The obliques – those finger like muscles that run the length of each side of the torso. They look cool right? The Ladies love ’em and they’re responsible for hundreds of daily activities like twisting to buckle your seat belt up and carrying your heavy shopping bags. Visually, the obliques help add detail to the torso and draw attention to the main event, the six-pack. To get them showing through, your body-fat ideally needs to be sub 10%, so an energy controlled diet that’s high in protein and greens is a must. However training them will help strengthen and develop them so they pop through. Here’s five top exercises to stimulate your obliques effectively.
Seated medicine ball twist
A classic and quite possibly one of the most common exercises you’ll see being performed on the matted area of your gym. Use a medicine ball or other heavy object and aim for 20-30 reps for 3-4 sets. Try to perform the movement with your feet off the floor for a slightly harder variation.
One-arm kettlebell rack walks
Hold a kettlebell in a racked position and walk. It’s that simple. Loading the body unilaterally by using just one kettlebell offsets the weight distribution which engages the obliques more. Go for 3-4 sets of 30 metres, and remember to perform the same amount of work on both sides.
Standing cable woodchops
Set your pulley to a high anchor point and aim to keep a neutral spine throughout this one, its so easy to mess up. Aim for three sets each side of 8-12 reps.
Hanging windshield wiper
This is a toughy and will leave you in bits for days after, but its a great exercise. Do as many revolutions as you can for 3-4 sets.
Crunch to twist on exercise ball
This is a great “money” exercise for your abs and obliques. Not only does it work to flex the torso up it also rotates it around. Aim for three sets of 20 reps and alternate the sides you twist too. If you’re up for a challenge, hold a dumbbell or weight plate on your chest.
For an effective obliques workout, pick 2-3 of the exercises above and perform 1-2 times a week.