6 Best Dumbbell Plank Exercises to Build Sturdy Core

If you are bored with the traditional bodyweight planks, you can try the weighted ones with dumbbells. Dumbbells are super effective equipment that provides good resistance, a better range of motion, and a suitable grip, as well as allows you to perform planks in different ways.

I’ve shared as many as six dumbbell plank variations in this article that will help you bolster your core muscles, boost endurance, improve mobility and help correct posture.

The Scientifically Proven Benefits of Planks

plank exercises with weights

The primary benefit of the plank is to strengthen your core. The core is made of various muscles, such as rectus abdominis, internal and external oblique, and transverse abdominis.1Core Anatomy: Muscles of the Core – American Council of Exercise These muscles help move, support, and stabilize your spine and minimize the risk of lower back injuries.

A strong core also enhances balance, stability, athletic and lifting performance, as well as fixes poor posture.2The real-world benefits of strengthening your core – Harvard Health Publishing

The plank exercises also increase skeletal muscle mass, reduce body fat, and improve muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility.3 Effects of High Intensity Plank Exercise on Physical Fitness and Immunocyte Function in a Middle-Aged Man: A Case Report – National Institute of Health

So it is best to include the different plank variations into your workout regime to achieve your best physique.

Advantages of Doing Planks with Dumbbells

Doing planks with dumbbells can be challenging at first, but if you can do bodyweight plank for two minutes, then you’ll also be able to plank with weights.

Adding resistance to plank exercises provides multiple advantages, such as:

  • It creates more tension on the core muscles, improves muscular endurance, and thickens abs and oblique muscles.
  • Improve your balance and muscle coordination.
  • Burn decent calories and tone your abdominal muscles.
  • Strengthen various muscles other than the core, for example, the back, shoulders, hips, and arms.

6 Best Dumbbell Planks To Forge Your Core and Build Abs

  1. Plank Dumbbell Drag
  2. Dumbbell Side Plank
  3. Dumbbell Plank Rotation
  4. Dumbbell Renegade Row
  5. Dumbbell Side Plank Hip Lift
  6. Incline Dumbbell Plank Row

1. Plank Dumbbell Drag

The plank dumbbell pull through works various muscles throughout the body, including your abs, back, shoulders, and hips. It is an excellent exercise to develop your core muscles while improving your mobility and endurance.

The plank dumbbell drag is easy to perform, and even a beginner can do it. You can include this exercise in your cardio or warm-up exercises because it also burns a good number of calories in a quick time.

How to do it:

  1. Place a dumbbell on the floor and get into a high plank position with your arms straight below your shoulders. The dumbbell should be close to your right hand underneath your chest.
  2. Keeping your abdominal muscles tight, drag the dumbbell with your left hand from your right side to your left.
  3. Bring your hand on the floor and now grab the dumbbell in your right hand and drag it to your left side.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of times.

2. Dumbbell Side Plank

The dumbbell side plank is an isometric exercise that strengthens multiple muscles throughout the body, including obliques, rectus abdominish, hips, and shoulders.

This exercise primarily sculpts your love handles (obliques), the muscles which are often skipped during the standard core exercises, such as crunches, hollow body, mountain climbing, and forearm plank.

Strengthening your obliques improves the appearance of your core muscles and helps you enhance your performance where abdominal muscles are required.

However, dumbbell side plank is demanding and also puts stress on your shoulders. So this is certainly not for beginners.

It is only for those who have sturdy delts and the ability to hold in the bodyweight side plank for at least 30 seconds.

How to do it:

  • Lie on your right side on your forearm with your legs extended and stacked on each other, from hip to feet.
  • Grab a dumbbell in your left hand and keep your arm straight over your body.
  • Brace your core, hips and legs, and hold in this position for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Once you complete, switch on your left side without taking a break.

3. Dumbbell Plank Rotation

The side plank rotation is another excellent exercise for strengthening core muscles, particularly obliques. It is slightly more challenging than the traditional side plank but also activates the core muscles more efficiently and provides better results.

