfer the dumbbell from your left hand, to your right hand, then back to your left hand. Side bends and wobbles are normal as you transfer the weight from side-to-side.
Then, press through your right heel to stand tall, returning to standing. As you stand, drive your left knee up, so your left thigh is parallel to the mat.
Pass the dumbbell underneath your left thigh, from left hand to right hand, and back to left hand again.
Modification: Option to omit the dumbbell and pass a towel instead.
Targets: The deep transverse abdomens muscles, oblique muscles, legs, hips, back and shoulders.
How To Do A Staggered Wood Chop
Start standing in an athletic stance, feet shoulder-width apart, soft bend in your knees, core engaged. Stagger your feet, so your left foot is slightly behind your right. Most of your weight is in your right foot.
Hold one dumbbell horizontally between your hands.
Bend your knees as you bring the dumbbell to the outside of your left knee.
Then exhale as you use your legs, hips, glutes, abs and obliques to drive the dumbbell crossbody, extending your arms up overhead on the right side. Think left knee to right shoulder.
Lower the dumbbell with control back towards your left knee. Returning to the starting position, and repeat this movement.
Modification: Option to omit the dumbbell.
Forearm Plank Dumbbell Pass and Side Plank Toe Touch
Targets: Upper abs, lower abs, obliques, shoulders, glutes and thighs.
How To Do A Forearm Plank Dumbbell Pass and Side Plank Toe Touch
Start in a forearm plank position, arms stacked horizontally beneath your shoulders, core engaged, one long line from your head through your heels. Place your dumbbell on the right side of your body, outside of your right elbow.
With your left hand, reach underneath your body to grab the dumbbell and pull it across the mat. Stay in plank position, holding hips square to the mat as you slide the dumbbell across the mat; dumbbell ending outside of your left elbow.
Keep your right forearm planted on the mat as you open up to the left into a side plank position.
Hold side plank as you pull your left toes towards your midline, left leg straight, meeting your left hand.
Return your left forearm to the mat, rolling back into a forearm plank.
Then use your right hand to reach under and pull the dumbbell across the mat, back to your right elbow.
Repeat the side plank and toe tap on the right side.
Modification: Take the forearm plank and side plank from your knees. You can also reduce the range of motion by bending the knee you’re pulling towards your hand for the toe touch.
Weighted Single Side Dead Bug
Targets: Rectus abdominis (six pack ab muscles), transverse abs (deep corset abs under the six pack ab muscles), obliques, hips, shoulders and back.
How To Do A Weighted Dead Bug
Start lying on your back, core activated to press your lower back into the mat.
Lift your knees towards your chest. Knees are bent to form a 90-degree angle (knees stacked on top of hips), and extend your arms straight overhead. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing in.
Contract your ab muscles as you extend your right arm overhead while simultaneously straightening your left leg. Return to the starting position.
Modification: Option to omit the dumbbell. You can also decrease the intensity by shortening the range of motion. Rather than kicking the leg straight out, keep the knee bent and drop the heel to the mat.
Quarter Turkish Get Up
Targets: Upper abs, lower abs, obliques, shoulders, chest and triceps.
How To Do A Quarter Turkish Get Up
Lie on your back, holding a dumbbell in your right hand extended above your right shoulder, palm facing in. Set your gaze on the dumbbell in your right hand
Extend your left arm out at a 45-degree angle, pressing your palm into the mat.
Bend your right leg, placing your right foot flat on the mat just outside your right hip.
Then push through your right heel and your left elbow as you squeeze your core to lift your neck, shoulders and torso off the mat. Left shoulder should be stacked over left elbow, right arm locked overhead, and gaze on your dumbbell. Chest should be facing the wall in front of you (not the ceiling).
With control, reverse the motion by slowly rolling back down to the mat. Again, keep your right arm extended overhead throughout the movement.
Pin this Workout: The Best Weighted Ab Exercises At Home
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Is this a first trimester safe ab workout?
Great question Alyssa! Exercises 1-2 are pregnancy safe. As for exercise 3 — you might need to modify plank/side plank pending on where you are in pregnancy and existing DR (ab separation), by holding an incline plank/side plank. Exercise 4 dead bug is safe if lying on your back is still comfortable and I would omit exercise 5. Alternatively — check out these 5 pregnancy safe exercises — https://www.nourishmovelove.com/ab-exercises-safe-for-pregnancy/
So glad you liked this workout and I hope you give it a try and come back for more! -Lindsey