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7 of the Best Oblique Exercises for a Strong Core

Oblique muscles are to abs as Jesse Pinkman is to Walter White. As lettuce is to the BLT. As Chewbacca is to just about anything in Star Wars.

Overlooked and under-appreciated, the obliques nevertheless play an important supporting (literally) role to that six-pack you’ve been working so hard to get.

But guess what? Just as Springsteen ain’t the same without the E Street Band, you can’t get those killer abs you’ve been working on without also acquiring a sturdy set of obliques.

The oblique muscles frame your core, and consist of external obliques — which are visible — and the internal oblique muscles they conceal. The fibers of the external obliques run diagonally from the sides of your rib cage to the tops of your hip bones. The bottom edge attaches to a sheet of connective tissue that forms the inguinal crease — the oft-Instagrammed “V” running inward and downward from the tops of your hips — also known, for obvious reasons, as the love line.

So, yes, toned oblique muscles look good. Especially if you’re lean enough that they show.

But the obliques also perform an essential function. Along with your six-pack muscle (the rectus abdominis), they protect the spine from bending or rotating excessively during athletic movements like squatting, throwing, or swinging a bat. Throughout the day, they also keep the pelvis positioned properly and the posture in check. This is critical for anyone who sits more than an hour or two a day.

To best ensure your obliques serve you, you may want to do work that targets them.

7 of the Best Core Exercises for Your Obliques

Looking to build yourself a selfie-worthy set of oblique muscles? Perform four of the following moves three times a week in place of your usual abdominal workout. Don’t worry — your six-pack will get plenty of work from these oblique exercises, as well.

Oblique Crunch

7 of the Best Oblique Exercises for a Strong Core oblique crunch

– Assume a side plank position on your right side: ankles flexed, feet stacked, right forearm and hand on the floor, and body straight from head to heels.

– Place your left hand behind your ear, and raise your left leg a few inches above your right.

– Maintaining your balance in the side plank position, draw your left knee and your left elbow toward one another.

– Repeat for 10-12 reps, then switch sides.

From: The Master’s Hammer and Chisel, 10 Minute Ab Hammer

 

Up and Down Hip Tap

7 of the Best Oblique Exercises for a Strong Core up down hip tap

– Assume a forearm plank position on the floor with the balls of your feet on the floor, feet shoulder-width apart, body straight.

– With your right and left hands flat on the floor, push yourself to a high plank (push-up) position one hand at a time.

– Reverse the movement, lowering yourself back to the forearm plank position.

– Rotate your hips to the right so that your right hip comes close to the floor, reverse, and repeat on the opposite side.

• Repeat the entire sequence continuously for 45 seconds.

Appears in: Body Beast: Abs

 

Side Hip Up

7 of the Best Oblique Exercises for a Strong Core side hip up

 Assume a side plank position on your right side: ankles flexed, feet stacked, right forearm and hand on the floor, and body straight from head to heels.

– Keeping your feet, hips, shoulders and head aligned, lower your right hip toward the floor as far as possible.

– Reverse the move, lifting your left hip toward the ceiling as high as you can.

– Repeat for 10–15 reps, then switch sides.

From: FOCUS T25 Ab Intervals

 

Knee Up-Around

7 of the Best Oblique Exercises for a Strong Core knee up around

– Lie on your right side with your feet together, resting your upper body on your right elbow.

– Place your left hand behind your head and lift your feet off the floor.

– Pull your left elbow in toward your knees, and your knees toward your elbows.

– Reverse the movement, extending your legs outward, and repeat the move two more times.

– On your third rep, point your legs toward the ceiling and roll onto your left side.

– Repeat the entire sequence on your left side.

– Roll back onto your right side and continue repeating — three reps on each side — until your have completed 24 reps total.

Appears in: CIZE: 8-count abs

 

Mountain Climb/Twist/Spider

7 of the Best Oblique Exercises for a Strong Core mountain climber twist spiderman

– Assume a high plank (push-up) position: hands and balls of your feet on the floor, feet shoulder-width apart, body straight.

– Keeping your back straight, lift your right foot from the floor and pull your right knee as close as possible toward your chest.

– Reverse the move and repeat with your left knee.

– Repeat the movement on the right side, this time pulling your right knee toward your left elbow.

– Reverse the move and repeat with your left knee.

– Repeat the movement on the right side, this time lifting the right knee as high as possible outside your right elbow.

– Reverse the move and repeat with your left knee.

– Repeat the entire sequence continuously for 45 seconds.

Appears in: Body Beast: Abs

 

Cross Crunch

7 of the Best Oblique Exercises for a Strong Core cross crunch

– Lie on your back, straighten and squeeze your legs together, and lift them off the mat as high as you can.

– Place your hands near your ears and perform a crunch, reaching your left hand outside your right ankle.

– Reverse the movement, lying back on the floor, and repeat, alternating sides until you have completed a total of 10 reps per side.

Appears in: 21 Day Fix: 10-Minute Fix for Abs

 

Side Plank Reach

7 of the Best Oblique Exercises for a Strong Core side plank reach

 Assume a side plank position on your right side: ankles flexed, feet stacked, right forearm and hand on the floor, and body straight from head to heels.

– Extend your left arm upward toward the sky. This is your starting position.

– Keeping your hips square to the side without allowing them to dip, reach your left arm down and under your torso as far as possible, as if trying to touch the outside of your right hip.

– Return to the starting position.

– Repeat for 10–12 slow reps, then switch sides.

From: CORE DE FORCE: 5 Minute Core on the Floor

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