Workout 101: Your Quick Guide to Sexier Obliques

The external oblique muscle is one of the largest parts of the trunk area. Each side of the body has an external oblique muscle. The external oblique muscle is one of the outermost abdominal muscles, extending from the lower half of the ribs around and down to the pelvis. Obliques are often neglected because for most people, they are not part of the […]
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The external oblique muscle is one of the largest parts of the trunk area. Each side of the body has an external oblique muscle. The external oblique muscle is one of the outermost abdominal muscles, extending from the lower half of the ribs around and down to the pelvis.

Obliques are often neglected because for most people, they are not part of the “six pack.” In addition to this, it is difficult to diet down to a point where the obliques are in fact visible. Nevertheless, building strong obliques is infinitely beneficial to your training and overall health.

These exercises below are ideal for toning your oblique abdominal muscles which are also referred to as the “love handles”.

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DUMBBELL SIDE BEND

Dumbbell oblique side bends are perfect for targeting the oblique muscles, which are one of the hardest areas within the abdominal area to strengthen and tone. Some oblique exercises only target certain areas of the oblique muscles, but this exercise, when performed correctly, engages the entire region.

  1. Stand up straight while holding a dumbbell on the left hand (palms facing the torso) as you have the right hand holding your waist. Your feet should be placed at shoulder width. This will be your starting position.
  2. While keeping your back straight and your head up, bend only at the waist to the right as far as possible. Breathe in as you bend to the side. Then hold for a second and come back up to the starting position as you exhale.

Tip: Keep the rest of the body stationary.

  1. Now repeat the movement but bending to the left instead. Hold for a second and come back to the starting position.
  2. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions and then change hands.

Caution: Refrain from using this exercise if your obliques tend to grow easily as wide obliques take away from your symmetry.

Variations: You can also do this exercise while seating on a bench or with a barbell.

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PLATE TWIST

Oblique plate twists are one the most effective core exercises to strengthen your abdominal muscles. With the help of a dedicated cardio program and a healthy diet, you can achieve excellent results in getting a lean and sexy stomach. In this exercise, the only thing you will need is a weighted plate.

 

This is an ideal core exercise as all major core stabilizers are involved during the performance of this exercise. This rotational exercise primarily targets all your abdominal muscles, with an emphasis on your oblique muscles. Moreover, it also works on your lower back and hips as you rotate your body and targets your shoulders and arms as well, depending upon the weight of the plate that you are using.

  1. Lie down on the floor or an exercise mat with your legs fully extended and your upper body upright. Grab the plate by its sides with both hands out in front of your abdominals with your arms slightly bent.
  2. Slowly cross your legs near your ankles and lift them up off the ground. Your knees should also be bent slightly.

Note: Move your upper body back slightly to help keep you balanced turning this exercise. This is the starting position.

  1. Move the plate to the left side and touch the floor with it. Breathe out as you perform that movement.
  2. Come back to the starting position as you breathe in and then repeat the movement but this time to the right side of the body.

Tip: Use a slow controlled movement at all times. Jerking motions can injure the back.

  1. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

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DECLINE OBLIQUE CRUNCHES

The oblique decline crunch is one of the most effective exercises to help strengthen your abdominal and oblique muscles. This exercise focuses directly on the sides of your midsection which are also called the love handles. This pair of muscles in technical terms is known as the obliques. This is different from other crunch exercises. In the normal crunch you target the middle and upper abdominal muscles. In this exercise you twist the torso to either the left or the right side so that the oblique muscles are targeted. A decline bench is required to perform the movement.

  1. Secure your legs at the end of the decline bench and slowly lay down on the bench.
  2. Raise your upper body off the bench until your torso is about 35-45 degrees if measured from the floor.
  3. Put one hand beside your head and the other on your thigh. This will be your starting position.
  4. Raise your upper body slowly from the starting position while turning your torso to the left. Continue crunching up as you exhale until your right elbow touches your left knee. Hold this contracted position for a second.

Tip: Focus on keeping your abs tight and keeping the movement slow and controlled.

  1. Lower your body back down slowly to the starting position as you inhale.
  2. After completing one set on the right for the recommended amount of repetitions, switch to your left side. Tip:Focus on really twisting your torso and feeling the contraction when you are in the up position.

Variations: You can perform this exercise on a flat surface or you can also alternate from side to side in each repetition.

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RUSSIAN TWIST

The Russian Twist is a type of exercise that is used to work the abdomens muscles by performing a twisting motion on the abdomen.

  1. Lie down on the floor placing your feet either under something that will not move or by having a partner hold them. Your legs should be bent at the knees.
  2. Elevate your upper body so that it creates an imaginary V-shape with your thighs. Your arms should be fully extended in front of you perpendicular to your torso and with the hands clasped. This is the starting position.
  3. Twist your torso to the right side until your arms are parallel with the floor while breathing out.
  4. Hold the contraction for a second and move back to the starting position while breathing out. Now move to the opposite side performing the same techniques you applied to the right side.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variation: As you get more advanced, you can hold a weight with both arms for resistance.

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BARBELL SIDE BEND

The barbell side bend adds resistance to the lateral flexion of the spine, and therefore is a good exercise for targeting the obliques. It is important to only move through the lateral plane, not allowing the torso to flex forward or extend backward. The hips should remain stationary throughout.

  1. Stand up straight while holding a barbell placed on the back of your shoulders (slightly below the neck). Your feet should be shoulder width apart. This will be your starting position.
  2. While keeping your back straight and your head up, bend only at the waist to the right as far as possible. Breathe in as you bend to the side. Then hold for a second and come back up to the starting position as you exhale. Tip: Keep the rest of the body stationary.
  3. Now repeat the movement but bending to the left instead. Hold for a second and come back to the starting position.

Caution: Use caution if you have lower back problems, or avoid this exerise altogether.

Variations: You can also do this exercise while seating on a bench or with dumbbells in your hands.

  1. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

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SEATED BARBELL TWIST

                Seated oblique barbell twists are great for targeting and strengthening the oblique muscles which are also referred to as the “love handles”. In the process of doing this exercise, the core muscles are engaged and the back is also targeted which helps provide support to the spine.

  1. Start out by sitting at the end of a flat bench with a barbell placed on top of your thighs. Your feet should be shoulder width apart from each other.
  2. Grip the bar with your palms facing down and make sure your hands are wider than shoulder width apart from each other. Begin to lift the barbell up over your head until your arms are fully extended.
  3. Now lower the barbell behind your head until it is resting along the base of your neck. This is the starting position.
  4. While keeping your feet and head stationary, move your waist from side to side so that your oblique muscles feel the contraction. Only move from side to side as far as your waist will allow you to go. Stretching or moving too far can cause an injury to occur.

Tip: Use a slow and controlled motion.

  1. Remember to breathe out while twisting your body to the side and in when moving back to the starting position.
  2. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions

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Hopefully that gives you some more information and options on exercises that can help put those stubborn “love handles” into shape. Feel free to comment below or share with us and our readers your thoughts! Stay healthy, stay fit!

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Scotty Johnson

A lover of art and life. I believe that the whole world is conspiring to shower us with blessings.


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