35-Minute Dumbbell Ab Workout (SplitStrong 35, DAY 5)

CARDIO and CORE training with weights. This dumbbell ab workout is a non-traditional way of strengthening and sculpting every muscle in your core (including your abs, low back and pelvic floor).

This is DAY 5 of our SplitStrong 35 Workout Program.

Jump to Dumbbell Ab Workout Outline

Dumbbell CARDIO + ABS (my personal FAVORITE workout in the SplitStrong 35 Workout Program)!!

This is NON-TRADITIONAL CORE training; you won’t do a single crunch in this ab workout with dumbbells.

Rather, we are using weighted ab exercises and unilateral exercises (single-sided exercises) to build a strong core. Paired with cardio exercises to raise your heart rate and burn calories at home.

What are the most effective ab exercises?

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. Think: 

  • Planks
  • Weighted Side Planks
  • Wood Chops
  • Single Leg Balance
  • Single Arm Press

These are the type of ab exercises that mimic the way you use your core in real, every-day life. This dumbbell ab workout is functional training for your abs, back, hips, glutes, and pelvic floor. 

Cardio and Abs workout at home | best ab exercises using weights 

35-Minute Dumbbell Ab Workout (Cardio + Core)

Redefining ab workouts at home with weighted ab exercises and standing ab exercises (NO crunches here). 

This ab workout combines strength-focused dumbbell ab exercises with heart-pumping cardio to build core strength and burn fat.

Targeting EVERY muscle in your core: upper abs, lower abs, obliques, deep transverse abdominal muscles, low back, hips, glutes and pelvic floor. This is a non-traditional cardio and core workout at home. 

Workout Equipment:

One medium-to-heavy dumbbell and optional slider/towel/paper plate.

I recommend a 8-30 lb dumbbell depending on your fitness level. I’m using a 15-20 lb dumbbell.

You’ll also have the option to add a towel/slider (if you work out on a hard surface) or a paper plate (if you’re working out on carpet).

Workout Instructions:

Click here to follow along with the Dumbbell Ab Workout video at the top of this post.

Let me be your personal trainer. I’ll coach you through the entire workout, keeping track of the timed intervals, providing form cues and modifications.

Alternatively, work through the dumbbell 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 exercises, 1 bilateral 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

best ab exercises using weights | single arm press

At Home Ab Workout with Dumbbells 

CIRCUIT ONE (Repeat x3, decreasing work time 40/30/20 each set)

  1. Bear Crawl Row + Dumbbell Slide, Right
  2. Bear Crawl Row + Dumbbell Slide, Left
  3. Lateral Shuffle + Pivot Press

CIRCUIT TWO (Repeat x3, decreasing work time 40/30/20 each set)

  1. Wood Chop + Single Arm Shoulder Press, Right
  2. Wood Chop + Single Arm Shoulder Press, Left
  3. Launcher Plank + Alternating T-Pulls

CIRCUIT THREE (Repeat x3, decreasing work time 40/30/20 each set)

  1. Single Leg Front Back Hop into Skater, Right
  2. Single Leg Front Back Hop into Skater, Left
  3. Plank + Towel Knee Tucks

CIRCUIT FOUR (Repeat x3, decreasing work time 40/30/20 each set)

  1. Walk Out to Plank + Push Up
  2. Plank Hold + Squat Hold + Squat Jump + Squat Hold (3 second hold each)
  3. Burpee Push Up

9 Best Ab Exercises Using Weights

1. Bear Crawl Row + Dumbbell Slide

Targets: Abs, core, quads, back and shoulders.

how to do a bear crawl row and dumbbell slide | dumbbell ab workout

How to do a Bear Crawl Row and Dumbbell Slide:

  1. Start in a table top position on all fours with shoulders stacked over wrists and hips stacked over knees. Place a dumbbell on your towel or slider (optional).
  2. Engage your core and tuck your toes under to hoover your knees off the ground; this is bear crawl position.
  3. From bear crawl, pull the dumbbell towards your ribcage to perform a dumbbell back row. Return the dumbbell to the towel.
  4. Push the dumbbell forward about a foot, then “crawl” forward, staying in a low bear crawl position.
  5. Once you reach the dumbbell, row the dumbbell towards your ribcage. Return it to the towel, then slide the dumbbell back about a foot, returning to starting position.
  6. Repeat on left side.

