Abdominal Exercises with a Dumbbell You Should Do

To add weight to your abdominal exercises all you need is a dumbbell. Here you'll find excellent options and tips on how to do them. 
Abdominal Exercises with a Dumbbell You Should Do

Last update: 30 October, 2019

One of the main “issues” with abdominal exercises is that they may bore us a little. Even when we try new options. That’s why, in this article, we’ll tell you about a few abdominal exercises with a dumbbell. Make your routine harder!

Best abdominal exercises with a dumbbell

In case you workout at home and do not have a dumbbell you may use a plastic bottle filled with sand or water. If you’re at the gym, you can replace it with a small disc (maximum 2.5 pounds) to start with.

Abdominal exercises with a dumbbell require a warm-up before you begin. This way you’ll avoid injuries and prepare your muscles for action. It’s recommended that you work out your abs at the end of your routine, before stretching out. However, some people prefer to do it in the middle of their routine when they’re not as tired. This depends on each individual.

Practically any abdominal exercise can be adapted to using a dumbbell, some are specifically designed for this purpose. Do not hesitate to try them!

1. Basic abdominal exercises using a dumbbell

Lay face up with your knees bent, as shown on the cover of this article. Hold the dumbbell with both hands and support it on your chest. The idea is that it allows you to do the forward push necessary to complete the exercise.

For this, hold on to the dumbbell securely, stretch your arms behind your head then procede to lift your back from the mat (to the lumbars). Pass the dumbbell through your knees, go down and start again.

Another option is that you keep the dumbbell (or whatever you’re using) on the abdomen. You’ll exercise the area much better and your body will have additional resistance.

2. Two stage abdominals

This starts out the same as the previous exercises, but in this case, the arms holding the dumbbell should always be stretched pointing to the ceiling. What you should do, is move your torso and of course, your abdomen. 

They are called “two stages” because the movement makes a slight rest in the middle. In other words, first you lift part of your back (cervical), you pause, then the second part (dorsal).

crunch sit ups

3. Lateral abdominals

This exercise is a bit more complicated and requires a certain practice. Bend your knees and raise your back, you should then support yourself only on your buttocks. Lift your feet off the ground.

Hold the dumbbell with both hands at the height of you chest. Spin your torso to the right and try to touch the floor with the dumbbell. Return to the middle and repeat on your left side.

lateral abdominals

4. Abdominals with stretching

This exercise requires a lot of coordination, the good part is that it works the entire abdomen. Begin with the dumbbell behind your head and your legs stretched out. Hold the dumbbell with both hands and raise your torso while you take your knees to your chest.

The shinbones should remain parallel to the ground. Place the dumbbell between your ankles to secure it well and slowly stretch your legs while you bring your torso down and stretch your hands behind your head.

Then, repeat the same movement and take the dumbbell and remove it from your legs. Take it back with your arms stretched and your legs extended. This completes a full repetition.

abdominal exercises
Image: Youtube sway xp.

5. Standing lateral abdominal exercises using a dumbbell

Who said abdominals are only performed while lying down on a mat? There are several exercises that are done while standing…and with a dumbbell!

In this case, open your legs to hip width and bend them a little. Hold the dumbbell with your right hand. Keep your back straight, arms close to your body and head facing straight ahead.

Afterwards, incline your body to your right side, slightly lift your left shoulder and, after a few seconds, start again. After 15 repetitions switch to your right side.

standing abs with dumbbells
Image: Youtube Flash Mavi

6. Swings

This exercise not only works our abs but it also works our arms and legs. It’s quite complete and requires certain coordination. To start, while standing, hold the Russian weight with both hands in front of your body. 

Bend your knees and hold your arms in the middle of your legs to gain momentum. Then, raise as quickly as you can and raise your stretched arms above your head.

abdominal swings
Swing exercise example with Russian weight. Image: Pinterest Men’s Health

Almost all of the abdominal exercises you usually do in the gym may be done adding a dumbbell or disc. Try it and you’ll see the great results!

It might interest you...
Discover a New Way to Train your Abs
Fit People
Read it in Fit People
Discover a New Way to Train your Abs

Learn a slightly different way to work your abs. It's ideal to do it continuously, but if you see that the routine is a lot of effort...


  • Cos Morera, F., Carreras Villanova, D., Cos i Morera, M. À., & Medina Leal, D. (2011). Terminología de los ejercicios de fuerza con sobrecargas (y IV). Apunts Educación Física y Deportes. https://doi.org/10.5672/apunts.2014-0983.es.(2011/4).106.09
  • Tous, Julio. (2001). Tous, J. Entrenamiento de la Musculatura Abdominal. Tesis Doctoral. Universidad de Barcelona.