Total-Body Dumbbell Workout, Ab Blasting Sculpts Your Heart
If you’re trying to take your abdominal workout to the next level, you’re going to need some weight.
Just like other muscles in your body, your abs will respond best to a strength training program that uses the principle of progressive overload, which states that your muscles grow as they adjust to handle increasingly difficult stimuli. . Too many abdominal routines only require you to use a yoga mat and body weight while sticking to the same repetition ranges – so this workout uses dumbbells to add a load to challenge those muscles.
Plus, you’ll get better aesthetic and strength-building results in the real world if you extend your focus beyond your six-pack muscles (the rectus abdominis). Your core is much more than those abs, so using exercises that involve your muscles more will only help you, whether you’re training to get ready for the summer season or just want to get moving and feel better. Best of all, this abs workout is really a full body routine designed to hammer your core, so your back, shoulders, and arms are in the mix as well.
Directions: Do this workout 3-5 times a week. (You can never over-train your heart!) On days when you’re not doing this workout, try a 20-minute run or walk.
Walk towards the descending dog
Start standing. Pivot forward, place your hands on the floor, and pull them out until you are in a push-up position. Tighten your abs and glutes. Pause. Keeping your arms and legs straight and your abs tight, lift your hips toward the ceiling, bringing your elbows closer to your ears. Reverse the movements. It is 1 representative. Do repetitions for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds. Repeat 3 times. You will wake up your hamstrings and lats and also teach your core to get stronger in any situation.
1. Getup in three steps
Begin the workout by building strength in your abs and glutes. Lie on your back, a dumbbell in your left hand directly over your shoulder, your left knee bent. Put your right hand on the floor, squeeze your abs and lift your torso, keeping the weight above your head. Squeeze your abs and lift your torso again. Extend your right arm. Squeeze your glutes by pushing your hips up. It is 1 representative; do 3 sets of 8 per side.
2. Row of paused bear planks
Continue to hammer your abs while building mid-back strength. Start with a bear plank, wrists below shoulders, knees on the floor, core and glutes tight, your right hand gripping a kettlebell or dumbbell. Keeping your hips and shoulders perpendicular to the floor, bring the weight back onto your rib cage. Take a break for a second, then cut it down. It is 1 representative; do 3 sets of 6 to 8 per side.
3. Halo V-Sit
Now train your abdominal muscles to keep your rib cage from flaring out in any situation. Sit on the floor with your legs together, a dumbbell or kettlebell held against your chest. Squeeze your abs, lift your legs an inch off the floor, and slightly tilt your torso back. It’s the beginning. Keeping your abs tight and working so you don’t tip over, wrap the weight around your head. Do 2 reps clockwise, then 2 reps counterclockwise. Repeat this pattern for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds. Do 3 sets.
4. Staggered load hip bridge step
Develop the core real-world strength needed to stabilize your hips as you run and walk. Lie down with your shoulder blades on a bench or ottoman, a dumbbell held in your right hand. Reach the dumbbell over your head as far as you can without arching your back. It’s the beginning. Keeping your hips and shoulders perpendicular to the ceiling, bring your feet up. Repeat this pattern for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds. Do 2 sets per arm.
5. Copenhagen Plank Pressout
Teach your abs, glutes, and obliques to interlock (and train your running stride as well). Start with a side plank, left foot on a bench or ottoman, right leg straight out in front of you, knee bent. Hold a light weight in your left hand, with your wrist close to your body. Keeping your hips and shoulders stacked, push the weight forward. Hold for 2 seconds. Bring it back to your body. It is 1 representative; do 3 sets of 8 per side.
A version of this story originally appeared in the May 2021 issue of Men’s Health, with the headline “The Total-Body Ab Blaster”.
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