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30-Minute Core Training with Dumbbells (Build, Day 3)

Build strong, defined abs with this effective core training with dumbbells routine. Nine dynamic dumbbell core exercises strengthen and stabilize your core from all angles. These core training exercises with dumbbells build strength for the movements you do in daily life, such as pivots, twists, bends, rotations and presses.

This is DAY THREE of our Build 30 Program.

woman performing an uneven squat with a dumbbell in a full body workout


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Increase core strength, stability and muscle definition with this effective strength training workout: core training with dumbbells.

Day three of our 2-Week Build 30 Program is a core-focused workout that also includes heart-pumping cardio and functional mobility exercises.

In my opinion, this is the perfect mid-week workout. We’ll increase blood flow to any muscles that might be sore or tight, improve mobility and range of motion, and strengthen the core.

Each component of today’s workout serves a purpose:

  • Cardio: improve cardiovascular function, burn calories, increase endorphins.
  • Core: strengthens the important stabilizing muscles between the hips and pelvis.
  • Mobility: protects our joints, helps prevent injuries, and improves overall athletic performance.

This combination of different types of training is key for safely building muscle and maximizing fat burn.

two women performing a functional core training with dumbbells exercise

Build core strength, increase cardiovascular conditioning and improve full body mobility with this functional ab workout: core training with dumbbells.

This workout targets all the muscles in the core, including the upper abs, lower abs, obliques, transverse abdominis, pelvic floor, lower back, and stabilizing muscles along the spine.

I suggest doing this core, cardio and mobility workout once a week as part of a well-rounded workout routine.

Workout Equipment:

A medium-to-heavy set of dumbbells. I suggest anywhere from 10-25 lbs. We’re using 10-20 lb dumbbells in this workout.

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Dumbbell Core Workout on YouTube, led by certified personal trainer and fitness instructor, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • Begin with Rep Challenge (complete 30 loaded single sided skaters)
  • 3 Circuits (3 exercises per circuit)
  • Timed Intervals (30 seconds of work, 15 seconds rest; complete as many repetitions as you can in the timed interval)
  • Repeat Each Circuit x2 Sets
  • 1-Minute Mobility Flow Between Circuits
  • 3-Minute Ladder Burnout To Finish
two women performing russian twists as example of core training with dumbbells

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Core Workout

Workout Outline

30 Rep Challenge: Loaded Single Sided Skater


  1. Core: Dumbbell Halo and Diagonal Chop
  2. Cardio: Hop, Hop, Lateral Dumbbell Reach Across
  3. Core: Forearm Plank Dumbbell Pull Through and Body Saw

Mobility: Forward Fold T-Spine Rotation, Squat and Internal Hip Rotation


  1. Cardio: High Knees and 45-Degree Front Lunge
  2. Core: Squat Thrust and Slow Lower Front Raise
  3. Cardio: Loaded Lateral Heismans

Mobility: Seated Figure Four, Knee Tap Side to Side and Elbow to Mat (Right)


  1. Core: Reverse Crunch and Twist
  2. Cardio: Sprinter Sit Up and Double Punch
  3. Core: Side Plank Hold

Mobility: Seated Figure Four, Knee Tap Side to Side and Elbow to Mat (Left)


  1. Skater Chops
  2. Dumbbell Halo + Diagonal Chop

Dumbbell Halo and Diagonal Chop

Targets: All the abs and core muscles — upper abs, lower abs, obliques and deep transverse abdominals. Shoulder mobility is also an important part of this core exercise.

two women performing a dumbbell halo and wood chop as example of core training with dumbbells

How To Do Dumbbell Halos and Diagonal Dumbbell Chops

  1. Stand with feet hip-distance apart, core engaged and soft bend in your knees. Hold a dumbbell in both hands horizontally at your right hip.
  2. Brace your core tight as you pull the dumbbell in a smooth motion from your right hip to left shoulder and then behind and around your head, before bringing it down to your left hip.
  3. Exhale as you perform a dumbbell wood chop, driving the dumbbell crossbody while extending your arms up overhead on the right side. Think “left hip to right shoulder”.
  4. Lower the dumbbell with control back to your left hip, the perform another dumbbell halo, this time pulling the dumbbell from left hip, to right shoulder, then behind and around your head, before bringing it down to your right hip.
  5. Then, perform another dumbbell chop, lifting the dumbbell crossbody from your right hip over your left shoulder, keeping arms straight with slight bends in the elbows.
  6. Slowly and with control, lower the dumbbell to your right hip, returning to the starting position.

