Exercises

7 Best Ab Exercises Using Dumbbell Weights

We all know that six packs are predominantly made in the kitchen. A clean diet and a low body fat percentage are ultimately what will give you the right platform for a well-chiselled physique.

However, there’s a lot you can do in the gym to help you get shredded abs. 

And if you’re sick of doing sit ups, you’ve come to the right place. 

By adding in some weight to your ab training, you’ll be giving your body the stimulus it needs to adapt and grow – so you can start seeing some real results. 

One of the easiest ways to train your abs is by using free weights. That way, if you’re short on time or just want to do your ab training at home, you don’t need much to get started. 

Can weights give you abs?

Abs are like any muscle. If you want them to be more defined, you need to progress your training. This means working your way up in weight load, to get stronger, more developed abs.  

So, just doing a few situps each week, isn’t going to cut it.  

You need to add on the weight, as well as eat enough protein, to get a truly defined six pack. 

7 best ab exercises 

Below are our top seven exercises for building strong, defined abs. 

We’ve chosen to use dumbbells as they’re easy to hold and really versatile.  

1) V-sits 

fitness expert using a mirafit dumbbell for ab exercises v sits

How to do them: 

Lie on the floor while holding the dumbbell above your head. Bring your arms and feet up at the same time so that your body forms a V-shape. Lower yourself carefully back down and repeat. 

Why you should be doing them: 

This exercise is a great way to target both your upper and lower abs all at the same time. The leg raise part works your lower abs. And the overhead with dumbbell lift challenges your upper core. 

2) Leg raises 

fitness expert using a mirafit dumbbell for ab exercises leg raises

How to do them: 

Lie on the floor with a dumbbell gripped in-between your ankles. While pressing your back flat into the floor, lift your legs up to around a 45-degree angle, and then lower back down. Repeat. 

Why you should be doing them: 

These are great for working your lower abs as well as your hip flexors. And having to maintain a straight spine is also good for working your lower back.  

3) Kneeling woodchoppers 

fitness expert using a mirafit dumbbell for ab exercises woodchoppers

How to do them: 

Kneel down on one knee. Holding the dumbbell in both hands, raise it up behind you and back down so that it meets the side of your hip on the supporting leg. Once you have completed your set, repeat on the other side.  

Why you should be doing them: 

Woodchoppers are particularly good for working your obliques. And the added momentum of this movement is a great way to challenge and engage your stabilising muscles.  

4) Russian twists 

fitness expert using a mirafit dumbbell for ab exercises russian twists

How to do them: 

Sit down on the floor and bring your knees up so that your legs are elevated. While holding the dumbbell with both hands, move the weight from side-to-side. Ensure that you maintain your balance throughout the exercise and that your movements are controlled. 

Why you should be doing them: 

Having to keep your legs off the floor in this position is great for working your lower abs. And the added, weighted twist works your obliques.  

5) Side planks with hip lift 

fitness expert using a mirafit-dumbbell for ab exercises side plank with hip lifts

How to do them: 

While in a side plank position, hold the dumbbell close to your hip. Lower your hips towards the ground (without making contact) and then push them back up. Make sure you use your core to perform this movement and not your legs. Once you have completed the set, repeat on the other side. 

Why you should be doing them: 

This is a controlled way to work the sides of your abs as well as your lower back. It’s also extremely challenging making it perfect for building strength.  

6) Overhead to squat  

fitness expert using a mirafit dumbbell for ab exercises overhead to squat

How to do them: 

Lie down on the floor with your knees up and your hands up above your head. With the dumbbell in both hands, bring the weight over your head and use the momentum to pull yourself up into a squat position. Roll carefully back down and repeat. 

Why you should be doing them: 

This is a really challenging exercise that tests your balance and works the whole of your core. Each movement needs all your energy and focus making it ideal for mixing up your ab training. 

7) Knees to chest  

fitness expert using a mirafit dumbbell for ab exercises knees to chest

How to do them: 

Grip the dumbbell in-between your ankles and bring your knees up while lying on the floor. You might want to support your lower back with your hands as you do this exercise. Next, squeeze your knees up into your chest and lift your hips off the ground slightly. Lower your legs back down while keeping them bent and without letting them rest on the floor. 

Why you should be doing them: 

This exercise is great for challenging your upper abs and the added hip lift engages your lower abs too. A real burner and great for building strength and definition. 

Which exercise is best for abs? 

There’s never going to be one go-to exercise for building overall strength and muscle. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your abs, arms or your legs. Building true strength is about consistent progression combined with accessory lifts.  

It’s also really important that your training doesn’t just focus on one area either. Muscle building needs to be balanced. So, if you’re working your abs, you need to work the whole of your abs, as well as your back, to avoid any asymmetries or potential injuries.  

Can you do ab exercises every day? 

How frequently you train depends on what type of training you’re doing. 

When doing weighted ab exercises like the above, we’d recommend you approach your training like you would any other area of your body. For example, if you do legs twice a week with rest days in-between, do abs twice a week with rest days in-between. 

And just like when you’re working any other muscle, keep a track of what weight load you are using for each exercise. That way, you can make sure you are always challenging yourself so that you can reach your goals.  

To complement your ab training, check out our best back exercises using a pull up bar

And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @MirafitOfficial.