This 15-Minute Abs Workout Will Light Up Your Core With Just One Dumbbell

Man performs crunch exercise in a garage, dumbbells on the floor next to him
(Image credit: Petri Oeschger / Getty Images)

Most gym workouts will end up training your core—it’s central to how you move, after all— but if you’re hoping to make your abs more prominent it’s worth finishing some sessions with dedicated abs workouts (along with following a six-pack friendly diet).

You don’t need long. A five-minute abs workout is a good place to start, but if that feels easy, and even a 10-minute abs workout fails to pose a challenge any more, take on this 15-minute no-repeat routine from personal trainer Caroline Girvan.

Girvan uses one dumbbell to increase the challenge, but using work periods instead of reps makes it more accessible for a range of training levels. Dig out your dumbbell (use a light one if you have the option), roll out your exercise mat and press play on the follow-along video below.

The workout runs through a succession of dead bugs, crunches, sit-ups and planks, requiring you to perform 40 seconds of each variation, followed by a brief five seconds of rest.

Before starting any movement, brace your core, and keep your movements slow and controlled. Focus on using your upper abs when raising your torso and pressing your lower back into the floor while performing the dead bug and the leg raise.

If you feel your form begin to suffer at any point, stop, rest, reset and begin again. 

For more abs routines, try this dumbbell abs workout which can be progressed easily with a heavier dumbbell. If you find exercising on the floor uncomfortable, check out this standing abs workout—it requires a range of equipment, though, so you’ll need access to a gym.

Lois Mackenzie
Fitness writer

Lois Mackenzie is a fitness writer working on news, features, reviews and buying guides for Coach and sister site Fit&Well. Lois is a hill walker and avid runner who has just completed her first marathon. Before joining Coach, Lois worked as a senior SEO reporter at Newsquest Media Group.