Using a single dumbbell and unilateral exercises (single-sided exercises) to build strong ABS, while raising your heart rate to burn calories!
What are the best ab exercises using weights?
In my opinion, the best ab exercises train your core to do what it is INTENDED to do — stabilize your trunk as your limbs move away from your body. Add weight and it just intensifies the ab workout. Think:
Weighted V-Up and Toe Touch
Plank with Dumbbell Pass
Weighted Side Planks
Squat with Dumbbell Press Out
Find all of these ab-strengthening exercises using weights in this cardio and abs workout with weights.
This ab workout with weights is functional training for your upper abs, lower abs, obliques, back, hips, glutes, and pelvic floor.
35-Minute Cardio and Ab Workout with Weights
A cardio and abs circuit workout combining ab exercises with weights, standing dumbbell ab exercises, bodyweight core exercises AND cardio ab exercises.
The best ab-strengthening exercises using weights at home.
Build core strength and burn fat with this cardio and ab workout with weights.
One medium-to-heavy dumbbell.
I’m using a single 15 lb dumbbell for this workout. Note, you could always use a medicine ball for these weighted ab exercises as well.
Let me be your personal trainer. I’ll coach you through the entire ab workout, keeping track of the timed intervals, providing form cues and ab exercise modifications.
Alternatively, work through the weighted ab exercises below at your own pace.
The workout format:
4 Circuits, repeating each circuit x3 before closing it out and moving on to the next circuit.
3 Exercises Per Circuit — (2 unilateral ab exercises, 1 bilateral ab exercise)
Time Drop Format —
Set One: 40 Seconds Work/20 Seconds Rest
Set Two: 30 Seconds Work/15 Seconds Rest
Set Three: 20 Seconds Work/10 Seconds Rest
At Home Ab Workout with Weights
CIRCUIT ONE (Repeat x3, decreasing work time 40/30/20 each set)
Lateral Squat + Weighted Crunch
Bear Crawl Fast Feet
Dumbbell Pullover + V-Up Toe Touch
CIRCUIT TWO (Repeat x3, decreasing work time 40/30/20 each set)
Dumbbell Woodchop, Right
Dumbbell Woodchop, Left
Low Plank Wide Knee Pulls
CIRCUIT THREE (Repeat x3, decreasing work time 40/30/20 each set)
Plank Pop Up + Squat Hold + Dumbbell Press Out
Clamshell Hip Lifts, Right
Clamshell Hip Lifts, Left
CIRCUIT FOUR (Repeat x3, decreasing work time 40/30/20 each set)
Bound, Bound + Single Leg Burpee, Right
Bound, Bound + Single Leg Burpee, Left
8 Best Ab Exercises with Weights
1. Lateral Squat + Weighted Crunch
Targets: Legs, glutes, thighs, obliques, abs and core.
How to do a Lateral Squat + Weighted Crunch:
Start standing in an athletic stance, feet shoulder width apart, holding one dumbbell horizontally at your chest.
Step out to your right and lower into a squat, aiming to get your thighs parallel to the floor. Step your left foot in, pulling your thighs together as you stand. Repeat (so you take 2 lateral squat-walks to your right side).
After your second squat, keep your right foot planted on the mat and drive your left knee up towards your chest as you rotate through your toros. Bringing your left knee up to meet the dumbbell in a cross body crunch.
Repeat on the other side, stepping to the left.
2. Bear Crawl Fast Feet
Targets: Core stability, abs, shoulders, quads and cardio endurance.
Trainer Tip: These bursts of HIIT cardio spike the heart rate burning more calories in a shorter amount of time compared to steady state cardio.
How to do Bear Crawl Fast Feet:
Start in a table top position or quadruped position on all fours — shoulders stacked over wrists and hips stacked over knees.
Tuck your toes under to lift your knees off the mat, finding a bear crawl position. Abs engaged, knees close to the mat creating a straight line from head to tailbone.
Keeping your hips square to the ground and your knees as close to the mat as possible, run your feet in and out (wide, wide, narrow, narrow) as fast as you can. Upper body and lower body remain as stable as possible as you run your feet.
Modification: Perform wide and narrow fast feet from a standing position instead of bear crawl. Or option to add an incline, placing your hands on a chair or bench to bring the ground closer to you; performing an incline plank. Alternatively, you could jump rope.
3. Dumbbell Pullover + V-Up Toe Touch
Targets: The arms, back (lats), chest, shoulders, lower abs, upper abs and core.
