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When it comes to achieving a strong and toned core, it’s important to target all the muscles that make up this area. While many people focus on exercises that target the front abdominal muscles, neglecting the obliques can lead to an imbalanced and weak core. In this article, we will explore the 10 best oblique exercises that will help you develop a strong and toned midsection.
1. Russian Twists
Russian twists are a classic oblique exercise that targets the entire core. Start by sitting on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lean back slightly and lift your feet off the ground, balancing on your tailbone. Twist your torso from side to side, touching the ground with your hands on each side. This exercise engages the obliques and also works the lower and upper abdominal muscles.
2. Side Plank
The side plank is an excellent exercise for targeting the obliques. Start by lying on your side with your legs extended and stacked on top of each other. Place your forearm on the ground, perpendicular to your body, and lift your hips off the ground. Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute, then switch sides. To make it more challenging, lift your top leg off the bottom leg while maintaining the side plank position.
3. Bicycle Crunches
Bicycle crunches are a great exercise that targets the obliques while also engaging the rectus abdominis. Start by lying on your back with your hands behind your head and knees bent. Lift your shoulders off the ground and bring your left elbow to your right knee while extending your left leg. Switch sides by bringing your right elbow to your left knee while extending your right leg. Continue alternating sides in a pedaling motion.
Woodchoppers are a dynamic oblique exercise that mimics the motion of chopping wood. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a weight or medicine ball with both hands. Start with the weight at one side of your body and twist your torso as you bring the weight diagonally across your body, ending with the weight above your opposite shoulder. Repeat on the other side to complete one rep. This exercise targets the obliques and also engages the shoulders and back.
5. Side Bend
The side bend is a simple yet effective exercise for targeting the obliques. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in one hand. Keep your back straight and slowly lower the weight towards the side of your knee, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side to complete one rep. Focus on engaging the obliques and avoid using momentum to lift the weight.
6. Standing Twists
Standing twists are a great exercise that can be done with or without equipment. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your arms in front of you. Twist your torso from side to side, using your obliques to initiate the movement. To make it more challenging, hold a weight or medicine ball in your hands. This exercise targets the obliques and also engages the muscles of the upper back and shoulders.
7. Jackknife Sit-Ups
Jackknife sit-ups are an advanced oblique exercise that requires strong core stability. Start by lying on your back with your arms extended overhead and your legs straight. Simultaneously lift your upper body and legs, reaching your hands towards your toes. Lower back down to the starting position with control. This exercise targets the obliques, rectus abdominis, and hip flexors.
8. Side Leg Raises
Side leg raises are a simple yet effective exercise for targeting the obliques and outer thighs. Start by lying on your side with your legs extended and stacked on top of each other. Lift your top leg as high as you can while keeping it straight, then lower it back down. Repeat on the other side to complete one rep. To make it more challenging, place a resistance band around your ankles.
9. Russian Twists with Medicine Ball
Adding a medicine ball to your Russian twists can increase the intensity and challenge your obliques even further. Start in the same position as the regular Russian twist, holding a medicine ball with both hands. As you twist your torso from side to side, pass the medicine ball from one hand to the other. This exercise not only targets the obliques but also improves hand-eye coordination and overall core stability.
10. Plank with Hip Dips
The plank with hip dips is a variation of the traditional plank that specifically targets the obliques. Start in a forearm plank position, with your elbows directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line. Lower your hips to one side, then return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Focus on engaging the obliques and maintaining a stable core throughout the movement.
Incorporating these 10 best oblique exercises into your workout routine can help you develop a strong and toned core. Remember to focus on proper form and engage your obliques throughout each exercise. Consistency is key, so aim to perform these exercises at least two to three times a week for optimal results. Strengthening your obliques will not only improve your overall core strength but also enhance your posture and stability in daily activities.