Abdominal Obliques Exercises

The oblique muscles–or side abdominals–cross diagonally near the sides of our bodies and reach from the rib cage to the pubic area. They are the primary stabilizers of our midsection, and they enable us to bend, twist and stoop while also trimming the waistline and enhancing our posture. Not all abdominal exercises give the obliques the work they need, so know which ones to choose.

Side and Knee Bridges

Lie on one side, with your forearm on the floor beneath your shoulder and your feet stacked. Contract your abdominal muscles, and lift your hip from the floor. Keep a straight line from your ankle to shoulder, with your head in line with your spine. Maintain this position for 30 to 60 seconds. Return to the floor. This exercise also can be done by stacking your knees at 90 degrees, lifting your hip and maintaining a straight line from your shoulder to your knees for 30 to 60 seconds. Perform on both sides of your body.

Hand to Toe

Sit on the floor, with your back straight and extended to each side. With one arm, touch the toes of the opposite leg with your hand. Repeat with the other arm, hand and leg. Noting the tension generated in the oblique muscles by these stretches, prolong or accelerate the movements as desired.

Oblique Crunch

Lie on your back, with your knees bent and your left foot flat on the floor. Move your right foot across your left knee. With your left hand at the side of your head, move your right hand to the left side of your body. Take a deep breath and, exhaling as you move, bring your left shoulder toward your right knee, then curl your body forward, up, and to a sitting position. As you inhale, slowly unwind and lower yourself to the floor. Repeat as desired, with a goal of 15 to 30 rises. Duplicate on other side of your body.

V-Sit with a Twist

Sit with your knees bent and both feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms in front of you, with your hands pressed together. Lean backward until your body is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. With your lower body stationary, twist to your right, then to your left, feeling your obliques stretch as you do. Repeat as desired.

Alternate-Heel Touch

Lie on your back, arms at your sides and on the floor. Your knees are bent, and your feet are flat on the floor. Slightly raising your shoulder blades, slide your right arm down your side, and touch the back of your right heel with your fingertips. As you draw your right arm back up, slide your left arm down your left side to touch the back of your left heel. Inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Keep your navel area taut. Alternating from your right arm to your left, continue this exercise for the desired number of repetitions.

Abdominal Twists

Stand erect. On your shoulders and behind your head, place a light bar–broom handle, rake handle, hockey stick–with one hand resting on the top of each end. Slowly twist the stick from one side to the other–right to left, left to right–stretching and flexing your oblique and adjacent muscles as your do. Repeat as desired.

About this Author

Gary Ronberg has been writing professionally for more than 35 years. A journalism graduate of Michigan State University, he’s been a staff writer for Sports Illustrated, The Philadelphia Inquirer and St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He’s the author five books and a contributor to a wide range of publications, websites and major corporations.