Every Core Workout Should Include
Oblique Exercises for the Oblique Muscles

Oblique Exercises play an important role in core strengthening.

When I studied and practiced yoga, I remember learning that it was important to move the spine in all of its 7 directions (forwards, backwards, side bend to the left, side bend to the right, twist to the left, twist to the right, and upside down).

The main point is that in order to keep a healthy spine, you must exercise your lower back in all directions.

When most people train their core muscles (abs and lower back), they focus on exercises that move forwards and backwards and neglect exercises that twist or bend to the side.

The lower back is most vulnerable when we twist and lift, so in order to protect the lower back from injury it is important to strengthen your oblique muscles to help control and stabilize your spine when you twist or side bend.

Oblique exercises are important for preventing lower back injuries.

The internal obliques and external obliques actually work really well when you do regular crunches and sit ups. The obliques help to pull the spine forward like in a basic crunch or traditional sit up. But, they work the hardest when you add a twist or bend to the sides.

Here are a few good abdominal exercises for the obliques:

(click to view the page with the exercise pictures and descriptions)

Side Plank

Exercise Ball Oblique Crunches

Oblique Crunches Knees Crossed

Oblique Crunches Feet Flat

Side Crunches

Bicycle Crunches

Standing Side Bends

Medicine Ball Russian Twist

Seated Russian Twist

Side Crunches on an Exercise Ball

Ball Oblique Side Rolls

Moving Side Planks

Hanging Oblique Knee Raises

Core Board Plank Twist with Knee Raises

Weighted Russian Twists

Side Planks with Twisting Crunches

Side V-ins

Star Sit Ups

Bosu Ball Russian Twists

Bosu Ball Oblique Side Crunches

Floor Side Leg Raises

Side Leg Raises on a Bosu Ball

Side Bends on a 45 Degree Slant Board

Bosu Ball Bicycle Crunches

Double Knees to the Side

Double Legs to the Side

Oblique Hip Thrusts

Dumbbell Overhead Side Bends

Medicine Ball Rotational Chest Pass

Cable Lifts

Cable Woodchoppers

Kneeling Cable Rotations

Half Kneeling Cable Rotations

Standing Cable Rotations

Side Oblique Heel Touches

Cable Side Bends (Standing and Kneeling)

Floor Cable Oblique Crunches

Stability Ball Oblique Crunches with Cables

Side Bends with Rotation

Medicine Ball Side Bends with Rotation

Incline Oblique Crunches

Incline Oblique Sit Ups

2 Arm Overhead Cable Side Bends

1 Arm Overhead Cable Side Bends: Version #1

1 Arm Overhead Cable Side Bends: Version #2

Seated Stability Ball Cable Rotations

Oblique Knee Raises on a Captain's Chair

Stability Ball Oblique Roll-ins

Trx Oblique Exercises

Trx Side Plank and Moving Side Plank From the Elbow

Trx Side Plank and Moving Side Plank from the Hand

Trx Side Plank with Rotation

Summary of the Best Oblique Exercises

The above ab exercises emphasize the oblique muscles, but the obliques will work during nearly every ab exercise.

If you've been focusing on regular crunches and ab exercises that only move in one direction (forwards), then I suggest you add a few ab exercises for the obliques to your core workout.

Your back will thank you.

Yours in Health,
Dr. Charles

Read about Abdominal Muscle Anatomy

Or Return to the Abdominal Exercise Directory from Oblique Exercises

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