Oblique Workout - Best Exercises and Optimal Training
No matter if you are chasing a six pack or simply want to get in shape, oblique work is important. Your obliques are your largest ab muscles, so ignoring them is making your core work inefficient and ineffective.
Your obliques help perform a variety of functions like helping you bend your torso to the side, rotating your torso, and to resist your torso from rotating. You need them if you want to move, but you need them to be strong if you want high-level performance.
Finding the right exercises to perform can be tricky. Simply training your “six-pack muscles” won’t cut it — you’ll need to challenge your obliques from every angle.
Performing oblique exercises with the quality of each rep in mind is important for growth — spend the time learning the moves.
Best Oblique Exercises
When it comes to power, there are a few exercises that excel.
Dumbbell Side Bends
Stand straight with a dumbbell in one hand. Bend at the waist to one side in a controlled manner, and use your obliques to straighten back up.
Maintain a tight and controlled form — it doesn’t take a lot of weight.
Perform sets in the 8 to 12 range.
Medicine Ball Rotational Throw
Medicine ball throws are great for producing power. Grab a medicine ball and twist your torso to one side.
Using only your core for power, twist your torso straight and throw the ball against the wall.
Catch and repeat for both sides until tired or 15 throws per side.
Decline Oblique Crunches
Find your nearest decline bench and hop on it. Start by lying flat on the bench and put one hand beside your head and the other on your side.
Continue by raising your upper body while you twist your torso to the side.
Perform all reps for one side and then switch sides — the 15 to 20 rep range works well for this exercise.
Seated Barbell Twists
Sit down on a flat bench and rest a barbell as if you were doing a back squat.
Keep your feet planted, your head stationary, and begin twisting side to side in a controlled motion.
Stay controlled in your rotation and perform 15 reps. Please note, one rep starts while you look forward, twist to the left, twist to the right, and return to forward.
An isometric hold is great for building core strength. Side planks will test your coordination, balance, and mental fortitude.
Strive to improve the time you maintain your plank position — strive to go a little longer every session.
Bicycle crunches are great for the isometric hold and twisting motion.
Lie with your face up and have your hips and knees bent so that your legs are not resting on the floor. You will twist your body one direction while you are bringing the opposite leg in.
Your legs will look like you are riding a bicycle, all while you are twisting your torso. It may take some time to get used to, but you’ll want this in your training sessions.
Other Notable Oblique Exercises
- Russian Twists
- Backward Medicine Ball Throw
- Side Jackknife
- Push Up to Side Plank
- Oblique Crunches
- Spiderman Push Up
- Hanging Oblique Raise
- Hanging Hurdle
- V Ups
- Wood Choppers
- Cross-Body Mountain Climbers
- Bird Dog
- Bear Crunch
- Plate Twists
- Single Arm Farmer’s Carry
Oblique Training Tips
The oblique muscles run up and down our sides and generally are overlooked on a lifter’s quest for a six-pack.
Building stronger obliques will improve your appearance and vastly improve your core strength and performance.
Train your obliques after you lift heavy — save the strength for the lifts that impact you the most.
Many oblique exercises require no weight and more volume — any oblique exercise requiring weight should be done with fewer reps per set.
Direct ab training doesn’t need to be done more than twice per week — rest and recovery is just as important.
Be sure to train heavy compound lifts like deadlifts, squats, and bench press to build a well-rounded physique.
Try This Oblique Workout
Ready to start building your obliques and improving your performance in the gym? You can add this workout into your routine or replace your current ab routine.
- Bicycle Crunches – 2 sets of 20 reps
- Dumbbell Side Bends – 2 sets of 10 reps
- Mountain Climbers – 2 sets of 20 reps
- Medicine Ball Side Throw – 2 sets of 15 reps
- Seated Barbell Twists – 2 sets of 15
- Side Planks – 2 sets for as long as possible
Wrapping It Up
When you program your ab routine, you need to drill into your head “quality over quantity.” It won’t matter what exercises you choose if you aren’t performing them correctly.