5 exercises, 1 dumbbell and this standing ab workout for a stronger core

Improve muscle definition in your abdominal area in just 10 minutes with this no-crunch home exercise session

Mid-section of a sporty athletic woman holding dumbbell
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Do you like ab crunches? We neither; they hurt your back and neck and aren't effective in helping you build a strong core. Instead of toiling away on the floor, trying to sculpt better abs, why not try this quick, 10-minute standing abs workout that uses only one dumbbell and helps improve muscle definition (a.k.a. six-pack gains!) and strengthens your whole core, including the lower abs, the lower back, and the obliques.

If you haven't got a dumbbell or don't feel confident enough to work out with weights, you can perform this workout using no home gym equipment (bodyweight only). If you haven't got dumbbells but would like to do this workout using one, we recommend perusing T3's best dumbbells and best adjustable dumbbell guides – you'll find all information about what we think are the best home weights, including which ones we recommend, on these buying guides. Now, onto the workout!

The above 10-minute standing ab workout features five exercises which should be performed 40 seconds on/20 seconds off basis (40-second work, 20-second rest). Perform all single-sided moves (the second, third and fourth exercises below) on the right side of the body for the first set, then on the left for the second set. Repeat the whole set twice (five minutes per set). The exercises in this workout are as follows:

  • Goblet Hold and March: Pick those knees up like you mean it! 
  • ️Uneven Front Squat and Pivot Press (Right/Left): By adding rotation, you work those obliques even more.
  • Single Leg Balance Weight Pass (R/L): This exercise is all about balance. You're holding a weight, so be extra careful when moving it from one hand to the other.
  • Windmills (R/L): This exercise works the core and the shoulders!
  • Lateral Squat and Front Raise: Finally, one more move that challenges the delts (shoulder muscles) as well as your core. An excellent finisher move. 

If you liked this workout, you must try the best standing ab workout with weights by PT Chloe Trigg. Just like this workout, it's only five moves but works the entirety of your core beautifully. If you're not keen on using dumbbells, you should try this 5-minute resistance band ab workout. If you don't mind working out on the floor, you might like this 3-move,10 minutes bodyweight ab workout.

Finally, if you fancy reading up on abdominal workouts, here are some tips on how long an ab workout should last and why dead bugs might be the ultimate ab exercise. Or, you can check out Ryan Gosling's abs workout that helped him get his Barbie six-pack. Hint: it's mainly hard work and a good diet. 

Matt Kollat
Fitness Editor

Matt is T3's Fitness Editor and covers everything from smart fitness tech to running and workout shoes, home gym equipment, exercise how-tos, nutrition, cycling, and more. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar (opens in new tab) and Fit&Well (opens in new tab), and he collaborated with other content creators in the past, such as Garage Gym Reviews (opens in new tab). When he isn't working out, he loves roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment, including microphones, cameras and more.