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Best Dumbbell Exercises for Abs

Dr. Abby Campbell is a Naturopathic Doctor & President of 911 Body ResQ, an online store providing organic and non-GMO supplements.

The truth about six pack abs will help you towards your goals.

The truth about six pack abs will help you towards your goals.

The Truth About Six Pack Abs

Before we head into the best dumbbell exercises for abs, let's talk for just a few minutes. Billboard ads reveal sexy men with tight abdominals. If only you could wear their underwear and get the same results! Exercise video programs are advertised on television showing women with tiny waists. If only you could dance for 15 minutes per day and get abs like that! Magazines even tell you to pop this 'magic' pill for best results. Unfortunately, the truth about six pack abs has been misconstrued throughout media.

Maybe you've even given up on your dream of having a tight midsection, but might you be caught in a white lie if you said you never thought of having sexy six pack abs? Well, be encouraged! You no longer have to give up your dream. Sure, there are no magic underwear, video programs, or pills to get you the abs of your dreams. Only hard work and dedication will reward you, but it is well worth it and you'll appreciate it in the long run.

First and foremost, spot reduction cannot be done with abdominal muscles as some may think. Most everyone already has a nice six pack abdominal wall. However, many just can't see it because their walls are usually covered with a thick layer of body fat. So, what can you do?

4 Tips for Six Pack Abs

  1. Lower your overall body fat level.
  2. Exercise abs effectively.
  3. Do intense interval cardio.
  4. Eat smaller meals more often.
A strong midsection will help performance.

A strong midsection will help performance.

Well, you've stopped here for a reason. You obviously want to learn the best dumbbell exercises for abs. Along with those exercises, following are few other things you can do:

  1. Lower your overall body fat level. It is necessary to reduce your body fat in order to see your abs. Men need to reduce body fat to 8 to 10 percent, and women need to reduce to 12 to 14 percent.
  2. Exercise abs effectively. Your abdominal muscles are slightly different from other muscles in your body (i.e., pectorals, biceps, triceps, etc.). Your abs are firing all day because you are constantly moving with bending, picking up things, standing, and twisting. To make exercises effective for your abs, you will need a slightly different exercise approach than when you are lifting weights with other muscles of the body. You should use slow range of motion with a tempo of three seconds to contract and three seconds to release. Though the abdominal wall reaches from your pubic area to your sternum, you want to focus on tension or contraction for four different areas: lower, upper, obliques (side walls), and transverse (internal corset). Work your abs every other day. Allow them to rest in between workouts is appropriate.
  3. Do intense interval cardio. Challenging cardio workouts burn body fat, and you can do this through sprints or HIIT (high intensity interval training) with the treadmill, elliptical, or bike. By performing cardio first thing upon awakening before breakfast, you will tap into stored body fat for release. This is because you have just fasted from starchy carbohydrates for several hours during your sleep.
  4. Eat smaller meals more often. Trade up any pre-packaged, processed, or refined foods for natural whole foods. Make sure your meals are balanced with lean proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Cycle your starchy carbs; eat them only two to three days per week and preferably on your strenuous workout days.

If you heed to the four tips above, you will find your abs in no time.

Best dumbbell exercises for abs.

Best dumbbell exercises for abs.


Reasons for a Strong Midsection

Though your desire for a strong and sexy midsection could be right before you, there are some very good reasons for including exercises for your abdominals every other day:

  1. To look and feel good. Though looking good is what most of us want for ourselves, feeling good from the inside out will help you have more confidence. With more confidence, you can conquer the daily tasks in your life as well as your dreams.
  2. To stabilize your core. By exercising all of the abdominal muscles, you will strengthen your back thereby making it more stable and reducing any pain.
  3. To perform continually throughout life. Aging gracefully is a great by-product of abdominal workouts. Your functional and usable midsection will help you to continue performing throughout life without added assistance.

