How To Do The Dumbbell Crunch

Woman performs crunch exercise holding dumbbell
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While there are contrasting opinions over whether crunches are effective for building a six-pack, there’s no doubt that they’re one of the most popular abs exercises, along with the likes of the reverse crunch and bicycle crunches.

One way you can ensure your crunches are effective is to introduce some weight. Progressive overload – where you increase the difficulty of an exercise over time to ensure it’s still challenging you – is a part of most people’s workout programmes, but it’s often neglected with abs exercises like crunches.

Aside from simply doing more reps, people don’t look to increase the difficulty of their core moves. This can hamper their attempts to carve out a six-pack or to strengthen their core muscles.

Adding weight is a failsafe way to progress the classic crunch, and it’s easily done by grabbing a couple of dumbbells. Ready to challenge your core? We've got a dumbbell abs workout for you to try below.

Benefits Of The Dumbbell Crunch

All the core muscles enlisted in the crunch have to work that bit harder when you add some weight into the mix. If you find that you’re smashing out a set of crunches without feeling any kind of burn in your abs, grab some dumbbells and start working those muscles properly again.

How To Do The Dumbbell Crunch

Dumbbell crunch

(Image credit: Future)

Lie on your back with knees bent, holding a dumbbell in each hand with bent elbows. Contract your abs to raise your torso, straightening your arms as your chest rises towards your knees to take the weights towards your feet. Pause at the top, then lower slowly back to the start.

It’s important that you don’t use the dumbbells to create momentum. Make sure you’re lifting yourself with your abs rather than moving the weights forwards to help swing you up.

If you only have one dumbbell to hand, or are finding the move too hard with two, you can hold one weight in both hands in front of your chest while doing your crunches.

Dumbbell crunch

(Image credit: Future)

Dumbbell Crunch Workout

Use this workout to put the dumbbell crunch into action with a challenging abs session. Aim for six circuits of these five moves, resting only at the end of the circuit.

  1. Dumbbell swing Reps 15 Rest 0sec
  2. Side bend Reps 15 each side Rest 0sec
  3. Woodchop Reps 15 Rest 0sec
  4. Dumbbell crunch Reps 15 Rest 0sec
  5. Russian twist Reps 15 Rest 60sec
Sam Rider

Sam Rider is an experienced freelance journalist, specialising in health, fitness and wellness. For over a decade he's reported on Olympic Games, CrossFit Games and World Cups, and quizzed luminaries of elite sport, nutrition and strength and conditioning. Sam is also a REPS level 3 qualified personal trainer, online coach and founder of Your Daily Fix. Sam is also Coach’s designated reviewer of massage guns and fitness mirrors.

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