Modification: Omit the dumbbell slide and ‘crawl’ forward/backward and perform a bear crawl dumbbell back row or plank and row.

2. Lateral Shuffle + Pivot Press

Targets: The entire core, specifically the deep stabilizing muscles of the spine and core (transverse abs); hips, glutes, shoulders and upper body.

Trainer Tip: The farther you press the dumbbell away from your body the harder this cardio ab exercise will be (and the more your your core will have to work).

how to do lateral shuffle dumbbell pass | ab exercises using weights

How to do a Lateral Shuffle + Pivot Press:

  1. Hold a dumbbell in front of your chest. Held horizontally between your hands (one head of the dumbbell in each hand).
  2. Take one large lateral shuffle step to your right, then plant your front right foot and pivot your back left foot as you push the dumbbell away from your body. Similar to how you pass a basketball.
  3. Toes follow hips (back left toe pivots right, following the hips as they turn to the right).
  4. Bring the dumbbell back to your chest, then take one large lateral shuffle step to your left. Pivot your back right foot as you push the dumbbell away from your body.
  5. Return to the starting position and repeat.

3. Dumbbell Wood Chop + Single Arm Shoulder Press

Targets: Abs, obliques, back, shoulders and legs.

how to do a dumbbell wood chop and single arm press

How to do a Chop + Press:

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent.
  2. Hold one dumbbell in your right hand at your right shoulder. Right hand in front of right shoulder.
  3. Bring your left hand up to your right shoulder to grasp the dumbbell in both hands.
  4. With control, “chop” the dumbbell across your body (rotating through your core to chop dumbbell to the outside of your left hip).
  5. Then return the dumbbell to your right shoulder. Release your left hand, and perform a single arm shoulder press on the right arm. Pressing the dumbbell straight overhead.
  6. Return to the staring position and repeat this pattern.
  7. Repeat on other side of body.

4. Launcher Plank + Alternating T-Pulls

Targets: The entire core with an emphasis on the obliques (side abs). Also engaged quads, calves, ankles, shoulders and back.

how to do a launcher plank or side plank with dumbbells

How to do a Launcher Plank + Alternating T-Pull:

  1. Start in plank position, maintaining a straight line with your body, gaze slightly in front of you. Place a dumbbell on the mat between your hands.
  2. From plank position, engage your core as you push your hips back towards your heels; bending at the knees. Then explosively drive your body back into plank position (nose to finger tips).
  3. Hold plank and grab the dumbbell with your right hand. Squeeze your side abs (obliques) and open into a side plank as you pull the dumbbell overhead with your right hand. Hold this position for a moment as your body mimics a sideways “T” shape. Hips high, obliques turned on, and shoulder blade pulled down.
  4. With control, return the dumbbell back to the mat as you return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

5. Single Leg Front Back Hop into Skater

Targets: Legs, glutes (outer gluteus medius), hips, calves, quads and core (for stability and balance).

How to do a single leg skater | standing core exercises

How to do a Single Leg Front Back Hop into Skater:

  1. Balance on your right foot, hovering your left foot off the ground (left ankle near right ankle).
  2. On your right foot, hop forward about 6 inches, then hop back 6 inches. As if you were hoping over a line on the ground.
  3. Then, push off your right foot to bound laterally to the left, landing in a loaded skater position on your left foot. Left knee bent, right leg tracking behind your left (planted foot) into a skater position.
  4. Then drive off your planted left foot to bound laterally back to the right. Landing softly on your right foot, returning to the starting position.
  5. Repeat on left leg.