Six Pack Abs Exercises

Below are a few exercises to help you achieve your six pack abs. Darin Steen is the coach in these videos, and he has partnered with Dr. Mercola. Darin was an NFL football player for the Chicago Bears in the mid to late 1980s. He then became a competitive bodybuilder while working in the real world. After two decades, he became a full-time coach and has become one of the most successful in the world. He has partnered with Dr. Mercola, the famous osteopathic practitioner and bestselling author of several books on health.

If you're not familiar with the exercises below, it is suggested you start off slowly. Start with one to two sets of each exercise and build up to three to four sets. Use light dumbbells to begin and gradually increase.

Crunch Dumbbell Press

Decline Bench Crunch and Curl

Ab Dumbbell Twist on Bench


Whatever you do, be balanced in your approach to exercise. Your upper body (i.e., chest, back, shoulders, biceps, and triceps), as well as your lower body (legs, glutes, and calves) are all important to be trained for a body that is perfectly proportioned. Additionally, they all work together for balance and functionality.

If you're ever in 'real' physical pain when exercising, please stop and consult your physician.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Dr Abby Campbell (author) from Charlotte, North Carolina on August 14, 2014:

Well... if what you're doing is working for you, Joe, I say keep doing it! :-) These exercises are some examples for those who want variety. Thanks for the comment.

Joe from north miami FL on May 23, 2014:

never used dumbells for abs and I've been in the gym for many years

Dr Abby Campbell (author) from Charlotte, North Carolina on August 26, 2013:

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, bestkidsneeds. The exercises will definitely help. Just make sure your diet is in check too. Healthy, natural foods are important 80-90 percent of the time. :-)

Janet Vale from San Diego, California on August 23, 2013:

I need to work on my abs. Thanks for this sweet hub. hopefully it helps my abs and love handles.

Dr Abby Campbell (author) from Charlotte, North Carolina on July 23, 2013:

Hi Stan. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your comment. I'll have to make it over to your hubs and see what you have. ;) You're definitely right though about people struggling. Results never come easy with anything in life. We must put forth some effort to be successful. ;)

Dr Abby Campbell (author) from Charlotte, North Carolina on July 23, 2013:

Great, Kathryn! I'm glad I could be of some assistance. I'm sure you're doing wonderfully! :)

Stan Murphy from Kansas on July 15, 2013:

This is good information and worth a try. I am always looking for different ab work outs. I write hubs about fitness and people seem to really struggle to get results, but they give up easily if the exercises they try are uncomfortable. Well done!

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on July 12, 2013:

I'm back :)

I didn't try any of this the other day as I had planned, but I tried the first one out today, and I am very happy with it! My abs feel worked out in a way that they haven't quite felt, and it is much better than just a regular crunch!

Thanks again. I plan on using this in my regular routine now. I love it!


Dr Abby Campbell (author) from Charlotte, North Carolina on June 28, 2013:

Thank you for commenting, jabelufiroz. I appreciate you stopping by. :-)

Dr Abby Campbell (author) from Charlotte, North Carolina on June 28, 2013:

That's awesome on your six pack abs, Kathryn! :-) Usually the models have been dehydrating themselves for their photo shoot. Most don't look like from day to day. LOL. But, I hope you give these workouts a try. Let me know how you like them. :-)

Firoz from India on June 28, 2013:

Useful article on Best Dumbbell Exercises for Abs. Voted up.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on June 28, 2013:

This is exactly what I need! I already have visible "six pack abs", although not like those models, but I want to work them out more. I have certain crunches that I do, but I have never used dumbbells to strengthen my abs.

Today is one of the days I'm planning on doing both ab and leg exercises, as well as dumbbell exercises, so I will watch these videos, and try them out.

This week our gym has been closed, as they are moving it from the first floor to the third. I look forward to seeing what it looks like when it is back up and running tonight. Since I haven't been able to do the cardio as planned, and it has been raining for two days, it is imperative that I get a good workout in the next couple of days. Thank you for sharing this with us!

~ Kathryn

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