Four moves, two dumbbells and 30 minutes for stronger arms and abs

Develop upper body strength and improve your balance, posture, and performance with this short routine

A man performing a weighted abs exercise with a dumbbell
(Image credit: Getty)

We love a good arm workout, but we're also partial to some targeted abs exercises. Fortunately, with this short session, you don't have to choose between the two. 

The workout from Sweat app trainer Britany Williams (opens in new tab) is designed to target your arms and abs simultaneously with just four exercises—talk about time-efficient. 

You only need a pair of dumbbells to tackle it too. We like using our Core Fitness set, which tops our roundup of the best adjustable dumbbells (opens in new tab), but you can use any fairly light fixed pair or even a couple of cans of beans if you don't have any weights handy. 

The aim is to complete 12-15 repetitions of each move, one after the other. You'll rest for 60 second between exercises, and should complete each exercise three or four times, so this session should take less than 30 minutes.

It's important to focus on your form to get the most from your workout and avoid injury. Watch Williams demonstrate the four moves below and practice each one to master the technique. Then, when you feel ready, give the workout a go. 

Watch Britany Williams' dumbbell arms and abs workout

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Williams says the key to getting the most out of the best abs workouts (opens in new tab) is to "keep the core engaged by minimizing the distance between your rib cage and your hips while maintaining a neutral spine".

Training this area is the key to unlocking plenty of health benefits too. The rectus abdominis (responsible for the six-pack shape) is the best-known core muscle, but people often overlook the likes of the spine-stabilizing transverse abdominis and the internal and external obliques, which power twisting, bending and rotational movements.

Strengthening these muscles can lead to improved balance and stability, as well as improved sporting performance as you have more power in your midline to swing a golf club or support your torso while you squat (opens in new tab). It can even help prevent injuries by taking weight off your lower back when you lift things.  

As well as hitting your abs, the exercises in this workout will tax your triceps—the muscles that run down the back of your upper arm. They will also engage your chest and shoulder muscles, so you get plenty of bang for your buck. 

After you've finished this workout, you might be wondering what to do the next day. You might consider targeting other muscles with a back workout (opens in new tab) or one of the best leg workouts (opens in new tab).

Alternatively, if you want to give your body a break from lifting weights, why not recover with a lower-intensity activity like trying these anti-aging yoga moves (opens in new tab).

Harry Bullmore

Harry Bullmore is a fitness writer covering everything from reviews to features for LiveScience, T3, TechRadar, Fit&Well and more. So, whether you’re looking for a new fitness tracker or wondering how to shave seconds off your 5K PB, chances are he’s written something to help you improve your training.

When not writing, he’s most likely to be found experimenting with a wide variety of training methods in his home gym or trying to exhaust his ever-energetic puppy.

Prior to joining Future, Harry wrote health and fitness product reviews for publications including Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Runner’s World. Before this, he spent three years as a news reporter with work in more than 70 national and regional newspapers.