Modification: Alternate dumbbell front raises with a wood chop.

Forearm Plank Dumbbell Pull Through and Body Saw

Targets: Upper abs, lower abs, obliques, shoulders, glutes and thighs.

two women performing a plank variation as example of core training with dumbbells

How To Do Forearm Planks, Dumbbell Pull Throughs, and Body Saws

  1. 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 your right elbow.
  2. 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 your left elbow.
  3. Then, return your left forearm to the mat before slightly rocking forward, pushing your nose towards your fingertips. With control, push back, returning to a forearm plank position.
  4. Then repeat, this time reaching underneath your body with your right hand to grab the dumbbell and pull it across the mat, ending outside your right elbow.

Modification: Perform an alternating cross-body dumbbell lift and alternating knee drive.

Squat Thrust and Slow Lower Front Raise

Targets: Legs, glutes, hamstrings, quads, hips, shoulders, abs and core.

two women performing a squat thrust with a slow lower shoulder raise

How To Do Squat Thrusters and Slow Lower Front Raises

  1. Start standing, feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold one dumbbell in each hand. Dumbbells rests on your shoulders, in a front-racked position, overhand grip, palms facing in.
  2. With your weight in your heels, sit your hips back as you lower into a squat, striving for a 90-degree angle between your hips and knees.
  3. Then, drive through your heels, squeezing your glutes to stand tall. As you stand, perform an overhead thruster, pressing the dumbbells straight overhead. Your biceps should be near your ears.
  4. Keeping your arms straight, engage your core as you slowly lower the dumbbells in an arc in front of you, ending when dumbbells are near your hips.
  5. Curl the dumbbells back up to shoulder height, returning to the starting position.

Reverse Crunch and Twist

Targets: The lower abs and obliques. Also improves stability throughout the lower back, hips and spine.

two women performing a crunch with dumbbells

How To Do Reverse Crunches and Russian Twists

  1. Start lying on your back, core engaged, holding a single dumbbell horizontally between both hands. Extend your legs and arms away from each other, floating them off the mat.
  2. Squeeze through your upper abs to lift your torso off the mat, crunching the dumbbell from overhead to your chest as you perform a sit up. At the same time, pull your knees in towards your chest, heels floating off the ground and knees bent.
  3. Hold this seated position, keeping your torso straight and long, as you rotate your shoulders first to the right, twisting through the obliques to tap the ground outside your right hip with the dumbbell.
  4. Return to center, then repeat on the left side, tapping the dumbbell to the ground outside your left hip before returning to center.
  5. Then, slowly and with control, roll back to the mat and extend your arms and legs away from each other, returning to starting position.

Modification: Keep your heels on the ground for the oblique twists, and then sub a half crunch for the full reverse crunch.

Can You Strengthen Your Core with Dumbbells?

I highly recommend dumbbell ab workouts. The core, just like any other muscle group, benefits from strength training. Training your core with weights increases muscle mass and overall core stability.

What Are The Most Effective Core Exercises?

In my opinion, the best core exercises train your core to do what it is intended to do — stabilize your trunk as your limbs move away from your body (think planks and push-ups). That’s why I love functional core training, like this Standing Core with WeightsWeighted Ab Workout and Functional Core Workout.

woman performing shoulder press as part of muscle building workout plan

Build 30: FREE 2-Week Strength Training Program

A 2-week strength training program designed to build muscle in 30 minutes a day. 

If you liked this core, cardio and mobility workout at home, download the FREE 2-Week Workout Plan.

Pin This Workout: Core Training with Dumbbells

woman performing shoulder halo as part of core and mobility workout

More Dumbbell Core Workouts At Home:

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