Abdominal muscles or commonly known as “Abs”, are in high demands by whoever is involved in fitness aesthetically. But the abdominal muscles alone cannot give the crisp look. All the supporting muscles when contribute equally to the look, even average looking person looks shredded. The only muscle that will give you the illusion of being shredded even before having visible abs are “Obliques”. Oblique muscles run diagonally on the side walls of the abdominal muscles. These muscle will give you the crispness in the abs even before you have actual visible abs. Some of the best oblique exercises are given in the post forward.
There are basically 2 types of oblique muscles, external obliques and internal obliques. They run on the side walls of the abdominal muscles.
External obliques extends from lower half of the ribs to the pelvis. It helps rotate the trunk, also it pulls the chest as a whole and helps contract the abdominal cavity.
This muscle is situated right below the external oblique. Internal obliques extends from the lower end of the rib-cage, rectus sheath and pubic crest. This muscle supports the abdominal wall, rotates and turns the trunk, helps in forced respiration and also raising pressure in abdominal muscles.
As a whole, obliques are major muscles in keeping the trunk area stable and help in the rotation movement.
Best Exercises for Obliques
Some of the best oblique exercises are as follows.
Air Bike or Bicycle Crunch
One of the easiest yet benefiting exercise in the list is bicycle crunch. It is easy and you need not do a ton of crunches in this exercise. It mimics the twisting motion of the body.
- Lie flat on the floor facing upward.
- Keep you hands behind your head straight.
- Keep your legs straight and core tight.
- Bend your 1 leg and bring it towards your core.
- Rotate your upper body towards the bent knee.
- Try touching your knee and elbows on the opposite sides.
- Continue the slow and controlled reps till you feel the burn.
Another great exercise is the russian twist among the best oblique exercises. It mimics the upper body rotation, ultimately working out the obliques.
- Sit down on the ground with your knees bent.
- Carry a small weight for extra resistance.
- You can plant your feet underneath a table or something, or just keep it on the ground.
- Suspend your upper body making angle greater than 90.
- With weight in hands, twist your straight arms from side to side.
- Perform slow and controlled reps.
- Start with the side plank position.
- Holding on the side plank position, let your hips dip down and back up.
- Perform the slow reps on each side.
- It will help strengthen the obliques.
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Seated Barbell Twist
The key thing you need to take care of is not to overload the bar and perform the slow controlled reps.
- Take a medium length barbell behind your neck.
- Keep upright torso and slight arch in the back.
- Keep you back straight and head looking forward.
- Now twist your upper body from left to right keeping head straight.
- Hold the stretch for a moment and return to starting position.
- You might not need to add weight to the bar or can just add small weight.
It falls on the tough side of the exercise. You need to have proper mobility in your pelvis and control over your movement to perform this exercise. You can either do it on the floor or hanging from the bar.
- Lie down on the floor facing upward.
- Raise your legs straight towards the ceiling making 90 degree with your upper body.
- Open your arms outwards to make a stable base.
- Slowly lean your feet to either side of the body.
- Continue till you feel right or meet the floor.
- Return to the starting position and do same for other side.
- Perform the movement as windshield wiper hence the name.
It mimics the movement of cutting the tree with axe in diagonal direction. This is done with cable of weight.
- Grab a cable or plate.
- On cable, keep the cable position high up your shoulder.
- Grab the cable with both hands and stand facing away from the attachment to the side.
- Pull the cable from upward position to the ground on the opposite end.
- Hold the contraction and the stretch.
- With weight plate, bring the weight up above your head diagonally in controlled way.
Oblique muscles are easy to train and develop, yet requires hard work. Few of the best oblique exercises are discussed in the post. These exercises can fit into the schedule of any level athlete from beginner to intermediate to the advance. Just give enough time and effort and have patience, you will be ripped and shredded in no time.