When looking at ab training, you are without a doubt, spoiled for choice. There are so many workouts and a humongous number of exercises at your fingertips, ranging from beginner level fitness through to extreme body conditioning.

It can all be quite daunting and mundane when we get down to it. Things might easily feel repetitive with everything being similar in motion, but there are ways you can change the game, and go for even more straightforward exercises that are much more rewarding. Weighted ab exercises do just that.

Russian Twists

Starting off easy, Russian twists are one of the easiest exercises that you can use to add weights to your ab training. They have a good motion range to hit your oblique muscles, with more than enough stability to hold a weight of your choice comfortably without much risk. The time under strain will hit your upper and mid ab section, and the movement will hit your obliques.

For the best use of the weighted variation, you need to lay on the floor with your abs contracted so you are essentially at the highest point of a crunch. Have your weight already in hand, usually a dumbbell, and rotate your torso until you are facing one side, then the opposite. Keep doing this for your rep count and then go back down.

woman exercising side crunches

Oblique Raises

If you want to stick with hitting the obliques first, oblique raises are the next logical exercise. As far as weighted ab exercises go, they don’t get much simpler than this while still having such useful results at the end.

The basis of the exercise is to hold the weight to one side of your body, probably with one hand if possible, and then bend your torso sideways creating curves in the sides of your chest. Contract your obliques to straighten yourself back upwards, and they will move the entirety of the weight!

Wood Chop

Weighted ab exercises are so often done with weight plates and dumbbells that it can be easy to forget about your other options. Using cable exercises like wood chops is the perfect opportunity to look at how you can hit your whole core muscle range at once. This will benefit all your ab muscles.

To do them, you need to stand to one side of a cable machine with a D handle in both hands, raised above your shoulder. When you’re ready, perform a diagonal downward movement as if you were swinging an axe across your body. This will really be a hard hitter.

Inverted Wood Chop

Just from the name, inverted wood chops are what you would imagine them to be. They are a useful tool though, as they offer a new angle for you to work with as you hit your abs upwards instead of down. Your muscles are hit twice as hard if you use both wood chops in harmony.

To do these, start with both hands on the D handle attached to the cable at the side of you, from below instead of above. From here, almost like pulling a chord on a lawnmower, pull the cable up and across your body. This will activate your whole abdominal muscle group.

Cable Crunches

Before we move back to dumbbells from cables, the cable crunch is one of the most popular and iconic weighted ab exercises available. They are extremely common to see in the gym, and they have great results if you can manage to make the most of them. Using the cable is better than using a machine, too!

To do them, you need to be on your knees with the cable attached to a rope in front of you. From this position, focus on contracting your upper abs to bring your whole upper body closer to the floor. The added weight behind you means you can really change the game from a regular crunch.

man doing a cable crunch


Next up on our weight ab exercises compilation, we’re going to use a slam or medicine ball. As we’ve already said, it’s always a useful thing to be able to change the equipment that you’re using. Similarly, it's good to diversify the range of motions that you’re doing so that you can hit your abs correctly.

Slams hit your abs in a way that other exercises don’t really have the chance to do. They are also a plyometric movement which isn’t always something that ab training can give you. To do them, raise the ball above your head to give you the most power possible, and launch the ball to the floor in an explosive burst. This will utilise your upper abs as your torso hurls the weight to the floor and give them a good contraction through it!

Weighted Knee Raises

Going to the more advanced weighted ab exercises, knee raises are quite tough to use to their full potential. Using a dumbbell between your legs in a safe position makes the exercise even more taxing than it already is, so you’ll need to have a good level of core strength to be able to master it.

With the weight hanging between your legs and you in a stable and balanced position so you won’t drop it, contract your lower abs to bend your knees and bring the weight up to your core. Hold it there for a second or two to make the most of the contraction before you carefully take it back down again.

V Pass

Last but by absolutely no means least, we have the V pass. This absolute monster of an exercise uses your whole ab range to its full potential, so make sure you use a weight that you’ll be able to manage properly!

Lay flat on your back with your arms extended above your head and your legs straight. Put a medicine ball (or an exercise ball if you can’t manage) and lift them straight up. Do the same with your arms with your upper abs and pass the ball across your body.

These eight ab exercises are all incredible without weight, so once you do add the extra weight, you can have huge benefits.

Your abs will feel an incredible contraction per exercise as they are forced to move weights that they are not used to, and your overall core strength and stability should show drastic improvements. Just be careful when you’re holding weights in new movements so as not to drop them and cause any injury.

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If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.