10 Core Moves You Can Do With 1 Dumbbell

One dumbbell is all you need to improve athletic performance, build core strength, and get ripped.

If you want to hone your six pack, you don’t need a whole gym full of equipment. You can use a bunch of gear if youР’В reallyР’В want to — but you can carve your core pretty well with just one dumbbell.

Bodyweight-only moves can be lacking, too. Tons of guys think they’re working their entire core with exercises like hanging leg raises and mountain climbers — but they’re primarily recruiting the muscles in the midline of the abdominals, the rectus abdominis, with that type of work. They’re missing out on important gains for the external and internal obliques, which are important for lateral bending, trunk rotation, and explosive force production.

These 10 moves strike the perfect balance. They only require a single dumbbell, and they directly target all of the muscles of the abdominal wall and lower back. Do these 10 exercises anywhere to build core strength and ensure youРІР‚в„ўre working every abs muscle from every angle.

The 1 Dumbbell, Six Pack Abs Moves

Dumbbell Lean and Drag

  • Get into a pushup position with the right hand holding the dumbbell in a neutral (palms facing the midline) grip.
  • Keeping the body in a straight line, slide the dumbbell directly down towards the right leg, then return it to the starting position.
  • Slide the dumbbell across your body so it glides under the left arm, then return to the starting position.
  • Slide the dumbbell downwards and diagonally towards the left ankle as you raise your hips into a pike, then, return to the starting position.

Trainer Tip:Р’В Do five reps (down, across, pike) on the right side then use the dumbbell on the left and switch the directions.

Dumbbell Ab Slam

  • Lie supine (on your back) with knees bent at 90 degrees.
  • Grab the dumbbell with both hands and straighten both arms overhead and behind you so your upper arms are against the floor.
  • Do an explosive situp, bringing the dumbbell between your legs and tapping it on the ground between your legs.
  • Return the weight in an arc to the starting position.

Trainer Tip:Р’В This move is for increasing explosiveness in the rectus abdominis. DonРІР‚в„ўt slam your back on the way down; come up faster than you go down. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Dumbbell X-Up

  • Lie supine with both arms and legs extended and spread out in the shape of an “X”.
  • Grab the dumbbell with both hands and place it against the ground above the left shoulder.
  • Keeping the legs flush against the ground, brace your core and bring the dumbbell from the left side of your body to the outside of your right knee or ankle.
  • Lower yourself back down and return the weight back to the starting position.
  • Repeat the motion, this time from right to left.

Trainer Tip:Р’В This move targets the obliques. Do 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps each side. Beginners can use no weight and just tap the outside of their knee with their hand.

Dumbbell Burpee

  • Stand holding the dumbbell horizontally, with one end in each hand.
  • Squat down with a straight back, place the dumbbell on the ground, then jump your feet back into the top of pushup position.
  • Do a pushup, grab the dumbbell again, jump your feet back towards your hands, get into a low squat and stand up.

Trainer Tip:Р’В To increase difficulty, use a 20-pound dumbbell. Drag the weight up your body and press it overhead.

Dumbbell Oblique Twist

  • Lie on your back with your right leg straight and left leg bent and flat against the ground.
  • Grab the dumbbell with both hands and extend your arms straight overhead.
  • Keeping your arms straight, do a situp until your torso is upright.
  • Rotate your core to the left, keeping your arms straight and dumbbell in the front of you.
  • Return your arms (and the dumbbell) towards the center and lower yourself back down to the starting position.
  • Repeat the motion to the right.

Trainer Tip:Р’В This move recruits the rectus abdominis on the way up, then the obliques when you rotate. DonРІР‚в„ўt use too fast of a tempo throughout the move. Perform 8 reps on each side.

Dumbbell Side Plank with Rotation

  • Place your right forearm on the ground and get into a side forearm plank.
  • Grab the dumbbell with your left hand.
  • Scoop the dumbbell underneath your torso then rotate your left arm and dumbbell towards the ceiling.
  • Pause for 1-2 seconds then go straight into the scooping motion again.

Trainer Tip:Р’В Beginners should do this without weight. Intermediate to advanced trainees should use a 10 to 15-pound dumbbell. Do 2 sets of 10 reps on each side.

Dumbbell Superman Pass

  • Lie prone (on your stomach).
  • Grab a light dumbbell at both ends with both arms extended in front of you and slightly above the ground.
  • Let go of the dumbbell with your left hand and using the right hand, place it behind your lower back.
  • Transfer the weight from the right to left hand and return the weight to starting position (holding it both hands).

Trainer Tip:Р’В This move strengthens the lower back and gluteus muscles while simultaneously increasing shoulder mobility. Do 2 sets of 8 passes from each direction.

Dumbbell Overhead Side Bend

  • Holding the dumbbell straight overhead in your left hand.
  • Place the right hand on your right hip.
  • Bend laterally to your right, keeping the left arm straight, until you feel tension on the left external oblique.
  • Return the weight to the starting position by reversing the motion.

Trainer Tip:Р’В This move is a more challenging take on the standard side bend since it requires the stabilizer muscles in your trapezius and rotator cuff. The most weight youРІР‚в„ўll need is 15 pounds. Do 3 sets of 10 bends on each side.

Dumbbell Kneeling Reach Over

  • Place your left knee on a mat and straighten your right leg to the side.
  • Grab a light dumbbell with your right hand and extend your left hand straight out to the side, keeping the dumbbell above your right shoulder.
  • Dip your right elbow towards your right hip.
  • Bring the dumbbell up and over your head to the left side of your body until you feel tension in the right oblique.
  • Return the weight back down towards the top of your shoulder.

Trainer Tip:Р’В Don’t use a dumbbell until you’ve tried this a few times without weights. Keep your free arm straight and locked into the same position (try not to lower or raise it). Do 3 sets of 10 reps on each side.

Dumbbell Ground and Pound

  • Kneel on a mat with your torso upright. Grab a dumbbell using a neutral grip in your right hand.
  • Hold the dumbbell next to your face with the left hand in a closed fist, protecting your face.
  • Punch downwards and across your body (diagonally) with the dumbbell while the left hand stays protecting your face.
  • Bring the dumbbell back to the starting position.

Trainer Tip:Р’В DonРІР‚в„ўt actually touch the ground with the weight. Rotate your core as you punch and keep your eye gaze downward throughout the set. Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.

Article By: Mark Barroso