How to do a Dumbbell Pullover + Weighted V-Up Toe Touch:
Lying on your back, with legs straight overhead, hold one dumbbell between your hands with arms extended overhead.
Arms straight, with a slight bend in the elbows, slowly lower the dumbbell overhead towards the ground. Try to keep your low back pressed into the mat/ground. As you lower the dumbbell, lower one (or both) legs towards the ground.
Then pull the dumbbell and your legs back to center, engaging the lats and core to return back to the starting position.
Squeeze your abs to lift your neck and shoulder blades off the ground, pushing the dumbbell up towards your toes.
Modification: Omit the leg lower and perform a dumbbell pull over with toe touch. Option to perform with weights or as a bodyweight ab exercise.
4. Dumbbell Woodchop
Targets: The deep transverse abdominis muscle, oblique muscles, legs, back and shoulders.
How to do a Dumbbell Woodchop:
Start standing in an athletic stance, feet shoulder width apart, soft bend in your knees, core engaged. 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 and glutes 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.
Switch sides and perform a dumbbell Woodchop on the left side of the body.
5. Low Plank Wide Knee Pulls
Targets: Deep transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis (six pack ab muscles), obliques, hips, glutes and core.
How to do Plank Knee Pulls:
Start in a low plank position, forearms on the mat, shoulders stacked over elbows, core engaged. Pull up on your knee caps to engage your quads.
Engage your core as you pull your right knee up towards your right elbow, then re-plant your right foot on the mat, returning to low plank.
Then pull your left knee up towards your left elbow. Re-plant your left foot on the mat, returning to low plank.
Repeating these alternating knee pulls in plank.
Modification: Option to add an incline, placing your hands or forearms on a chair or bench to bring the ground closer to you; performing an incline plank.
Trainer Tip: The farther you press the dumbbell out away from your body the harder this cardio ab exercise will be (and the harder your your core will have to work to stabilize your squat hold).
How to do Plank Pop Up + Squat with Dumbbell Press Out:
Start in a high plank position, one hand on each head of your dumbbell OR hands on the mat with your single dumbbell between your hands. Core engaged, shoulders stacked over wrists.
Step or hop your feet outside your hands, landing in a low squat position, thighs parallel to the mat.
Hold this low squat as you curl the dumbbell up to your chest. Then press the dumbbell out away from your body, pressing the dumbbell straight out, in line with your shoulders. Hold for a moment.
Then return the dumbbell to your chest, then back to the mat. Re-plant your hands on the mat and step or hop back to high plank. Returning to the starting position.
Modification: Step your feet in and out of high plank vs hop. Option to omit the dumbbell and perform as a bodyweight exercise. Option to add an incline, placing your hands on a chair or bench to bring the ground closer to you; performing an incline plank.
7. Clamshell Hip Lifts
Targets: Glutes, hips, obliques and core.
How to do Clamshell Exercise:
Lie on your left side, with legs stacked and knees bent at a 45-degree angle, inside edges of your feet together.
Rest your left arm (forearm) on the mat, shoulder stacked over elbow.
Exhale to engage the core and stabilize your spine and pelvic floor.
Keeping the inside soles of your feet touching, use your outer glutes hips and obliques to lift your left hip off the floor. Simultaneously as you lift your hips off the ground open your legs; raising your upper right knee as high as you can without shifting your hips or pelvis (mimicking a clamshell opening).
Pause, and hold at the top of the movement for a moment. Then lower with control and return to the starting position.
Switch side to perform on the right side.
8. Bound, Bound, Single Leg Burpee
Targets: Every muscle in your body, especially your legs, glutes, quads, hamstrings, shoulders, back, abs and core muscles.
How to do a Bound, Bound, Single Leg Burpee:
Start standing in an athletic stance, feet under hips, slight bend in your knees.
“Bound” laterally to your right, landing on your right foot (and letting your left foot float near your right calf).
Then, drive off your right foot, “bounding” towards your left. Land on your left foot, letting your right foot float near your left calf.
Remaining on your left leg, bend your left knee as you lower down to plant your hands on the mat, framing your left foot (one hand on each side of your left foot.
Then hop back to a single leg plank.
Hop your left foot back in and return to standing.
Switch sides and repeat the single leg burpee on the right leg.
Modification: Option to add an incline, placing your hands on a chair or bench to bring the ground closer to you; performing an incline burpee. Perform a double leg burpee vs single leg burpee.