21 Best Ab Exercises With Weights That’ll Work Your Core

21 Best Ab Exercises With Weights That'll Work Your Core

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sam Kang

According to celeb trainer Gunnar Peterson, the secret to core strength is “working consistently, working in different planes of motion, and adding weights to your abdominal work.” In other words, there’s no shortcut to getting strong abs. But being smart about your training can help you avoid wasting energy while tapping into all the benefits that a stronger core can offer: better balance, protection from injury, better form during cardio and strength workouts, less pain, and better posture, to name just a few. If you’re a true beginner, try starting with bodyweight ab moves (or try out the following moves without a weight). But if you already have a foundation, like Peterson said, weighted ab exercises are key to continuing to build strength.

For all of the weighted ab exercises ahead, all you need is a set of dumbbells, a medicine ball, or a couple of handy weight substitutes, such as water bottles or cans of food. To get the most bang for your buck when doing these exercises, choose a weight that feels challenging by the last few reps. These will likely feel much harder than bodyweight ab exercises, so know that it’s totally normal to feel your muscles shaking.

Keep reading to see 21 different weighted ab exercises you can add to your workout, plus a recommended number of sets and reps for each. Add a few to the end of your next workout as a core finisher, or turn these weighted ab exercises into a full-on workout by picking five and repeating them circuit-style. As always, listen to your body and feel free to modify or switch to bodyweight as needed.

— Additional reporting by Maggie Ryan

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