Abdominal exercises such as crunches and sit-ups are basic movements that can increase core strength and are used as stepping-stones for beginner exercisers. These movements are done by using your own body weight as resistance, which creates a certain limit to their difficulty and intensity. By adding extra resistance to such abdominal exercises with a lightweight dumbbell, you can increase the intensity of your workout and its overall effectiveness in developing strength, building muscle, creating a lean and tight midsection or preventing injury to the lumbar spine.
Dumbbell Half Get-up
Lie in a supine position with your legs straight and arms straight down by your sides.
Bend your left knee at a 90-degree angle. While holding a dumbbell in your right hand, extend your arm perpendicular to the floor, keeping the dumbbell directly over your shoulder.
Raise your body and perform a crunch, rolling onto your left elbow to stabilize your body. Reach up as far as you can while keeping the dumbbell overhead at all times.
Pause at the top, then reverse the movement, slowly lowering your upper body back to the floor, one vertebra at a time.
Perform the desired number of repetitions, then switch sides and repeat.
Lie in a supine position with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, feet flat on the floor. Firmly grasp a dumbbell with both hands, arms extended perpendicular to the floor.
Contract your abdominal muscles and elevate your upper body so that it creates an imaginary V-shape with your thighs. Your arms should be fully extended in front of you, perpendicular to your torso and with the hands clasped. This is the starting position.
Twist your torso to the right side as far as you can while keeping your upper body erect. Hold this position for a second.
Return to the starting position and continue twisting to the left side as far as you can while keeping your upper body erect. Hold this position for a second.
Do the desired number of repetitions before lowering your upper body to the floor.
Dumbbell Pullover Crunch
Lie in a supine position, legs straight out and arms extended overhead while holding a dumbbell.
Lift your legs straight up until they are perpendicular to the floor. This is your starting position.
Keep the arms extended overhead. Contract your abs and perform a crunch, bringing your chest to your pelvis.
Reach your hands toward your feet, trying to touch the dumbbell to your toes.
Lower your upper body and arms back to the starting position. Do the desired number of repetitions.
Tips and Warnings
Things You'll Need
- Practice these movements without the added resistance of a dumbbell to make sure you use proper form.
- These movements are for experienced exercises only. If you are not physically active, talk to your physician to make sure you are able to start an exercise program.
- Mat or padded floor
- Dumbbell, 2 to 10 lbs.