Upgrade Your Core Training With Light Dumbbells

Woman performs weighted sit-up
(Image credit: jeffbergen / Getty Images)

Whoever you are and however you like to exercise, you should be including core workouts in your week. These don’t have to be very complicated, or very long, but if you think you’re ready to add in an extra challenge, or combine your core work with some shoulder and arm exercises, we have just the thing.

Our featured workout from ACE-certified personal trainer Julie Cap (who goes by juliexfit online) comprises two circuits that take some of our favourite core exercises, like the bird-dog and bicycle crunch, and adds more movement in the form of dumbbell rows and biceps curls so your core has to work even harder to keep you stable.

The best part is that you only need a pair of light dumbbells and enough space to lie down. 

Watch Cap demonstrate each of the movements in the Instagram Reel below, and imitate her form to ensure the best results.

Complete 12 reps of each exercise in a circuit format for four rounds, taking one minute to rest between rounds. When you’ve finished all four rounds of the first circuit, rest for three minutes and then move on to the second circuit for the same number of reps and rounds.

Opt for a light set of dumbbells for this workout and focus on the quality of your movement, moving slowly and intentionally through each exercise to engage your muscles and maximise their time under tension. 

If you find the session too much of a challenge and you can’t maintain good form, almost all of the movements can be completed as bodyweight exercises. For the dumbbell shoulder press, remove the backwards lean and either support your back on a weights bench or perform the shoulder exercise standing.

If you have a pair of light dumbbells at home, you may like to know about this countdown circuit, which uses holds to increase the challenge of light dumbbells, as well as this home shoulder workout which uses light dumbbells to great effect.

Alice Porter

Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.