3 Key Exercises To Build Your Oblique Muscles
It's time you say bye-bye to the old-school standard crunches and try out exercises that make your oblique muscles stronger. If you're aiming for high-level performance, you need your oblique muscles to be strong.
If you're interested in building your oblique muscles, keep reading to learn three key exercises to build your oblique muscles!
Why Build Oblique Muscles?
Bodybuilders often ignore their oblique muscles and indulge themselves in training abdominals with crunches and planks. What they don't realise is that obliques are a vital part of your entire core. They help with the stabilisation of the core in a range of activities. Oblique exercises are also much more than just your basic "side abs" and gives your body more strength.
Obliques are long side muscles that, when well-trained, fully frame your six-pack or rectus abdominus giving your body a healthier and more tapered look. These muscles separate midsections from average ones. Well-trained obliques look more attractive and defined as well.
They translate into a better body in multiple ways. They give your spinal cord stability, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, and boost performance in physical activities, including quick movements and twisting. The V-shaped structure that develops after building the obliques reflects healthy and toned obliques.
3 Key Exercises To Build Your Oblique Muscles
The following three key exercises build your obliques in multiple ways. As a result, your oblique muscles will be built from all angles giving your body a more enhanced and functional physique.
1. Side Plank
The side plank mainly targets the obliques, but it also works the shoulders, core, and hips. Most importantly, it works with a weak muscle called the quadratus lumborum. A strong quadratus lumborum goes a long way in preventing lower back pain.
This is how you can perform side planks:
- Lie on your right side with your left leg stacked on top of your right leg.
- Keep your elbow bent with your forearm on the floor, forming a 90-degree angle with your shoulder.
- Involve your core and pull yourself off the floor. This way, your right arm and foot will support your weight. Your body and hips must form a straight line from head to toe at a 45-degree angle with the floor.
- Raise your left arm in the air. Try to maintain this position without dropping your hips for 30 seconds to 1 minute. If you are a beginner, you can keep your knees on the floor in a slightly bent position.
- Repeat this exercise on the other side. If you want to make it more advanced, lift your right leg up and down while keeping your body lifted in a straight line from head to toe. You can also hold a dumbbell in your free hand to make this exercise more vigorous.
Side planks are a killer core exercise that targets your obliques, making them stronger and more enhanced. This exercise helps tone your shoulders and legs as well. It also supports the deep muscles of your lower back and helps reduce lower back pain.
2. Standing Trunk Rotation
Trunk rotations are an incredible exercise for the core. They specifically target the obliques as well as the upper body. In specific, this exercise is great for athletes that use their obliques. This includes golfers and shot putters.
Many people perform a standing truck rotation without the correct form. Here’s how you should do it:
- Stand on the floor with your feet hip-width apart.
- Hold a workout or medicine ball between your hands at a distance from your chest.
- Make sure your core is tight. Now bend your arms from the elbows at a right angle. Your elbows will be hugging your sides. Start rotating your torso slowly to your left. Your head and chest should rotate along with it.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds, and then repeat this rotating movement on the alternate side.
- To make this exercise advanced, hold a slightly heavier ball and increase the time of your rotation.
Trunk rotations are one of the primary exercises used by sportsmen to improve core strength, flexibility, stability, and mobility of the spine. This exercise can be improvised in various ways, enabling you to progress, test your inner strength, and perform what your body allows.
3. Standing Wood Chop
The rotating motion in this exercise aims at your obliques but is also perfect to fire up the quads and glutes. So, if you want to get a leg workout in as well – this is ideal.
This is the correct way to do a standing wood chop:
- Stand firmly in a split stance with your left foot forward and your feet somewhat wider than hip-width apart.
- Hold a dumbbell or medicine ball in your hands and lift it to your left so it is slightly raised above shoulder height. Extend the dumbbell or ball away from the body.
- Keep your head and shoulders directed straight ahead.
- Next, in slow-motion, bring the dumbbell or ball toward your right hip.
- Now lift the dumbbell or ball back to the initial position. Try to increase the speed of the exercise to engage your oblique muscles more strongly.
- Perform around 8 to 15 reps on one side, and then repeat the exercise on the alternate side.
The standing wood chop is known for helping in the growth and strength of your oblique muscles. Although this exercise mainly targets the obliques and abdominals, it also involves the back, shoulders, and glutes. It helps you bend your torso to the side swiftly. It also helps rotate your torso to the left and right, which results in maintaining the stability of your spine.