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Side Abs Workout. Exercises For Oblique Muscles

Updated on July 31, 2013


Your four ab muscles allow you to bend and twist from the waist. Strong ab muscles improve balance and posture, reduce the chance of back problems and provide you with more protection. Weak abs usually lead to poor posture and back aches. They also make you more vulnerable to injury and can make you look fatter. If you want to be strong or look good then you should make sure you have strong abs.

The side abdominal muscles or obliques are the ab muscles that allow you to twist or bend sideways. They are located at the side of your torso between the waist and your ribs. If you are not twisting and bending sideways during your workout then you are missing out on the benefits of having strong oblique muscles.

Love Handles

The extra fat at that bulges out at the sides of your belly is often referred to as your "love handles". It can be hard to get rid of. This fat is located at your side where the oblique muscles are. Exercising your obliques can reduce the bulge making your love handles smaller. However to get rid of love handles you need to do more than strengthen your abdominal muscles. You need to get rid of the fat that is over top of the muscle.

Besides working your obliques you should also be burning more calories than you are consuming if you are trying to get rid of the fat. Maintain a healthy diet and do cardio exercising like biking, running, shadow boxing, punching a punching bag or jumping rope. If you want to work your obliques while doing cardio try kayaking, canoeing, baseball, tennis, golf or boxing. You can actually do the sport or you can do the movements as a workout. I play the batting practice game on Wii Sports for some exercise and shadow boxing is one of my favorite cardio exercises for burning calories.

Me doing side planks
Me doing side planks | Source

Side Planks With Rotation

To do a plank you get into the raised push up position and hold it for 60 seconds while using ab muscles to maintain good form. For side planks you rotate your body so you are on your side with one arm above the other. One arm is on the floor. Your legs are straight and touching each other. The other arm is reaching up. You form a sideways T. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds then switch to using the other arm. Keep switching from arm to arm until you want to quit.

To add the rotation part of the exercise slowly reach under your body towards the other side with your raised arm while rotating your body so it is nearly parallel to the floor. Then get back into the plank position to complete one rep. Do the rotations in place of holding the side plank position after you can hold the plank position for 60 seconds without the rotations. Practice doing planks and side planks first to prepare yourself.

Bicycle Crunch

Lie down on your back with your hands behind your head. Raise your shoulders off the ground. You should be able to feel your abs working. Next move your left knee towards your chest and extend your right leg while twisting your torso to bring your right elbow to your left knee. Retract your right leg while extending your left leg and twisting your torso to bring your left elbow towards your right knee. Continue to move your legs in a cycling motion while twisting side to side to bring your elbow and knee together. This exercise should be done slowly.

Russian Twist

The Russian Twist also known as the Mason Twist is one of the best exercises you can do for you obliques. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Place your hands on the floor and bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Lean back slightly to engage your abdominal muscles.Your back should go from a 90% angle to around a 45% angel. The thighs and back should form a wide V. Lift your feet up so they are parallel to the floor without moving your thighs. Next lift your hands up and bring them together close to your chest. Twist your torso to one side bringing your hands to the floor or as close as possible. Then repeat on the other side and keep alternating side to side until the set is done.

The movement should be slow and steady. Good form is important. Try to maintain your balance and keep your legs in the starting position. To make it easier keep your feet on the ground. I recommend keeping your feet on the ground until you get good at it. To make it more difficult do it while holding a medicine ball or weight plate between your hands. You can also wear ankle weights or hold a weight plate between your legs.

Double Wood Chop

Hold a light dumbbell above your left shoulder with both hands. Elbows should be slightly bent. Swing the weight right and down by twisting your torso. As you are swinging bend your knees. Stop before the weight hits your leg. Swing left and up back into the starting position while standing back up. Do a number of reps. Then switch sides so the starting position in above your right shoulder and do another set.

Me doing saxon doing side bends.
Me doing saxon doing side bends. | Source

Side Bends

To do side bends start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand letting it hang down at the side of your leg. Your palm should be facing you. Bend to the left while keeping your back straight. Then get back into the starting position. Do a set of reps and then switch so you are holding the weight in your right arm and bending towards the right.

Your are only bending sideways at the waste. So the range of movement is very limited and it may seem awkward. Saxon side bends are slightly different. Instead of holding the weight at your side you hold two dumbbells above your head. Use light weights. You could use one dumbbell, a ball or a weight plate.

Me doing standing twists.
Me doing standing twists. | Source

Standing And Supine Twist

For the standing twist and supine twist you can use a dumbbell, ball or weight plate. Stand up straight and hold one weight out in front of you with both hands. To do the exercise twist to one side and then the other. Keep twisting side to side until you are done your set. The twisting motion works your obliques. It is simple but effective.

To do a supine twist lie on the floor with your arms out to the sides forming a T shape. Hold a weight between your legs. Use a stability ball if you have one. Raise your feet towards the ceiling. Move your legs to the side and down in an arc like the hand of a clock by twisting your body. Continue to twist side to side until you are finished the set.


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