The oblique muscles are very important muscles for both general fitness and health. If you want a great looking midsection then you need well developed oblique muscles. From the health side of things, a strong core is important to protect the back muscles and spine when you twist, bend, and lift.
Really there is no good reason not to train your oblique muscles to keep them strong and toned. So what is the best way to do that? Sadly you cannot just target the entire abdominal area with a single exercise. The love handles, or side abdominals, as they may be called, are not always targeted as effectively as possible. To fix that problem we have a list of the best exercises available to hit the oblique muscles.
The Top 5 Oblique Exercises
- Oblique Crunch – This is one of the most common exercises and easily done incorrectly. Lie on your side with your elbow pointed up and hand supporting your neck. Simultaneously crunch your shoulders off the ground while raising your knees off the ground. It is a very small and controlled movement. Hold the contraction and squeeze before lowering.
- Side Plank – This is a great core and oblique exercise that should be part of the regular rotation. The side plank is similar to a normal plank except that you are on your side supporting weight on the side of your foot and one elbow/forearm. The body is kept flat from ankle to head. Make sure to work both sides.
- Hanging Knee Raises to the Side – These are done in the hanging leg raise chair. Bend your knees and start with your thighs parallel to the ground. Instead of crunching forward and bringing your knees to chest, twist the knees to one side and raise the hips up. It is a small but effective motion. Make sure to work both sides.
- Medicine Ball Twists – These can be done standing, sitting, or on a decline. From a sitting position, hold a medicine ball at arm’s length with your head up and spine straight. Rotate your torso to the left, leading with the ball, as far as you can go. Pause and reverse the motion all the way to the right. This shouldn’t be fast, but more controlled where the muscles are flexing to do all the work not momentum. Make sure not to twist further than comfortable.
- Standing Toe Kicks – Stand with feet shoulder width apart and arms straight out to your sides. Kick your right foot up towards your right hand, out to the side, only lowering your shoulder to touch your toe when the foot gets as high as possible. Make sure to do equal reps to each side.
Ideally you want to include at least one of these exercises that specifically target the oblique muscles. You can even mix it up and use a different exercise, or two, each session for more variety. The primary goal is to build a complete abdominal section which means working the top, bottom, and sides effectively. This will ensure that your abdominals not only look great but are also going to protect your spine and won’t be out of balance with your overall physique.