Two dumbbells, four moves and 15 minutes are all you need to strengthen your core and prevent lower back pain

Work on your mid-body muscles with this super short routine

Woman doing a lunge with dumbbells in each hand
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Dumbbells are the ideal tool for building strength at home. You can use them to target various parts of your body, including your all-important core muscles. These muscles wrap around your mid-section and they play a role in everything from your balance to your posture and spinal health. 

This 15-minute workout from trainer Sadie Lee Thomas is made up of just four movements, but it targets a wide range of muscles in the core, as well as the lower-body. To do it, you'll need a yoga mat plus some medium-weight dumbbells. 

How to do Sadie Lee Thomas' four-move dumbbell workout

Make sure you use a pair of dumbbells that are challenging but manageable. You'll be working for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest. If you can't complete the full 30 seconds of work, switch out your dumbbell for a lighter option.

The trainer recommends doing the workout with minimal rest periods, but if you're new to exercise you can modify this to suit your fitness levels and take a longer breather.

Benefits of this workout

People often turn to moves like crunches and sit-ups to improve their core strength, but doing a range of exercises can give your mid-body muscles a more comprehensive workout. 

That's because sit-ups and crunches primarily target the rectus abdominis (also known as your abs) at the front of the stomach, but they neglect other core muscles like your side-lying obliques and the transverse abdominis, which wraps around your abdomen. This workout targets a wider range of core muscles, along with other lower-body muscles like your glutes (found in your backside). 

Having a strong set of core muscles could ward off lower back pain, as these muscles provide support to your spine. Strengthening your glutes could also help with aches and pains, as these muscles are important for pelvic stabilization. 

Read up on the best exercises for glutes or try these core strengthening exercises, if you're looking for more workout ideas.

Need some tips on which weights you should buy? Read our guide to the best adjustable dumbbells

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.