A strong core is vital to warding off injury and giving power to crush hills and other grueling workouts. That’s why we carve time out of our training schedules to work our abdominals, hip flexors, and lower back muscles
But sometimes we get stuck in a rut and end up doing the same core exercises over and over again. And while you’ll get some results training this way, you’ll eventually plateau, and the strength gains will begin to diminish. That’s why adding some extra intensity and new angles to target your core can give you the extra edge you need to crank out the miles.
If you’re looking for a new way to challenge your core, boost performance, and keep your body injury-free, consider adding a dumbbell into the mix.
“Adding weight or resistance to your ab workout is a great way to advance any basic core exercise,” says a certified run coach, instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp, and the co-founder of . “By adding weight, you’ll increase muscle strength and definition and boost overall performance.”
To keep your body strong and injury-free, Clayton created a workout with five weighted abs exercises that not only work your core, but also challenge other parts of your body, too. With one dumbbell, you can build strength and stamina in your chest, shoulders, arms, and glutes.
How to do it: For the exercises below, select a dumbbell that feels challenging, but allows you to maintain proper form. If you start to compromise your form, swap the weight out for a dumbbell with less resistance.
You can do this workout for reps or time. For a five-minute core workout that’s perfect before or after a ride or run, do each exercise for one minute. On those days when you have some extra time, create a circuit, and repeat the five-minute sequence two or three times. If you start to notice pain associated with adding a dumbbell, go back to using your bodyweight.
Lay flat on a workout bench or yoga mat. Hold a dumbbell with both hands on your chest. Pull your navel in towards your spine, keep your heels glued to the ground, and sit up. Then, slowly and with control, curl back down. For an added challenge, try playing around with tempo by going slow on the way down and fast on the way up or vice versa.
Rock Back Russian Twist
Start in a seated position on a workout bench or yoga mat. Hold a dumbbell to your chest in both hands, glue your knees together, and lift your feet off the ground, hovering in a V-sit position. Use momentum to rock your body back on the mat, and then rock back to the V-sit position. Twist the weight four times from your right hip to your left hip without moving your lower body.
Lay down on a workout bench or yoga mat. Hold a dumbbell by one of the ends in both hands and lift your legs straight up. Pull your navel into your spine and press your back flat into the mat. Keep your legs straight as they lower down towards the bench and your arms straight as they raise over your head. Then, bring your arms and legs back to the starting position and crunch the weight to your toes.
Weighted Hollow-Body Hold With Bicycle
Lay down on a mat or workout bench. Hold a dumbbell in both hands, lift your shoulder blades off the bench or ground, and pull your navel to your spine, so your back stays flat. Lift your legs straight up to the weight. From this position, alternate 10 straight leg scissor kicks and 10 bent knee alternating bicycles.
From a kneeling position, place a dumbbell between your legs. Drop your elbows down and lift your knees off the ground to get into a forearm . Focus on squeezing your glutes and kicking your heels to the back of the room. For an added challenge, try incorporating an alternating hip dip right and left.