Core-focused workouts don't always require equipment. You can do planks, sit-ups and crunches at home if you want to target the muscles in your midsection.
But as your body gets stronger, these moves will start to feel easier. That's where weighted core-strengthening exercises can come in handy. Adding a weight into your workout will increase the resistance that your core is working against, which means you can continue to challenge and strengthen these muscles.
This routine, created by NASM-qualified personal trainer QiQi Hill , is made up of four dumbbell ab exercises. Fitness newcomers might want to try them without weights to being with, to make sure they're nailing the technique.
Watch QiQi Hill's dumbbell core workout
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To do this workout, complete 12 repetitions of each move, then repeat the whole thing again.
Think about engaging your core whenever you're moving. Do this by tucking in your ribcage and squeezing the abdominals. Avoid arching your back and when you're lying on the floor, try to keep your lower back flush with the floor.
Benefits of core workouts
Core workouts are important if you want to build a fit, functional body. The muscles in this area provide support to your spine, help with your balance and they link your upper and lower body.
Most everyday movements involve your core in some way, as it's responsible for transferring power between different areas of your body. Whether you're throwing a punch or picking up your shopping, the central core muscles will be involved.
Sit-ups and crunches are only one way to strengthen your core. If you're bored of floor-based core work, have a look at our guide on how to squat, as this classic weighted exercise will target your mid-body muscles, too.
Need help picking a weight? Our guide to the best adjustable dumbbells can help
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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.
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