Exercises for Stronger Obliques

The 6 Best Exercises for Stronger Obliques

When it comes to building a strong core, it’s essential to target all areas, including the obliques. The obliques are the muscles that run along the sides of your waist, and strengthening them not only helps create a defined waistline but also enhances overall core stability. In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to six of the best exercises for stronger obliques, helping you achieve a toned and resilient midsection.

What Are the Obliques

The obliques, also known as the internal and external oblique muscles, are a group of abdominal muscles located on the sides of your waist. They play a crucial role in core stability, spinal rotation, and lateral flexion of the trunk. The obliques are named based on their orientation and location.

The external obliques are the superficial muscles that run diagonally from the lower ribs towards the midline of the body, forming a “V” shape. They are responsible for rotating the trunk and bending it sideways. When you twist your torso or perform side bending movements, you engage the external obliques.

The internal obliques lie underneath the external obliques and run in the opposite direction, forming an “X” shape with the external obliques. They assist in trunk rotation and lateral flexion, working in conjunction with the external obliques. The internal obliques are responsible for movements such as twisting and bending to the side.

Together, the oblique muscles provide stability and support to the core, aiding in maintaining proper posture, protecting the spine, and assisting in various functional movements. Strengthening the obliques not only helps create a more defined waistline but also enhances overall core strength, stability, and athletic performance.

It’s worth noting that the obliques are engaged in many everyday activities and exercises that involve twisting or bending the torso. They play a role in sports such as golf, tennis, and baseball, where rotational movements are essential for performance. Additionally, the obliques contribute to maintaining balance and stability during movements like walking, running, and lifting.

READ   How Does Fitness Affect Heart Rate

By incorporating exercises that target the obliques into your fitness routine, you can enhance the strength, endurance, and aesthetics of your midsection while improving your overall functional fitness.

1. Russian Twists

Russian twists are a classic oblique exercise that targets the side muscles of your core. Sit on the floor with your knees bent, lean back slightly while maintaining good posture, and lift your feet off the ground. Hold your hands together or use a weight for added resistance. Rotate your torso from side to side, touching the floor or the weight to each side. Keep your abs engaged throughout the movement.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that Russian twists activate the oblique muscles significantly, making it an effective exercise for targeting those areas.


2. Side Plank

Side planks are fantastic for engaging the obliques along with other core muscles. Start by lying on your side, propping yourself up on your forearm with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder. Stack your feet on top of each other or stagger them for more stability. Lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold the position for as long as you can while maintaining proper form.

Research published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science showed that side planks activate the external obliques to a high degree, making it an excellent exercise for oblique strengthening.


3. Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle crunches combine the benefits of regular crunches with a twisting motion that engages the obliques. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your head. Lift your shoulders off the ground, bringing your right elbow to your left knee while straightening your right leg. Alternate sides, bringing your left elbow to your right knee while straightening your left leg. Keep your abs tight and focus on the twisting motion to activate the obliques.

READ   How Do You Train For A Spartan Race: Training Tips for Success

A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy compared different abdominal exercises and found that bicycle crunches produced high muscle activation in the obliques.


4. Woodchoppers

Woodchoppers mimic the motion of chopping wood and effectively target the obliques. You can perform this exercise using a cable machine, resistance band, or a weighted object like a medicine ball or dumbbell. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the weight with both hands at one side of your body. Engage your core and rotate your torso diagonally, bringing the weight up and across your body. Repeat on the other side, performing controlled and controlled movements.

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined different core exercises and found that woodchoppers activated the obliques effectively, making it a valuable exercise for oblique strengthening.


5. Side Bends

Side bends directly target the obliques and can be done with or without weights. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms relaxed by your sides or holding a dumbbell in one hand. Slowly bend sideways at the waist, leaning to one side while keeping your upper body straight. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Focus on engaging the obliques and maintaining control throughout the movement.

A study published in the Journal of Applied Biomechanics found that side bends specifically targeted the oblique muscles, making them an effective exercise for oblique strengthening.


6. Standing Twists

Standing twists are a simple yet effective exercise for strengthening the obliques. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Place your hands on your hips or hold a medicine ball in front of your chest. Rotate your torso to one side, keeping your hips stable and facing forward. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Focus on engaging the obliques and maintaining proper form throughout the movement.

READ   The Power of Positive Thinking: Best Weight Lifting Quotes

While there is limited research specifically examining the effectiveness of standing twists for oblique strengthening, this exercise is commonly recommended by fitness professionals and trainers due to its ability to engage the muscles along the sides of the waist.


Final Words

Incorporating these six exercises into your workout routine can help you achieve stronger and more defined obliques. Remember to perform each exercise with proper form and gradually increase the intensity and difficulty as you progress. Consistency is key, so aim to include these exercises in your core workout at least two to three times a week for optimal results.

In addition to targeted oblique exercises, it’s important to maintain an overall balanced fitness routine that includes cardiovascular exercise, full-body strength training, and flexibility work. By focusing on all aspects of fitness, you can enhance your overall physique and improve your functional strength.

Lastly, it’s important to note that spot reduction, or the ability to solely target fat loss in a specific area of the body, is not possible. While strengthening the oblique muscles can enhance their definition and strength, losing excess body fat overall is essential for achieving a more toned midsection. This can be accomplished through a combination of regular exercise, a balanced and nutritious diet, and a consistent and healthy lifestyle.

So, if you’re looking to strengthen your obliques and sculpt a more defined waistline, add these six exercises to your fitness repertoire. Stay consistent, stay focused, and enjoy the journey to a stronger core.




Are You Interested In Coaching?

Show your interest below and we will contact you within 12hrs

Leave this field blank