I’m so proud of my bun in these pictures. For once my hair *almost* looks put together in a workout tutorial instead of the usual hair-sticking-everywhere-messy-slop-bun-pony-thing. This core workout will take you only 15 minutes (15 minutes 30 seconds to be exact), and you’ll just need a dumbbell. If you’re a beginner or don’t have a weight handy, forget about the dumbbell and just do the exercises with your bodyweight. It’ll still be effective!
15-Minute Core Workout with a Dumbbell
Equipment I Used
- 10-lb dumbbell
- Gymboss Interval Timer
There are seven exercises in this circuit. You’ll do each for 30 seconds, moving from one right to the next (no rest). Once you’ve completed all seven, rest for 30 seconds before starting again from the top. You’ll go through the circuit four times total. If you’re advanced, try to get through two consecutive circuits before resting. If you’re a beginner, only go through the circuit twice (and add additional rest time as needed in between exercises or completed circuits).
Push Throughs | Start on your back with knees bent and feet planted a little wider than hip’s distance apart on the floor. Hold the dumbbell vertically with both hands, arms straight, pointing in between your legs. Crunch up, pushing the weight as far forward through your legs as you can. Lower back down, but try not to come to complete rest on the floor. Keep your abs contracted, belly button pulling down towards the floor the entire time. This movement will be small and you should feel it in your upper abs.
Full-Body Sit-Ups | Start laying on your back with legs outstretched and hovering a couple inches off the ground. Holding a weight in your hands, arms should be outstretched overhead and hovering as well. From this starting position, crunch up, bringing your knees in towards your chest as you lift your shoulder blades off the ground and bring the weight up and over towards your shins. Extend back out, lowering to starting position. The goal is to never bring the legs and/or weight to rest on the ground when you extend back out.
Rainbow Russian Twists | These are just like your traditional Russian Twists except you’ll extend your arms out straight instead of holding the weight tight in to your body. Start seated and lean your torso back to about a 45-degree angle keeping your core engaged and your chest open (don’t hunch your shoulders forward). With bent knees, lift your feet off the ground as well so that you’re balancing on your tailbone. Hold the dumbbell with straight arms outstretched in front of you. This is your starting position. From here, you’re going to trace and arch shape with the weight (think of a rainbow), twisting from your waist as you bring the weight down to the left and then up, over and down to the right. Arms should stay straight the whole time. By having the weight away from your center of gravity, this will be more of a balance challenge than a traditional Russian Twist. If it’s too difficult, just bring the weight closer in towards your body.
Leg Lift to Toe Touch | Lay on your back with arms straight above chest, holding the fat ends of the dumbbell, shoulders stacked down into the floor. Legs should be outstretched and hovering a couple inches off the ground. Pull your belly button in towards your spine and press the low back against the ground to protect the low back. From this starting position, lift both legs up so that feet are pointing towards the ceiling, keeping legs straight. Then bring the dumbbell up to meet them, crunching up as you lift your shoulder blades off the ground, reaching towards your toes (it’s ok if you can’t physically touch them, just focus on getting as high as possible). Return upper body to starting position and then lower legs to starting position.
Weighted Side Plank Lifts | Start in a side plank position, bottom hand stacked under shoulder. Use your top hand to hold the dumbbell at your waist (it should be resting on your body, your hand is just there to keep it from falling off). From here, dip your hips down towards the ground to a hover and then squeeze your bottom sidebody to lift them back up towards the ceiling. If these bother your wrist, do them from a side forearm plank position.
You’ll alternate sides each time through the circuit. So your first and third times through the exercises, do these on the right oblique; the second and last times through, perform the exercise on the left.
Mountain Climbers | These are like doing high knees in a plank position. Start in a plank, hands stacked underneath shoulders, core squeezing in tight (don’t let your low back sag or your butt stick up in the air). From this position, drive one knee at a time up towards your chest, like running horizontally. The pace on these should be quick.
Forearm Plank Hold | Most of us are familiar with a plank, so just a couple form queues: think of stacking your joints, elbows directly below shoulders. Pull the lower abdomen in to protect the low back (think of pulling up your jeans’ zipper). Squeeze the quads above the knees—notice how engaging these muscles helps straighten out your body even more. Tuck the tailbone slightly and then fire up the entire abdomen by pulling the forearms and balls of feel in towards each other (you won’t actually move, you’ll just contract the muscles). Need more explanation? I did a whole post on common plank form errors).
Have a great day!
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