6. Plank + Towel Knee Tucks

Targets: Lower abs, core, glutes, hamstrings, hips, shoulders and arms.

how to do plank knee tucks on towel | cardio and abs workout

How to do Plank + Towel Knee Tucks:

  1. Start in a table top position or quadruped position on all fours — shoulders stacked over wrists and hips stacked over knees. Place both feet (toes) on your towel/slider.
  2. Tuck your toes under to lift your knees off the mat, finding a bear crawl position. Engage your core, keeping knees close to the ground creating a straight line from head to tailbone.
  3. Then slide your legs back behind you into a high plank position. Creating a straight line from head to heels.
  4. Then pull your knees back towards your chest, sliding your toes along the floor.
  5. Continue this high plank to knee tuck pattern.

7. Walk Out Plank + Push Up

Targets: Shoulders, arms, chest, triceps, calves, ankles, glutes, quads and CORE. A true full body strength exercise.

how to do a plank walk out with a push up

How to do a Plank Walk Out with Push Up:

  1. Start standing with feet hip distance apart, slight bend in the knees.
  2. Sit your hips back and down as you lower into a squat, knees tracking towards toes.
  3. Plant your hands on the mat between your feet, then walk your hands out on your mat, ending when you’re in a high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists.
  4. Lower your chest to the mat for a push up, elbows falling back towards your body.
  5. Return to high plank position.
  6. Then walk your hands back towards your feet, returning to a low squat position before pushing through your heels to drive up and return to standing, extending arms straight overhead.

8. Plank Hold + Squat Hold + Squat Jump + Squat Hold (3 second hold each)

Targets: Every muscle in your body, especially your legs, glutes, quads, hamstrings, shoulders, back, abs and core muscles.

This complex exercise breaks down the burpee; one of the best HIIT cardio exercises to increase your heart rate.

burpee breakdown - plank, squat, squat jump

How to Breakdown the Burpee:

  1. Start in a low squat position, feet hip width apart, knees driving out towards toes, aiming to get your thighs parallel to the ground. Hold for 3 seconds.
  2. Plant your hands between your feet, then hop (or step) back to a high plank position. Shoulders are stacked over wrists, core engaged. Hold for 3 seconds.
  3. Hop back to a low squat position. Hold for 3 seconds.
  4. Push through your heels to “explode” up as you stand or leave the ground.
  5. Then return to a low squat position and hold for 3 seconds.

9. Burpee Push Up

Targets: Legs, glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest, triceps, abs and core muscles.

Burpee with a push up are a full body, anaerobic exercise that can burn anywhere from 10-15 calories per minute of work.

how to do a burpee with push up | cardio ab workout

How to do a Burpee with Push Up:

  1. Start in a low squat position, feet hip width apart, knees driving out towards toes, aiming to get your thighs parallel to the ground. Hold for a second, then plant your hands on the mat and hop back to a high plank position.
  2. Hold high plank, shoulders over wrists, core engaged, tailbone tucked.
  3. Lower your chest to the mat for a push up, elbows falling back towards your body.
  4. Return to high plank position.
  5. Hop your feet up to meet your hands (landing in a low squat position). Then, explode up, option to jump.
  6. Land softly in a low squat position.

SplitStrong 35 Free 2-Week Workout Program

A 2-week, FULL BODY workout plan with new workout videos DAILY — a 5 day workout split, 35-minutes a day, 5-days a week.

If you liked this cardio and ab workout at home (day five of the SplitStrong 35 workout plan); download the full training plan.

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35 Minute Cardio and Abs Workout At Home

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6 comments
  1. I’ve been loving this! Challenging, quick, and ensures I’m balancing muscle work. Any chance for another split strong routine??

    • Way to go Anna! So glad you loved this SplitStrong Program! We do have several other “split training’ focused workouts (like the ones in this program) on the site, but we might have to create a SplitStrong #2! -Lindsey

  2. This series is great. Thank you so much for putting it out. Your workouts are consistently challenging and I love the emphasis on working out like an athlete.