Develop Impressive Obliques With These 15 Exercises
These exercises, along with following a diet that allows you to burn some excess belly fat, will get you the V-shape that you've been chasing.
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Some exercises below will be more advanced, which they will be in their own section. Most exercises on the list require no equipment, some simply need a medicine ball or something that has some weight to it.
For exercises that need weights to perform, start out light and slowly go heavier. Your obliques are relatively small and they thrive on high volume, moderate intensity training.
How to perform a side plank. Form tips and instruction.
15 Oblique-Building Exercises
#1 - Push-Up to Side PlankIf push-ups weren't hard enough, a push-up to side plank smashes your obliques and can give you the edge you've been looking for in your ab workouts.
Having trouble completing this exercise? This will take some practice, so start off by learning how to side plank. Once you can successfully perform a side plank, do a push-up, and then set yourself up into a side plank.
Once your core gets stronger, you'll be able to go from a push-up to a side plank in one fluid motion.
Complete two sets of 15 with 30 seconds of rest between sets.
#2 - Side JackknifeThis exercise doesn't take as much balance and athleticism as some exercises here, side jackknives are a hard-hitting movement that anyone will be able to complete.
Bring your torso and your knee together in a side crunch.
Having trouble completing this exercise? Start with a side crunch, reset, and then perform the leg movement.
Complete three sets of 10 with 30 seconds of rest between sets.
#3 - Bicycle CrunchesA staple in any solid core routine, bicycle crunches are easy to learn, hard to complete, and highly effective.
Alternate legs and arms and act like you are riding a bike. Concentrate on solid contractions and perfect form.
Having trouble completing this exercise? Start with either your upper or lower body only to start with.
Complete this exercise for three sets of 30 seconds with 45 seconds of rest between sets.
#4 - Mountain ClimbersA great cardio and conditioning exercise also, mountain climbers are a tried and true method for building a bullet-proof core and puts those obliques to work.
Having trouble completing this exercise? Do one leg at a time and slowly strive to "run" faster.
Complete this exercise for three sets of 30 seconds with 45 seconds of rest between sets.
#5 - Bird Dog CrunchesWhile this move will take a bit to get used to, bird dogs are a great addition to anyone's exercise arsenal. Responsible for fixing back issues and improving overall posture, bird dogs are effective and are easy to learn. Bird dog crunches add in a unique oblique twist.
Start out on all fours and place your hands flat on the ground as you would start to get into a push-up position. Engage your core and point your right arm straight out from your shoulder, while driving your left leg directly behind you. Keep your arm and legs parallel to the floor throughout this reach portion of the movement.
Bring your right arm and left leg back to your starting position and pause before starting your second rep.
Having trouble completing this exercise? Try only reaching with your arm or leg at first.
Complete two sets of 12 with 30 seconds of rest between sets.
#6 - Single-Leg Toe TouchesSingle-leg toe touches make for a great equipment-free exercise you can do anywhere.
Lie down on your back with your legs flat and your arms extended above your head. Lift one leg up and hold your foot directly over your hip, or as high as you can get it.
Perform a side crunch to bring your opposite arm up to touch your toes. Keep your leg in the same position for the whole set.
Switch legs and repeat for the other side.
Having trouble completing this exercise? Instead of keeping your leg straight, bend them as if you are doing a bicycle crunch. Bring your opposite elbow up and touch it to your knee. This should make it easier for you to perform and build up to the full exercise.
Complete three sets of 20 with 45 seconds rest between sets.
#7 - Side Plank SwipersSide planks are a great exercise to strengthen your core and give your obliques and abs more muscle endurance. This carries over to bigger lifts, and of course, a better physique.
Side plank swipers add an extra oblique movement that can be hard to master, but worth the effort.
Start by laying on one side and stack your body up so that you can prop yourself up with your elbow. Engage that side's oblique, hip flexor, and your core to maintain a rigid position.
