Compared to other muscle groups, dumbbell ab exercises are quite limited.

There are only two exercises for abs that can be done with dumbbells.

Dumbbell Ab Exercises Side Bends RightOne is for the front abs and one is for obliques:

  • Dumbbell Crunches
  • Dumbbell Side Bends

That's it. Yes you can do leg raise holding a dumbbell with your feet, but I've seen some people dropping the weight on their face and they were not happy afterwards.

It's difficult to hold the dumbbell with your feet, have you ever tried? Especially when you start to get tired. I've never done resisted leg raise and I don't really care...just not interested.

I would just do the two dumbbell ab exercises that I listed above, if I had to.

I say if I had to because dumbbell ab exercises are my last option.

I much prefer resistance band ab exercises, or cable ab exercises.

Here's Some Dumbbell Ab Exercises

Dumbbell Crunches

How are crunches usually done? With your arms crossed on your chest or with your hands behind your head, right?

If you want to do crunches with dumbbells, I suggest to use only one dumbbell and hold it with both hands.

Hold the dumbbell in horizontal position, on your chest. Your hands should just be beside your chin, just a little bit lower.

The closer you hold the dumbbell to your face, the more you feel the resistance.

The lower you hold the dumbbell, the less you feel it.

While you can do crunches keeping your feet off the floor and crossing your legs, if you use dumbbells that's not really possible.

The only way I can see to resisted crunches with dumbbells is to fix your feet to the ground so that you can perform a wider range of motion.

You probably need someone to hold your feet down, or figure out another way.

Dumbbell Side Bends

I am sure that you already know how to do dumbbell side bends and that there are two ways to do it:

  • One-Side Bends
  • Alternate Side Bends

One-Side Bends

Doing one side at the time has the benefit of focusing more on the movement and might give you more stability (balance).

Dumbbell Ab Exercise - Single Side Bends Start
Dumbbell Ab Exercise - Single Side Bends Finish

Keep your feet shoulder width apart and slightly bend your knees. Grab one dumbbell with palms facing you and extend your arm along your side.

Bend down (same side where your hold the dumbbell) till you can, without curving your back forward (the dumbbell can slide on your leg).

Then return to the initial position. Note that you actually work the opposite oblique ab.


Alternate Dumbbell Side Bends

As I said, the most common form of this exercises is alternating left and right, holding two dumbbells.

It's faster, but the result is exactly the same. It's all about your preference, no one can tell you whether one is better than the other.

Just repeat the movement of the one-side bends, on both sides.

Dumbbell Ab Exercises - Side Bends Start
Dumbbell Ab Exercises - Side Bends Right
Dumbbell Ab Exercises - Side Bends Left

Looking to Buy Dumbbells? Here Some Ideas

I realize that not everybody can have a set of N dumbbells at home, because the truth is...they take a lot of room. That's why, if you're looking to buy dumbbells to use at home, I strongly recommend the following types. My favourites are the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells, even though I have different types. In fact, they're not the only ones out there. For example I have a different type of adjustable dumbbells, those where you add the plates to obtain the desired weight. I prefer the Bowflex dumbbells because you can change the weight in one "click". I had a chance to use the last model I showed you when I trained in a hotel is the actual pair I used:


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2 Responses

  1. Avatar Jas
    I'm relieved to see that my preferred oblique exercise of many years, the alternate dumbbell side bend, is perfectly fine to do as an exercise regime, is safe and actually works. Considering how many workout/exercise blogs go against this workout, it's great to see that I've been doing it the right way, all of these years. I had actually stopped for about a year, more or less, because I was uneasy about the cons spoken against it, mainly saying that it defeated the purpose of the crunch itself, by going side to side. I went ahead anyways, and gave it another try, a day ago, despite all of the naysayers...because I was getting increasingly desperate to cut down the stubborn, growing fat in that region, and I marveled at the immediate burning sensation of that zone, I figured the sensation was a sure sign it must be working! Haha. Only (1) day's worth of oblique side crunches and the next day my sides were considerably sore. I love it! I'm going to continue doing it, especially after coming across this very informative site! (2) Thumbs up to Build Muscle 101!:)
    • Cristian Cristian
      Thank you!