Best Exercises to Target the Obliques

for Flatter, Stronger Abs!

What are the best exercises for strong sexy obliques? Well, we asked Studio SWEAT Trainer Jessica to share her fave six below. 

Why is this such a hot topic? The obliques, which run along the sides of your core, are important for rotational movements, bending from side to side, and protecting your spine. Your obliques also improve posture and balance. Tighten these muscles up and you’ve got less chance of back pain because your hips and spine won’t work so hard to keep you upright. AND they help get that carved look for your front abs. Oh yeah!

Here are Jessica’s Favorite Exercises for Carving the Obliques:

1) Side to side ball slams – standing with your feet a bit wider than hip-width, hold a medicine ball at one hip and then lift the ball over your head in a rainbow, slamming it to the ground on the opposite side. As you’re rotating, you’ll pivot on your starting side foot. Be sure to keep your arms straight as you move overhead. Repeat back and forth.

2) Side plank + rotate under – for this move, start in a high plank. Lift one hand off the ground, rotate up toward the sky, and then back down, reaching under and across your chest. Switch sides and repeat.

3) High plank knees to chest and opposite knee to chest  – again starting in high plank, alternate bringing your knee up toward your chest. Then switch to bringing your knee to the opposite elbow. For these, go slowly. It’s an ab move, not cardio like a mountain climber.

4) Crunch + toe tap left and right or long leg bicycles – laying flat on the mat, keeping your low back “pinned” to the ground, start with a crunch and then crunch up, lifting your left leg while reaching for your toe with your right hand, then alternate to right leg/left hand. Repeat the crunch/left leg/right leg combo.

As an alternative, you can remove the crunch, and just do a right/left straight leg “bicycle” crunch.

5) Bird dog – starting face down in tabletop position, reach your right arm out straight while lifting and straightening your left leg out backward. Switch sides and repeat. Be sure you really tighten and reach your arm and leg away from each other.

6) Tabletop rainbow leg extension – staying in tabletop position, reach your right leg straight back. Now reach it way out to the right, tapping your toe on the ground and then sweep it up in a rainbow arch to the left, tapping your toe on the ground. Repeat 8-10 times before switching legs. 

Try adding these body weight moves to your fitness routine, and for tons of great classes with even more oblique exercises, check out the Ab & Core section with a Free Trial over on Studio SWEAT onDemand! Download the app, or if you happen to live in southern California, visit us in our San Diego studio.