This is an AMAZING core exercise for developing power for punching, kicking and running.
Let’s get right to it…here’s what it looks like…
And yes, it looks exactly like I’m cross-country skiing while holding onto dumbbells..so how does that work the core?
Well, as one dumbbell is swinging down, the other is swinging up . The deep muscles of the core must activate strongly to stabilize the spine and protect it from the opposing forces that the swinging dumbbells are creating.
This opposing torque on the abs results in tremendous elastic/plyometric workload on the deep muscles of the core, especially when both dumbbells are at the bottom of their swings and heading back up.
All the momentum of those dumbbells swinging is going directly through your core.
How To Do It:
First, pick up two dumbbells, one in each hand, and stand up straight. Start LIGHT the first time you do it until you get a feel for the exercise.
You will be working your way up to heavier weights as you get stronger and more experienced with the exercise.
Keep your feet close together (a few inches apart at the most). If your feet are set too wide, the dumbbells will contact your thighs at the bottom of the movement.
Keeping the feet closer together also forces the abs to do more of the stabilizing as your body can’t rely on the legs to absorb as much of the momentum of the swinging dumbbells.
In order to get a good swing going, this exercise will require a carefully timed dip in the knees.
So on your very first rep, start by dipping slightly in the knees then popping back up. As you pop back up, use this momentum to start your right dumbbell swinging forward and up and your left dumbbell swinging back and up.
As the dumbbells start to come back down, dip your knees down again. As your left hand swings forward and your right hand swings back, pop back up strongly again.
You are using your legs to add momentum to the dumbbell swings, getting them up higher and giving you the ability to use heavier dumbbells.
Repeat this dip and pop up EVERY time the dumbbells come down to the bottom and start to come back up.
As you do this exercise, try not to let your torso twist back and forth much.
Do your best to keep your shoulders and hips square and unmoving so that all the torque goes through the core and so that you don’t get any sharp twisting movements in the spine.
Keep your arms rigid and locked into position as you swing the dumbbells up and down. For height, you want to aim for about shoulder height in front of you and a little lower with the dumbbell behind you.
Keep control of the weight and your torso throughout the movement – no wild swinging. Exhale forcefully each time you pop up (imagine as though you’re trying to blow the dumbbell forward).
Keep going for as long as you can with good form. When you can’t swing the dumbbells very high or you feel your core strength starting to give out (i.e. your shoulders and hips start twisting too much for your core to control), stop the swinging and set the dumbbells down.
So how heavy should you go with this exercise? That will depend on how strong your core is and how heavy your dumbbells go! You can build up to some good weights…I’ve personally gone up to a pair of 85 lb dumbbells and that was pushing it.
Overall, this is an AMAZING core exercise for developing power for punching, kicking and running.
Nick Nilsson is known in the fitness industry as the “Mad Scientist of Muscle,” and for good reason! For more than 28 years, Nick has been creating unique, new exercises and training techniques and putting together some of the most innovative muscle-building and fat-loss programs available anywhere.