By Prodyut Das

Oblique Workout

oblique workout for side abdominal muscles (obliques) and upper abs you can perform at home.

What are Abdominal Oblique muscles ? 

The "external oblique" muscle lies on the sides and front of the abdomen and is the largest and the most superficial of the three flat muscles in this area. It is broad, thin and irregularly four-sided and occupies the lateral walls of the abdomen, stretching across to the front. Both sides, acting together, flex the vertebral column by drawing the pubis toward the xiphoid process (the smallest of the three parts of the breastbone). One side also bends the vertebral column sideways and rotates it, bringing the shoulder of that side forward.

abdominal muscles

The "internal oblique" muscle is also irregularly four-sided in form and lies under the external oblique muscle. Both sides, acting together, flex the vertebral column, drawing cartilages down toward the pubis. One side acting alone bends the vertebral column sideways, rotating it to bring the shoulder of the opposite side forward. Both of the abdominal oblique muscles work to compress abdominal contents, assist in the digestive process and in forced expiration.

Abdominal oblique workout- Learn how to exercise your oblique muscles and check out this 3 part series of great oblique workout routines starting from biginner, intermediate and advanced oblique exercises.

Beginner level oblique workout

1) Twists

Sit fully upright on a chair with feet flat on the floor slightly apart. Place your fingertips so they are touching the top of the shoulders, so the arms are bent at the elbows. Slowly twist the elbows, arms and shoulders as if you are turning to look over your shoulder. Don't turn your head, let it follow round with the upper part of your body. Throughout the turn keep your abdominal muscles tensed. Once you have reached as far round as is comfortable, slowly rotate back round to the opposite side, then return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise for a further 5-6 repetitions.

2) Oblique Crunches

Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. For this exercise, you will need to put one hand beside your head and the other to the side against the floor. Make sure your feet are elevated and resting on a flat surface. Now lift the shoulder in which your hand is touching your head. Simply elevate your shoulder and body upward until you touch your knee. For example, if you have your right hand besides your head, then you want to elevate your body upwards until your right elbow touches your left knee. The same variation can be applied doing the inverse and using your left elbow to touch your right knee. After your knee touches your elbow, lower your body until you have reached the starting position. Remember to breathe in during the eccentric (lowering) part of the exercise and to breathe out during the concentric (upward) part of the exercise. Continue alternating in this manner until all of the recommended repetitions for each side have been completed.

3) Side Vs 

This exercise works your rectus abdominis muscles, which are the major muscle group in your core and the muscles responsible for the six-pack look. This oblique workout also target your external obliques, which are the muscles at the side of your torso that control lateral movement.Lie on your right side with your legs extended, propping yourself up on your right elbow. Contracting your lower abs, bend your knees and bring your feet to your butt. Tap your feet with your left hand. Return your legs to the starting position for one rep. Do 15 reps on each side. For an added challenge, extend the arm closest to the ground and crunch your upper and lower halves simultaneously.

Intermediate level oblique workout

4) Cross Crunch

Lie down flat on your back on an exercise mat or carpeted area. Slide your right leg up towards your body to form a 90-degree angle with the floor. Lift your left leg off the floor and position it with your ankle resting on top of your right knee. Bring your hands laced together under your head, as if cradling it. Begin cross crunches by flexing or tightening your abdominal muscles and anchoring your lower back to the mat. Lift off the floor in a twisting motion from your right elbow to your left elbow. Your left elbow should remain in contact with the floor, while the right arm and shoulder are lifted in the twist. Imagine twisting your right elbow as close as you can towards your left knee. Breathe out through this motion and continue to flex your abdominal muscles. Hold the flex for 2 seconds when the twist is completed. Breathe in. In a slow, controlled movement return back to the original resting position on the floor. Pause for 1 second. Release the breath as you once again twist towards the left side of your mat. Do seven repetitions of the twist. Switch sides by sliding your left leg out to form a 90-degree angle and bringing your right ankle to rest on top of your left knee. Do seven repetitions on this side as well. Increase the number of sets of cross crunches you do as your body's strength and stamina increases.

5) Crunch, Toe Touches, Alternating

The alternating toe touch crunch is an effective exercise for developing the abs, and is performed by extending legs up and reaching for the toes, contracting the abs. Alternating the move increases the time of the exercise and also helps to develop coordination.

Lie flat on your back on a gym mat with legs straight. Raise both legs straight up. Keep a slight bend in the knees. Crunch the abdominals and reach up to touch the toes with with one hand. Return to the start position. Repeat for the opposite hand.

Advanced level oblique workout

6) Leg Raises, Bent Knee, Twisting

The bent knee twisting leg raise is a progression from the standard knee leg raise exercise. The trunk twist or rotation creates an additional challenge for the obliques and helps to develop coordination. Position yourself in the Roman Chair with elbows on the support pads and small of the back against the lumbar support. Inhale and raise the knees up towards the chest, as the knees are raised, twist them to one side. Round the back up to contract the abdominals at the top of the movement. Pause briefly and lower back to the start.

7) Side Bends, Lying

See more oblique exercises on

Lying side bends really target the internal and external obliques. If you want to build a good set of abdominals then you need to work the obliques on a regular basis. This exercise will also help to improve core strength. Lie on your side on the floor with knees together and slightly bent. Place the fingers of your top hand on the side of your temple. Exhale slowly whilst you raise your head and shoulders off the floor. Your ribs should be heading in the direction of your top hip. Pause briefly at the top position, then inhale and return to the start. Repeat the same number of repetitions for the opposite side.

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