dumbbell exercises for core strength

Dumbbell Core Exercises: 7 Best Workouts for Core Strength

Say hello to a rock solid core with these simple workouts

Dumbbell exercises can improve core strength and overall fitness.

Dumbbell workouts can help you improve bone density, build lean muscle and boost metabolism.

More specifically if you are trying to work your core muscles and abs, you don’t need several pieces of equipment.

You can accomplish so much with just one dumbbell. Or two. You just need to know the right exercises.


In this post, we’ll discuss the best dumbbell exercises to add to your core workouts.

Let’s dive in.

1. Dumbbell bear crawl

Bear crawls are very simple but effective exercises.

Adding dumbbells to the mix will lead to greater effects on the core.

The movement pattern in this exercise boosts cross-body connection, along with working the core muscles.

Here’s how to do it

  • Hold dumbbells on both hands and get on all fours, assuming a crawling posture.
  • Raise your knees slightly above the ground and crawl forward. 
  • To crawl, move one arm simultaneously with the opposite leg. This implies that if you move your right arm first, you will also move your left leg.
  • Alternate this with your other arm and leg.

2. Dumbbell waiter’s walk

This exercise is named after the way waiters walk. Obviously.

They, waiters, usually hold the tray of food or drinks up close to their shoulders or even higher.

You will essentially be doing the same, but with dumbbells.

This exercise strengthens core muscles and also targets the shoulder muscles and joints too. 

Here’s how to do it

  • Hold a dumbbell in one hand in an upright standing posture.
  • Raise the dumbbell over your head.
  • With your shoulders down and your wrists straight, walk forward.

3. Dumbbell side bend

Side bends help to develop the core and the obliques.


Stronger obliques mean more rotational strength, and this is particularly useful for many sports and athletic events.

Here’s how to do it

  • Stand upright, holding a dumbbell in one hand
  • With your chest up, lower the weight. You should keep your feet firmly planted to the ground and hinge at your waist.
  • Gently raise the dumbbell up to complete a rep. Repeat with the other hand.

4. Dumbbell farmer’s carry

Okay, we’ve seen a waiter’s carry, and now we have a farmer’s carry.

Farmer’s carry is similar to the waiter’s carry in that you have to hold a dumbbell and walk.

However, you don’t need to raise the dumbbell as high as in the waiter’s carry. This exercise builds core strength and also works the muscles in the forearms. 

Here’s how to do it

  • Hold a dumbbell in one hand in an upright standing posture.
  • Pull the dumbbell to your chest.
  • With your shoulders down and chest up, walk forward.

5. Dumbbell crunches

One of the dumbbell core exercises is crunches.

The crunch can stimulate the abdominal and core muscles, improving core strength. That’s for normal crunch.

When you add dumbbells to the equation, it’s a whole new ball game. Or bell game! It becomes one of the most effective dumbbell exercises for core strength.

The same muscles are stimulated and activated upon adding dumbbells, but the stimulation is higher.

Here’s how to do it

  • Lie on the ground with your knees flexed and your legs together.
  • Firmly hold the dumbbell with both hands and pull it to your chest.
  • Using strength generated from your abdominal muscles, raise your upper body.
  • Lower your body slowly to the ground to complete a rep.

6. Dumbbell T-pushups

Don’t get confused by the name. T-pushups are still basically pushups.


The difference is you use a dumbbell and form the letter ‘T.’

This exercise thoroughly works the muscles deeps in the core, and since you will be twisting, your shoulders and waist also benefit.

Here’s how to do it

  • Assume a pushup position while holding dumbbells to the ground.
  • Move downwards and push back up, as with normal pushups.
  • When pushing back up, raise your arm and the dumbbell to the ceiling.
  • Return the arm to the ground to complete a rep and alternate with the other arm.

7. Dumbbell Russian Twist

The Russian twist works the upper and lower core abdominal muscles.

The Russian twist is very valued because the muscles it activates are usually very tricky to activate.

This exercise also helps to increase the body’s stability, which will come in handy when stabilizing on heavy lifts.

Because of all the twisting, the obliques also benefit.

Here’s how to do it

  • Sit on the ground and assume a crunch position.
  • Grip the dumbbell with two hands and lift your feet off the ground.
  • Rotate from one side to the other with the dumbbell while bracing your abs.
  • Rotating from one side to the other completes a rep.

Related: 21 Free Weight Exercises for Strength, Muscle, and Balance (With Videos)


Dumbbell core exercises have lots of benefits for several parts of the body – and we’ve discussed the best workouts.

There are many variations of dumbbell exercises, ensuring that you never run out of motivation.

Make sure you start with weights you can handle to prevent injuries.

Don’t overdo it. And you should also give your body enough time to rest after every session.