Slim your waist, support your lower back, decrease back pain, and improve your posture. That’s the power of your obliques.
Better known as side abdominals, oblique muscles are a pair of muscles that enable you to bend at the side and twist at the waist. External obliques are upper muscles on your sides, and the internal obliques are underneath them, crossing diagonally near the side of your abdomen.
Building stronger oblique muscles will give your core strength a boost and also lead to a ripped, toned stomach.
Many sports such as swimming, wrestling, and rock climbing give your obliques a great workout, but you can do more to beef them up. Just be careful. While strong obliques are important, if you make them too large, women will look bulkier than desired and men will lose that coveted V-shaped torso. But how can you make your obliques as strong as possible?
Use Oblique Technique
Doing oblique exercises the correct way will speed up your results and make your workout as productive as possible. An aerobic warm-up and stretches before and after your workout is a good start. While exerting during an oblique exercise, exhale. And don’t sweat turning out dozens of repetitions. With your obliques, it is better to do few repetitions with proper form than more repetitions with incorrect form.
To avoid neck injuries, don’t lift from your neck and keep your chin off your chest. When performing oblique exercises on the floor, maintain a comfortable distance between your back and the floor, careful not to arch or flatten your back.
Ready to start pumping up your obliques? Then try the following exercises. Once you can perform six sets of 12 reps with any exercise that requires weight, you can increase the weight amount. Just remember that while building your obliques, you also need to work your lower back. Otherwise, you increase your risk of injuring your lower back.
Side Planks: Lie on your left side with your legs straight and your left elbow on the floor. While pressing on the floor with your elbow and left foot, raise your hips until your body is a straight line. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then relax. Repeat and switch sides. For a more difficult exercise, lie on your side with your hand on the floor. Tighten your core muscles and lift your hips until your body is straight. You may also want to lift your opposite arm in the air to make a straight line with both arms. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then release. Repeat and switch sides.
Side Bends: Another great oblique exercise is the dumbbell side bend. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, your knees bent slightly. From this position, bend to the left side until the dumbbell reaches knee level. Using your obliques, pull yourself back up. Bend to the right side next, lowering the dumbbell again to knee level and pull back up. Alternate sides until you’ve performed 6 to 12 repetitions per side.
Oblique Crunches: This exercise works your external and internal obliques and is great to work your love handles. First, lie on your back and place both hands behind your head, resting your fingers behind your ears. Keep your elbows out to the side and your shoulder blades on the floor. Bend both knees and lay them both on one side, one on top of the other. Slowly raise your shoulders off the floor a couple inches, exhaling as you contract your muscles, keeping your chin up. Then slowly lower back down, inhaling as you go. An easier option for this exercise is to cross your arms over your chest instead of placing them behind your head. And keep your chin elevated to avoid neck injury
Shrink that Waistline!
It’s great to work your abdominal muscles, but doing that alone won’t give you great looking abs. In order to shrink your waistline, you’ll also need plenty of cardiovascular exercise and a healthy diet.
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