I'm a Trainer, and This Is the Ab Exercise That Improves My Core Stability and Strength

POPSUGAR Photography | Tamara Pridgett
POPSUGAR Photography | Tamara Pridgett

My favorite ab exercises change all the time, but one move that's a staple to any workout I do is the plank. I like doing planks because my core strength is always challenged, I can do them anywhere, and I always wake up sore the next day.

I'll admit I get bored with traditional planks, which is why I like variations like the plank with a dumbbell pull-through. If you thought regular planks were hard, wait until you try this move. It challenges your stability as you simultaneously balance your weight on one arm and pull a dumbbell from one side of your body to the other side.

This is an advanced plank variation, so if you're a beginner, I recommend starting with a side bridge, perfecting the high plank, and gradually progressing to moves like the plank with a shoulder tap and the plank with a resistance band row. If you have already got those moves down and are ready for the next ab-challenging exercise, continue reading.

How to Do a Plank With a Dumbbell Pull-Through

  • Start resting on all fours with a medium-weight dumbbell — 10 pounds is a good starting point — on the left side of your body.
  • With your palms flat, raise up off your knees onto your toes; your legs should be straight. Be sure to gently squeeze your glutes to engage them and keep your hands directly underneath your shoulders.
  • Contract your abs to keep yourself up and prevent your bottom from sticking up. Remember to keep your belly button pulled in.
  • With your head and spine in line, keep your back flat — don't let it curve. Look about one inch out in front of you, and don't tuck your chin. Picture your body as a long, straight board.
  • Maintaining this form, grab the dumbbell with your right hand and pull it underneath your body until it's on the right side of your body. Be sure not to rotate your hips.
  • With control, grab the dumbbell with your left hand and pull it underneath your body until it's back on the left side of your body.
  • This counts as one rep. Complete three sets of eight reps.