Want to Bump up the Intensity of Your Core Workout? Just Add Dumbbells

Photo: Kyle Miyamoto
Each month, a new trainer takes us through four of the best workouts they have in their back pocket. Follow along weekly for new ways to sweat it out with us. See All

The easiest way to rev up the intensity of your core workout? Add a set of dumbbells.

Now that we’ve mastered the art of the Bird Dog and sampled seemingly every plank known to man, this week’s iteration of Trainer of the Month Club sees Le Sweat founder Charlee Atkins takes things to the next level by bringing in some extra weight. Think: sit-ups with overhead presses, planks with dumbbell drags, and down dogs with a row. And if you thought same-old Russian Twists were enough to leave your abs on fire, just you weight wait. Challenging? Yes. Effective? Absolutely.

Instead of powering through an hour’s worth of crunches, this series builds full-body strength in 7 minutes flat, which leaves ample time in your day for spring cleaning, or if you’re like me, drinking rosé on rooftops now that the weathers hit 60 degrees.

Read on for the series, and don’t forget to check back next week for an entirely new set of moves.

Complete each exercise for 30 seconds, 2x through with no rest (7-minutes total).

Hollow Hold

  1. Start by lying flat on the mat with your legs straight and arms extended overhead.
  2. Point your toes and lift your legs off of the ground.
  3. Pressing your lower back into the mat to “hollow out” your core, lift your shoulder blades off the mat.
  4. Hold with controlled breath for 30 seconds.

Down Dog to Renegade Row

  1. Start in a push-up plank position with your shoulder right in line with your wrists.
  2. Move your hips back into Downward Facing Dog.
  3. Return to push-up plank position.
  4. Keeping your body flat, pull one elbow up towards the ceiling, stopping when your wrist meets your ribs.
  5. Return and repeat the Downward Dog position.
  6. Coming back to plank, row the opposite arm.
  7. Repeat the exercise for 30 seconds.

Dumbbell Drag

  1. Holding push-up plank position, place both dumbbells to one side of your body, just on the outside of the hands.
  2. Reach across the body with the opposite arm and drag both dumbbells under your body to the other side, keeping your hips low and arms stable.
  3. Repeat by dragging both dumbbells to one side and then the other.

Russian Twist

  1. Start in a “V” position, keeping your spine as diagonal as possible.
  2. Rotate through the chest, bring the dumbbells to one side of your torso.
  3. Rotate to the opposite side.
  4. Repeat, holding the “V” position.

Sit-Up + Overhead Press

  1. Start on your back with both knees bent and your elbows bent held close to your body.
  2. Complete a sit-up.
  3. At the top of the sit-up, extend both arms overhead with your biceps by your ears.
  4. Pause at the top before slowly lowering your arms and shoulders down to repeat.

Ab Weavers

  1. Place the dumbbells by your feet, mat-width apart.
  2. Put your arms out to the side of your body in a "V" position.
  3. Zig-zag your feet through the dumbbells by pulling your knees into your chest and extending your legs.
  4. Repeat the motion for 30 seconds.

Butterfly Sit-Up + Overhead Press

  1. Start on your back with the soles of your feet together and your knees pointed out wide.
  2. Hugging the weight to your chest with your elbows in tight, slowly sit-up.
  3. At the top of the sit-up, extend the weight out to a 60-degree angle.
  4. Slowly lower down, pulling the weight into your chest.
  5. Repeat for 30 seconds.

For more of Charlee Atkins at-home ab workouts, try another this 7-minute series (which left everyone in our office with some serious second-day soreness).

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