The physiques we most admire often have a V-shaped upper body tapering to a slim waistline—those defined lines running up the sides of six-pack abs are called the obliques. Most of us know how to work our surface abdominals in the front, but how to get those extra ridges above the waistline of our jeans? Try these bending and twisting oblique workouts.
Your oblique muscles surround your abs in the front part of your torso, serving as a part of your “core.” There is an external and internal oblique muscle on each side right and left: while one set sits a little closer to the top layer of your abs, all these muscles help you stabilize your spine and be fit.
As your oblique muscles are part of your core stabilization, developing them can have more effects than just enhancing your shape. For lifters and athletes alike, oblique workouts that strengthen the muscles are an aide to nearly every physical activity, This is especially true in movements that cross your body or move your torso to the sides. As stabilizers, obliques can help you set your abs for more power as well as balance.
Some prime examples of movements that recruit the obliques:
- Weightlifting—especially compound moves like deadlifts and overhead movements like the standing military press.
- Rowing—A lot of core, a lot of spine. Your oblique muscles connect your front with your back for extra strength.
- Tennis—You’re reaching a lot and running from side to side in tennis, not to mention serving the ball from over your head and across your body.
- Baseball—Much like tennis, fielding a baseball often requires reach and run lateral moves, and pitchers engage the oblique throughout their motion.
- Golf—There are few sports that require the torso to twist as much and as often as a game of golf.
Two Simple Oblique Workouts You Can Add To Your Exercise Routine:
Dumbbell/barbell Side Bend: To shape and strengthen your obliques, you can incorporate two different sets—one with a heavy weight for 6 – 8 reps, and one with a lighter weight for a smooth set of higher reps 25 – 35.
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly soft, hold one dumbbell in your left hand down at your side. With your right arm also at your side, slide your reach down your right thigh, tilting your head to the right and bending sideways to stretch the right side of the waist. Rise back up to standing and repeat desired number of reps.
Barbell Twist: This move can be performed standing or sitting. To work on torso flexibility and strength through a twisted motion, do the seated barbell twist in 2 – 4 sets of 10 – 15 reps, with a weighted barbell and slow controlled movements.
Sit on a flat bench with your feet shoulder width apart and grip the bar, palms down with your hands wider than your shoulders. Lift the bar up and behind the head at the base of your neck for starting position. Turn your torso at your waist to face one side, keeping the back and neck straight up. Engage those abs! Return to the center position and repeat to the other side. Center yourself between each rep. Another option is to perform one set to the first side, and one set to the other, alternating sides.
Find More Exercises Like This
- Workouts – Create custom workouts or follow existing workouts
- Food Tracker – Stick to your nutritional plan
- Community – Share recipes, stories and tips
The XSport Fitness App is available exclusively to XSport members. Click here to request an invite to set up your app account.