The sun’s starting to peak out and rainy season is leaving us. With summer just around the corner, we’re all ready to hit the gym and get our bodies in shape to hit the beach.
When we think of working our ab muscles, we might only be fixated on the mid-section of our core. Working on building a killer set of abs does not stop at the upper and lower abs, however, but rather continues with exercising the oblique muscles.
What Are the Obliques?
The obliques are located on either side of your abdomen and are part of your core muscles. We often forget to dedicate part of our workout to these muscles, but exercising your obliques will contribute to toning your physique, strengthen your core, and get you ready for the pool.
An important part of your body, the oblique muscles do more than just help you look good. They help improve your balance, protect your torso and prevent back pain. All the twisting and turning movements we make with our bodies are backed by our obliques and having a strong, reliable set will improve your performance.
6 Exercises to Tone the Obliques
Oblique exercises are meant to be challenging and you have to push yourself to achieve results. Every time you feel like you want to give up, focus on your breathing and imagine the results you want to obtain.
1. Side Plank
Let’s start with a side plank. Lay down on your favorite side and place your forearm on your mat, with legs stacked on top of each other. Once you are in this position, raise your hips and keep your body in a straight line. Hold this position for 30 seconds and switch sides.
The more you practice this exercise, you will notice that you will be able to hold this position for a lot longer, and any shaking or trembling will stop. If you want to challenge yourself, increase your plank time to 1 minute on each side.
2. Russian Twists
This is one of the best ways to work the whole core, including the obliques. Keep a dumbbell or a 3 to 5 pound object next to you for the exercise. Take a seat in boat pose, where your knees are slightly bent and your heels either slightly hover above the ground or touch the ground.
Lean your back slightly towards the wall that is opposite to your heels. Grab your dumbbell or weighted object, and with a straight back, twist the object on either side of your body. Continue this exercise for 60 seconds.
3. Bicycle Crunches
Lie down flat on your mat and place your hands behind your head. Starting with the left leg, bend the knee at a 90-degree angle, and using the opposite elbow, reach and twist your body to touch the knee with the elbow.
Move back to the original position and repeat this exercise with the opposite knee and elbow. Continue bicycle crunches for 50 – 55 seconds. You will really start to feel the burn with this exercise.
4. Spiderman Pushups
Come up to a high plank with your shoulders stacked above your wrists and your legs straight. Your body should be in a straight line. Lower your arms to a 90-degree angle as you would with a push-up. As you lower your body, start with either leg and bring the knee to your elbow.
Move back on to the original position and repeat this exercise with the opposite knee. Perform spiderman pushups for 60 seconds.
5. Side Bend
Stand upright with feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in your right hand (if this is the side you want to start with). Keeping your core tight, slowly bend your waist from the right side towards the ground.
Pause for 1 second and make your way back towards the standing position. Continue this exercise for 30 seconds on the right side, followed by 30 seconds on the left side.
Keep in mind that speed is not the goal here. You need to keep your core engaged and these movements should be performed slowly for the exercise to take effect.
6. Twist Crunches
Designed to focus on the obliques, this exercise will not only work your side but the muscles in the mid-section of the abdominal region, as well.
Lie on your back to get into position. Bend your knees and keep your heels flat on the ground. Place your hands behind your head and start to perform a sit up. As you sit up, twist to the right and touch your right elbow to your left knee.
Slowly lie back down to your starting position and repeat this exercise by twisting on the opposite side, using the left elbow to touch the left knee. Continue this exercise for 45–50 seconds and switch sides each time.
The content of this Website is for is for informational purposes only, is general in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and does not constitute professional advice. The information on this Website should not be considered as complete and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise, weight loss, or health care program and/or any of the beauty treatments.
Men’s Health. (2018, March 22). The 25 Best Exercises for Your Obliques. Retrieved March 27, 2018, from https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/g19545807/best-oblique-exercises/?slide=25
Marturana, A. (2017, June 28). 13 of the Best Exercises for Your Side Abs. Retrieved March 27, 2018, from https://www.self.com/gallery/obliques-exercises