Forget planks — you only need 10 minutes and a pair of dumbbells to build a stronger core

a woman carrying two dumbbells
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Building core strength isn't just about targeting your abs with the odd set of sit ups and planks every now and again. Alongside your abs, the core encompasses muscles in your back, hips and pelvis. So if you want to properly implement core training into your fitness routine and get results, you're going to want to establish a range of exercises that target the entirety of this muscle group. 

This is where Britany Williams' nine move core routine will come in handy. Williams' workout can be done at home or at the gym so long as you have access to some of the best adjustable dumbbells. Dumbbell exercises require balance and stability which in turn activates your core muscles to support and control your movements. They also add resistance to your core workouts, challenging the muscles to work harder and grow stronger. 

But the focus isn't just on working with dumbbells in this routine, the workout employs a mix of dumbbell and bodyweight moves to help target all areas of the core. Whether you're working with weight or not, making sure you are performing each exercise with proper form will massively contribute to your strength gains in your core and help you avoid injury.

Ready to blast your core? 

What is the workout?

Although nine exercises may sound like a lot for your poor old core muscles to endure, you are only expected to spend 30 seconds on each. The aim is to complete two rounds of the workout allowing yourself a 60-second rest between rounds. 

In total it should only take 10 minutes to complete but this isn't a hard and fast rule. If you need to work slower that's fine, just remember to keep the focus on engaging your core muscles all the way throughout to target the right muscles and not waste your efforts.

You will notice that Williams' routine doesn't lean on traditional ab exercises but rather combines popular movements into one, or adds a little twist to challenge and engage a variety of core muscles in a short period of time.

For example, including exercises like the Three Leg Dog to Mountain Climber and Crunch to Heel Tap, which focus on dynamic movements and isolated contractions, the workout engages the rectus abdominis, obliques, and hip flexors, promoting muscle activation and endurance. 

Additionally, exercises such as the Hollow Hold Deadbug and Hover Pass Through emphasize core stability and control, helping to improve overall core strength and coordination. Integrating dumbbells into exercises like the Split Squat Chop, Offset Romanian Deadlift to Balance Upright Row, and Kneeling Stir the Pot adds resistance, pushing the core muscles to work harder and promoting muscle gains and definition. 

These exercises also improve functional strength and stability, which are essential for performing daily activities and preventing injuries. Furthermore, the bodyweight exercises such as the Single Leg Jackknife to Bicycle and Side Plank Oblique Crunch require the core muscles to stabilize the body against gravity, effectively targeting the entire core while also improving balance. 

Performing this workout consistently and implementing progressive overload training into your core exercise can lead to notable results, including improved core strength, stability, and definition. Additionally, incorporating proper nutrition, hydration, and rest into a well-rounded fitness routine will support muscle recovery and growth.

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Jessica Downey
Fitness Writer

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her love for keeping fit and fueling her body with healthy and enjoyable food quite naturally led her to write about all things fitness and health-related. If she isn’t out testing the latest fitness products such as the latest running shoe or yoga mat for reviewing then she can be found writing news and features on the best ways to build strength, active aging, female health, and anything in between. Before then she had a small stint writing in local news, has also written for Runners World UK (print and digital), and gained experience with global content marketing agency, Cedar Communications.


Born and raised in Scotland, Jessica is a massive fan of exercising and keeping active outdoors. When at home she can be found running by the sea, swimming in it, or up a mountain. This continued as she studied and trained to become a PPA-accredited magazine journalist in Wales. And since working and living in London, she splits her time between weight training in the gym, trying new fitness classes, and finding scenic running routes. Jessica enjoys documenting this on her fitness-inspired Instagram page @jessrunshere where she loves engaging with like-minded fitness junkies.


She is a big fan of healthy cooking and loves learning more about this area with expert nutritionists she has met over the years. Jessica is a big advocate for building healthy relationships with food rather than building restrictive attitudes towards it. When she isn’t eating or running she also enjoys practicing yoga in her free time as it helps her to unwind and benefits her performance in other sports.