10 Minute Ab Workout for Strong, Shredded Obliques

10 Minute Ab Workout for Strong, Shredded Obliques

The stomach. The midsection. The belly. The gut. Between magazines, TV, and social media it's the area of our bodies that is discussed and glamorized the most on a global scale within the fitness world.

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It's everywhere. If you have a shredded stomach or those six pack abs then you are automatically viewed as being "in shape" or deemed a "fitness guru". But, having a strong, shredded stomach is much more than that.

Many of these shortcut articles don't discuss how having a strong core goes beyond the ability to pop your shirt off for a photo shoot at any hour of the day. Having a strong core means having a strong body. Being able to stabilize yourself while standing to perform a barbell curl or shoulder raise requires you to activate your core. Being able to complete a strong deadlift or strong squat requires a strong core.

Also, when many of us imagine those shredded abs we only picture the upper and lower abs. We focus on the rectus abdominus area of our body because that's what produces that "six-pack." We tend to forget about our oblique muscles, which run up and down the sides of our mid-section.

Working your obliques is just as important as doing upper and lower ab work because your obliques serve as stabilizers for your body. Your obliques are engaged in most compound lifting movements and help stabilize your body in most physical activity you do every day.

Incorporating oblique training into your training scheme can help you strengthen your overall body and performance in both lifting and sports, depending on your goals. Stronger obliques can assist you in reaching a stronger squat or perfecting that golf swing you've been working on.

These 10 oblique-focused exercises are great for hitting your oblique muscles at different angles, speeds, and intensities. Incorporating any of these exercises into your normal ab routine or at the end of a hard workout will give you the strong and shredded obliques you desire.

10 Oblique Exercises for a Killer Ab Workout

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#1 - Elbow to Knee Mountain Climbers

Similar to a regular mountain climber ab and oblique exercise, get in a push-up position.

With a normal mountain climber movement you would move your legs up and back into your chest one at a time. With this movement, you are going to twist your core slightly to the left and right when bringing your leg up.

You want to try and bring your right knee up to your left elbow and vice versa.

#2 - Side Planks

Lie on your side with one foot on top of the other and push yourself up so your body resembles a right triangle, with your body being supported by your forearm on the ground at a 90 degree angle. You can put your other arm down at your side or raise it up and point it in the air to make the exercise more difficult.

Hold the position for 30-45 seconds, keeping your core flexed and tight while holding this position. Repeat on the other side.

#3 - Russian Twists

Sit down on a mat with your legs together straight out in front of you and your upper body straight up at a 90 degree angle. Now, bend your legs slightly up at the hip and knee. Lean your body back so that your feet are slightly off the ground and your back is at about a 75 degree angle.

Put your hands together in the middle of your body close to your chest and move your upper torso to the left and down, touching the ground with your grasped hands. Move your hands and upper body from the ground up and over to the right side of your body; that's one rep. You want to try and keep your lower body as stabilized as possible as you twist your upper body to the left and right.

For added resistance you can perform this oblique exercise with a light dumbbell or medicine ball.

#4 - Decline Oblique Crunches

Just as you would use a decline bench for traditional decline crunches, set the bench at a high decline, lock your feet in, and put your hands behind your head. When coming up, turn your torso to the left or right, trying to touch your elbow to your knee.

On the negative movement when lowering back down don't lower yourself all the way down. Lower yourself about 70% of the way down, keeping that constant tension on your abdominal region.

#5 - Hanging Oblique Leg Raises

Hanging oblique leg raises is a killer oblique exercise, but can be difficult to perform. I recommend performing these while using the hanging bar straps so you can lock your arms and elbows in and focus on the movement with this exercise.

Using a pull-up bar hook up your straps and lock yourself in. Raise your knees up, keeping them together, towards your chest and to the left or right as if you were trying to bring your right knee to your left armpit. Lower your legs down slowly and repeat on the other side.
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The elbow to knee crunch is an excellent oblique exercise for building core strength and definition.

#6 - Standing Cable Lift

Using a cable machine, set the cable machine at its lowest setting so the handle is touching the ground and set the machine to a light weight (between 10-20 lbs). With your body perpendicular to the machine, your shoulder facing the machine, pick up one handle with both hands, holding it at your side with your torso twisted towards the machine.

Keeping your lower body stable and your core right, turn your torso the opposite direction, pulling the cable up and out. Move your body back to starting position, keeping your core tight and obliques engaged.

#7 - One arm Cable Side Bends

Another cable machine oblique movement, this movement is going to add some weight to your oblique repertoire. Set the cable machine to a high setting with your body perpendicular to the machine, similar to the standing cable lift.

Grab the handle with one hand above your shoulder, with your hand near ear level. Now, crunch down to your side, trying to bring your elbow down to your hip. Focus on the squeezing motion when pulling the weight down to your side and raise your upper body back to a straight up position slowly and repeat.

#8 - Medicine Ball Throw

This oblique targeting exercise is a great exercise to really get you sweating and your heart rate up.

While holding a medicine ball, stand next to a wall with your shoulder facing the wall. Twist your torso quickly, tossing the ball against the wall and catch it as it bounces back. If you are unable to catch the ball on the bounce back then stand closer to the wall.

#9 - Elbow to Knee Crunch

Lay down on a mat flat on your back, putting your right hand behind your head and your left hand on your stomach. Keeping your right leg straight down, bend your left leg up and in as if you were performing a crunch. At the same time, bring your right elbow up, with a slight twist, touching your right elbow to your left knee.

Repeat with your left hand and right leg.

#10 - Seated Barbell Twist

Grab a straight bar curl bar or straight barbell and place it behind your neck on your shoulders as if you were performing a squat. Sit down on a bench and twist your torso to the left, breathing out with the movement and keeping your abs tight. Turn back to the starting position, breathing in, and repeat to the right side, breathing out.

This is a great exercise for targeting the lower oblique's and creating that desired V-taper.

Oblique Exercises to Transform Your Abs and Core

Incorporating a combination of 3 or 4 of these oblique exercises within your normal weight training or ab training is a great way to make sure you are training your entire core, and not just training your upper or lower abs.

Having a set of strong obliques is not only going to give you a stronger looking stomach aesthetically, it's also going to improve and strengthen many of your everyday lifting movements. Training each part of your body evenly and with the same focus, intensity, and dedication is how you build a strong, powerful physique.

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