Core training has exploded in popularity over the last 15 years. But while core training is undoubtedly important, it tends to create the notion that lifters don’t need to specifically work their abs. And that’s true, to a degree. A vigorous core workout targeting the hips, midsection, and shoulders—coupled with proper nutrition, of course—is all you need to produce six-pack abs.

That approach can be effective, and some people prefer that two-for-one approach instead of crunching, planking, twisting, and otherwise targeting the abs.

A dumbbell workout focused on the abs and obliques is the happy middle ground. A dumbbell abs/obliques circuit is perfect for athletes looking to challenge their midsections, as well as build strength and stability by training with iron.

The 30-minute Abs/Obliques Workout: How It Works

In this 30-minute dumbbell workout to build your abs and obliques, we’ll hammer through four rounds of these seven exercises, circuit style. To produce maximum results, do the prescribed reps of each exercise back-to-back, resting as little as possible. Rest only briefly between each round of the circuit.

Pete Williams is a NASM-certified personal trainer and the author or co-author of a number of books on performance and training.