Stretch the arm that is in the air out past your head as if you were reaching above your head to grab something. Swipe your arm directly over your body and maintain a tight squeeze as your arm reaches your hip.
You will repeat this movement and then switch sides.
Having trouble completing this exercise? If side planks are too difficult, start in the same starting position and practice propping yourself up with your elbow and giving a side crunch. Work on keeping your hips elevated off of the floor if possible, and strive to work on the extension portion of this exercise before trying the whole exercise.
Once you master the extension, you will be able to focus on the contraction section after.
Complete three sets of 5 per side and rest 45 to 60 seconds between sets.
#8 - Hanging Knee Raise Oblique CrunchHanging knee raises are an easy way for even the most out of shape people are able to complete.
Complete a hanging knee raise and as your legs become parallel to the floor, add in a twist and oblique crunch.
Having trouble completing this exercise? Bend your knees and perform a side crunch in the hanging knee raise machine.
Complete 15 reps per side with 30 seconds of rest between sides.
#9 - Dumbbell or Barbell Side BendsSide bends are a great way to add some flexibility to your spine and strengthen your obliques. They have a direct carryover to deadlifts and squats in regards to core strength.
Using a dumbbell or a loaded barbell, bend slightly directly to one side and return to starting position. Add more range of motion as you get more mobility, but don't feel you have to bend too far.
Having trouble completing this exercise? Try the move with no weight. You will be able to get the motion down and can slowly add weight into the equation.
Complete three sets of 20 with 30 seconds of rest between sets.
#10 - Seated Barbell TwistA favorite to many bodybuilders, seated barbell twists are a great way to safely work your obliques with weight.
Having trouble completing this exercise? Practice with a broomstick or simply hold a dumbbell directly in front of you. Once you figure out the movement, add weight slowly.
Complete three 30 second sets with 45 seconds of rest between sets.
#11 - Medicine Ball ThrowUsing explosive power to throw a medicine ball is fun and a great stress reliever. Add in the fact you have some great core and oblique activation, you have a highly effective exercise.
Complete three sets of 8 with 30 seconds of rest between sets.
#12 - Medicine Ball Full TwistHave a training partner? Medicine ball full twists are a great way to train your obliques with your partner; no more waiting on a machine or switching weights.
Simply hold onto a medicine ball and twist to one side, handing the medicine ball to your partner.
Twist to the other side and take possession of the medicine ball.
Having trouble completing this exercise? No partner? Place your back against the wall and twist back and forth tapping the medicine ball against the wall.
Complete three sets of 45 seconds of twisting. Rest 30 seconds between sets.
#13 - Russian TwistRussian twists are easy to complete, take relatively no equipment, and you don't need a partner to perform.
Get into a crunch position and twist, contracting your obliques each twist. Use a weight plate or medicine ball to add resistance.
Having trouble completing this exercise? Try this exercise without any weight until you are able to use weight.
Complete three sets of 20 with 45 seconds of rest between sets.
#14 - Weighted Decline Oblique CrunchesHave a decline bench you like to use? Try some weighted decline oblique crunches.
These are simply an oblique crunch on a decline bench. The decline adds more resistance and makes for a harder alternative exercise.
Having trouble completing this exercise? Limit the amount of weight you use or adjust the decline to a flatter angle.
Complete three sets of 15 with 30 seconds of rest between sets.
#15 - Cable WoodchopIf you have access to a cable machine, cable woodchops are a great and fun way to train your obliques.
Having trouble completing this exercise? If you do not have a cable machine, medicine ball throws in a woodchop motion works wonders.
Complete two sets of 20 with 45 seconds of rest between sets.
Workout TipsTighten up your diet, make better food choices, and get your conditioning up. The better condition you are in, the more muscle endurance and work output you'll be able to produce.
Make sure to follow proper form and concentrate on the quality of your contractions. Ego lifting doesn't do a thing for your physique except get you injured.
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