Best Exercises for Obliques

Best Exercises for ObliquesThe warm months are upon us and this means it is about time to expose the abdominal section of your body in a bathing suit.  In order to have a high level of comfort when exposing your hard work, you need to make sure your hard work got you to your goals.  Before jumping in the pool and hanging out at barbeques, ask yourself if your abs or obliques are ready for summer.

In order to be summertime ready, your abs and obliques should be in tip-top shape.  This means your workout needs to include activities which work and tone the core areas.  The abdominal muscles are worked when the spine is flexed and the obliques are worked when the body twists.  With that said, does your workout include sufficient exercises to tone the abdominals and obliques?  Listed below are some exercises you should be performing every other day in the gym or at home to help add definition and tone in the mid-section.  Perform three sets at least every other day to obtain toned and strong abs and obliques.

Top Exercises for Obliques

  • Planks with toe taps. Planks are a popular and exciting option for working the core.  First off, it is nice to work the core without the stereotypical crunch or sit-up and second, the plank is an effective core exercise that can be coupled with other difficult exercises.  With the body in a plank position, tap one foot out to the side and tap it back into center.  Alternate feet to start, but this exercise adds a challenge through the stabilization of the hips and body when moving the feet out to each side [1].  Start with three sets of 30 second planks and progress to toe taps.  Continue with three sets of planks with toe taps with 10 toe taps each leg.
  • Bridges with a leg extension. Bridges are another exercise working the core which requires strong hip and gluteal strength.  When one leg is extended fully out in front of the body, the entire core area is worked and toned.  The key to performing this exercise is to keep the hips elevated, body straight, and the leg extended so it is in a straight line with the body.  Start with three sets of 30 seconds each leg and progress with more duration.
  • Supermans. This exercise works on stabilization through opposite forces holding the body upright.  Starting with the kneeling superman as shown here, the core area works hard to keep the body in an upright-reaching position.  Start with three sets of the kneeling superman and hold each for about 30 seconds each leg; progress with a prone superman.  The prone superman is as the name suggests, both arms elevated out in front with both feet off the ground.  Similar to the kneeling version, start with three sets of about 30 seconds and try to focus on breathing when holding the contractions.  This Pilates-style exercise will have your core feeling toned in no-time.
  • Mountain climbers. This is a difficult exercise primarily because of the energy that is needed to complete it.  Performing part push-up and part jogging, this exercise works the arms, core, legs, and glutes.  One important piece to be aware of is to keep the hips and glutes down when performing the mountain climber.  Each knee is supposed to move up towards the chest area with alternating legs as if you were jogging in place.  Start with three sets of 20 total and progress with more reps or faster paced mountain climbers.
  • Trunk twists. If there is one exercise that is intended to tone the obliques, this is it.  A trunk twist is exactly as it sounds, you twist at your trunk.  Start with the feet secured in a sit-up bench.  In a partial sit-up position, your task is to twist left and right using the obliques and trunk rather than the hands and arms.  Start with about three sets of 10 each side for toned obliques.
  • Cardio. One of the most important elements of toning and shaping your abs involves the amount of fat you have in your abdominal section.  Cardio is important for burning off the excess fat in the entire body and one of the most effective forms of burning fat is through interval training [3].  Start with short intervals such as one minute intervals and progress with longer interval durations.  Your intervals should be at least 20 minutes in total and running and spin are two are the most effective forms of interval training.






About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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