Sculpt the six-pack you’ve always wanted by targeting your oblique muscles with 8 of the Best Oblique Exercises for a stronger core.
Want a stronger core? Check out my Favorite 8 Minute Workout!
Don’t forget about the Obliques
We all want that coveted six-pack! But guess what? That six-pack look doesn’t come from six muscle groups. It’s actually 4 main muscle groups. The transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominus, internal obliques and external obliques. Most people know and work the abdominals but often forget about the obliques.
What are the Obliques?
Having a “six-pack” is more than just strengthening your abdominal muscles. It involves the obliques as well. Your oblique muscles run along the sides of your core abdominals. They are super important for rotational movements like bending side to side, and they help support the spine. A strong set of obliques will also help get rid of those “love handles.”
Why Should I Strengthen This Muscle Group?
Why not? Not only will these muscles help with mobility, stability and overall health. They support the spine, one of the most important parts of our body! And if appearance is your thing, they make you look “cut” and reduce the “side bulge” or dredged love handles.
8 Key Oblique Exercises for a Stronger Core
I have messed around with quite a few exercises over the years of being a collegiate athlete. These are my key tried and true oblique exercises that if done consistently will yield results. Perform each exercise 3 times through two to three times a week for maximum results.
- Bicycle Crunches: Start by lying on your back with your legs in a tabletop position. Place your hands behind your head with elbows out to the side. Using your core, lift your head and shoulders off the ground. With a crunch inwards, bent sideways trying to reach your right elbow to your left knee, straightening your right leg in the same movement. Release slightly and twist to the other side, reaching your left elbow to your right knee while straightening your left leg. Perform movement for 15 reps per side.
- Side Planks: Starting position is in a high (on your hand) right side plank position with your left hand in the air or on your hip. Hold for 45 seconds Then repeat on your left side.
- Side Planks with Hip Dips: Starting position is in a high (on your hand) right side plank position with your left hand in the arm or on your hip. Slowly lower your hip to the ground and then raise it back up to the ceiling, using your obliques the entire time. Repeat this pattern for 15 reps. Then repeat on your left side.
- Cross-body Mountain Climbers: Start in plank position, arms straightened out with hands on the ground and legs extended behind you. While keeping your back flat, core engaged and butt down lift your right knee to your right elbow – return to starting position while lifting your left knee to your left elbow. Repeat process and continue switching legs while increatsin-0g the pace. Repeat this pattern, do 40 reps total (or 20 on each side).
- Russian Twists: Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Slowly lean your back back to a 45° angle, your body will look like a V shape. Engaging your core while legs are extended in front of you, balance on your tailbone (or sit bone) and begin twisting your torso to either side without moving your legs. Perform 15 reps per side. (optional: use a 10 lb weight or dumbbell for more of a challenge)
- Bird Dogs: Starting position is on all fours with knees hip-width apart and hands firmly on the ground about shoulder-width apart. Engage abs and lift one arm out straight in front and completely extend the opposite leg behind you. It should look like one straight line from your hand to your foot, keeping hips squared to the ground. Hold for a 2 seconds, then return your to starting position. Repeat on other side for a total of 10 reps per side. Keep the abs engaged throughout the entire exercise.
- Heel Taps: Start by lying flat on your back. Knees bent with your feet on the ground. Lift your head and upper back (shoulders) off the ground. Now, while holding that position, reach sideways to your left side and touch your lift hand to your left heel. Repeat on the right side by touching your right hand to your right heel. Continue to go back and forth for a total of 15 reps per side.
- Spiderman Pushup: Start in a pushup position. As you lower your body toward the floor, lift your right foot off of the floor, and swing your leg out sideways to try to touch your right knee to your right elbow. Bring your leg back down to the ground as you push your body back to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Perform 10 reps per side.
Simple Post Workout Snack Ideas
Filling your body with the right fuel is key if you want to get results. I always try to make sure after an intense workout I replenish with protein and water afterward. Here are some simple post-workout snack ideas:
- Snickerdoodle Energy Balls
- Apple Peanut Butter Energy Bites
- No Bake Chocolate Brownie Energy Bites
- Detox Lemon Cucumber Water
- High Protein Blueberry Kale Smoothie
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites
- Creamy Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
Disclaimer: I am not a certified personal trainer. Always check with your doctor before starting a new fitness regime and please listen to your body.