How to do the side dumbbell plank rotation:

  • Place your left lower arm on the floor and lie on your side with your legs straight and stacked from hip to feet.
  • Grab a dumbbell in your left hand and extend your arm directly over your shoulder.
  • Keeping your core and lower body tight, twist your torso toward the floor and bring the dumbbell under your body.
  • Pause for a moment and then return the dumbbell to the start.
  • Perform the desired reps and sets equally on both sides.

4. Dumbbell Renegade Row

Dumbbell Plank row

The renegade row is a compound exercise that works the entire upper body, including your core, chest, and back. It’s a great exercise to help you build up your muscles and improve your overall strength, balance, and muscle coordination.

How to:

  • Holding one dumbbell in each hand, get into the up position of the pushup exercise with your arms straight below your shoulders and body straight from head to heels. Take your feet slightly out as it provides stability.
  • Brace your core, perform a pushup, and pull the dumbbell to your right side while keeping your left hand on the floor.
  • Lower the dumbbell on the floor and repeat on your left side.
  • Maintain a neutral spine position throughout the movement.

5. Dumbbell Side Plank Hip Lift

If you want to work deep on your love handles and sculpt your abdominal muscles, you should include weight side plank hip tap into your core workout routine.

The side plank dumbbell hip lift is an excellent move to build up and tone your abdominal muscles and improve the appearance of your six-pack abs.

It is also an excellent exercise for improving balance and coordination and improving your hip mobility.

How to do it:

  1. Get into a side plank position on your right side.
  2. Grab a dumbbell in your left hand and place it over your hips.
  3. Keeping your abs and thighs engaged, thrust your hips up and down for the desired number of times.

6. Incline Dumbbell Plank Row

The incline dumbbell plank row is an excellent exercise to hit the different upper body muscles simultaneously, particularly the abs and upper back. It will help you build strength, muscle, and endurance, as well as burn significant calories.

However, the incline plank row is slightly more challenging than other plank variations because it requires you to keep your bodyweight on one arm while holding a dumbbell and pulling at your side with your other arm.

If you can do the standard one-arm dumbbell row, then you should include this exercise in your workout regime.

How to perform incline plank dumbbell row:

  • Grab a dumbbell in your right hand with a neutral grip.
  • Place your left hand on a flat bench or elevated object.
  • Keep your arms straight and extend your legs behind and maintain a shoulder-width distance between your feet. That’s the starting position.
  • Brace your core and glutes and row the weight at your side until the dumbbell reaches close to your rib.
  • Pause for a couple of seconds and lower the dumbbell.
  • Perform the desired reps and switch on the opposite side.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you do the plank every day?

You can do bodyweight planks every day but not the weighted ones. Doing planks with dumbbells puts more stress on your core muscles and needs more time to recover. And without proper recovery, you risk injury from overuse of muscles and joints. So it’s best to do them on alternate days.4What Really Happens to Your Body When You Plank Every Day – Livestrong.com

How long should You hold During the plank?

You can do planks anywhere from 15 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on your fitness level.
Most experts say you will need to do at least 30 seconds to get results from this exercise.
However, if you are a beginner, you can start with 15-second holds. And once you improve your fitness, you can increase the plank duration to two minutes.5 How long should you hold a plank? – Harvard Health Publishing?

Do planks reduce abdominal fats?

Planks do not specifically reduce the stomach fats but help decrease overall body fat mass to some extent if you do them consistently for a longer period of time.

A study has shown that four weeks of plank training helped increase skeletal muscle mass (3.10%) and lower body fat mass (−2.98%) in middle-aged men (ref 3).

The fact is weight loss depends on various factors, including physical activity, calorie deficit, hormones, age, gender, and other multiple things.

Can planks help you build six-pack abs?

Planks are core strengthening exercises and can help you thicken six-pack muscles if you do them with other abs exercises. The truth is everyone has those six-pack abs, a.k.a rectus abdominis. It is hidden under the belly, whose body fats are high but visible, whose fat percentage is low. So it is best to do different core workouts, including planks, and lower your body fats simultaneously to expose your six-pack abs.

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