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The 5 Best Oblique Exercises to Get Ripped Up Abs

oblique, obliques, oblique workout, obliques workout, oblique exercises

*Update, 4/25/2013 — We’ve released version 2 with 5 additional exercises to pinpoint and tear up your obliques: The Top 5 Oblique Exercises To Get Ripped Up Abs, V2

If you’re looking to build a rock-solid pair of obliques or get that sexy, deep, v-cut, you need to add these three exercises into your ab routine…right now. Often people focus primarily on the rectus abdominis–aka the six pack muscles–but completely forget about the obliques.

What ends up happening? You’ll develop a core that’s imbalanced, lacks width, and quite frankly…looks really strange. A sexy six pack is the sum of a number of important parts–the obliques are at the forefront of that equation.

What’s great about the combination of these three exercises is that they use a variety of angles, motions, and contractions to shock your core and spark new growth. I guarantee that if you start doing these exercises regularly–on top of following a healthy, nutritious diet–you’ll begin to see a razor-sharp, powerful pair of obliques emerge from the side of your torso.


The 5 Best Oblique Exercises to Get Ripped Up Abs


Exercise 1 – Weighted Oblique Static Holds

Weighted oblique static holds are my FAVORITE oblique exercise, they’re extremely effective!

Lay on one side of your body with your back completely straight and slowly crunch your legs towards your torso. Really squeeze your side/obliques. At the peak contraction point, or the point where you’re squeezing the hardest, hold it there for 45 seconds. Don’t worry if you’re unable to get 45 seconds right away, hold it for as long as you can and slowly build up to 45 seconds over time. Repeat for the other side.

Weighted Oblique Static Holds

Once you’re able to do 45 seconds comfortably, add a light dumbbell between your feet. Start with 5 pounds and continue to progress as it gets easier and easier. As you continue to add more weight your obliques will strengthen, harden up, and look more ripped-up/

Easy – No weight, hold for 45 seconds per oblique
Medium – 10 pound dumbbell, hold for 45 seconds per oblique
Hard – 20 pound dumbbell, hold for 45 seconds per oblique
Pro – 35 pound weight plate, hold for 45 seconds per oblique



Exercise 2 – Side Planks With Knee Pull

Start by propping your body up on one arm, while raising the other arm straight up in the air. By raising the opposite arm you’re stretching out and isolating the obliques.

Stagger your feet so that the top foot is on top/in front of your bottom foot. While keeping your body perfectly straight, bring your bottom foot as far into your chest as possible. Hold your knee in your chest for 1 second and repeat the motion.

Do 15 reps per side, or as many as you can. Make sure to keep your body straight!!! As this starts to get too easy try to hold your knee into your chest for longer than 1 second.

Easy – 10 reps per oblique, hold for .5 seconds
Medium – 15 reps per oblique, hold for .5 second
Hard – 15 reps per oblique, hold for 1 second
Pro – 20 reps per oblique, hold for 1 second



Exercise 3 – Decline Russian Twists

Find an ab bench and set it to a 45 degree decline. Lean back, tighten your core and obliques, and make sure to maintain perfect posture. Don’t arch your back! A great way to check your form is to puff out your chest and squeeze your lower back.

Once in position extend your arms straight out in front of you and slowly rotate back and forth from the left to the right.

Hold for .5 seconds when you’re fully extended to the right and left. Once this gets too easy, increase the difficulty by holding a weight plate or medicine ball extended out at chest height.

Easy 10 total twists left-to-right, no weight
Medium – 15 total twists left-to-right, no weight
Hard – 20 total twists left-to-right, no weight
Pro – 15 total twists twists, 8+ pound



Exercise 4 – Oblique Cable Crunches

Oblique cable crunches are one of the only ab exercises that overload your abs with a heavy weight.

Once you strengthen your abs, you’ll easily be able to cable crunch 100, 110, 120+ pounds — that much weight is physically impossible to handle with any other ab or oblique exercise.

Easy – 12 oblique cable crunches per side, 30 pounds
Medium – 12 oblique cable crunches per side, 50 pounds
Hard – 12 oblique cable crunches per side, 75 pounds
Pro – 12 oblique cable crunches per side, 100+ pounds



Exercise 5 – Cable Woodchoppers

Cable woodchoppers are a great way to integrate a little high intensity, fat burning action into your oblique routine. Not only will they work your obliques, but they’ll hit your chest, arm, and lats as well. Set up a cable pulley slightly lower than chest height.

Grab the pulley handle far enough away that you can feel a nice stretch in your obliques and lats. Fully extend your arms and powerfully swing your arms across your body. Hold for 1 second at the end of the movement and slowly return to starting position.

Easy – 12 per side, 10 pounds
Medium – 12 per side, 30 pounds
Hard – 15 per side, 50 pounds
Pro – 15 per side, 70 pounds

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Bryan DiSanto

Bryan DiSanto

Owner & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
Bryan DiSanto is the Owner & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a culinary student at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, an ACE-CPT & CSN, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness/nutrition nutjob.

He also contributes to Men's Health Magazine.

When he’s not working on his (or somebody else’s) abs, whipping up Eggocados, or running a Tough Mudder, he’s probably off yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.
Bryan DiSanto
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  • Growth

    Those are great movements to get ripped but the muscle wont show unless body fat goes down.

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  • alex boston

    What if you don’t have the equipment for the final two exercises? Can you just do the first three?

    • Bryan DiSanto

      You don’t need to do all 5 in the same workout – I’d pick 1 – 2 oblique exercises per ab workout and then rotate the exercises you do every few workouts.

      It’s meant to give you options for effective oblique exercises; it’s not a full ab workout plan (you need to include ab work for your upper abs, lower abs, etc.).

      • jay

        lol u just lost all credibility , no such thing as upper and lower abs… its one muscle. unless you knew that but are pandering to these morons for some reason?

        • Bryan DiSanto

          Cool. You’re entitled to train your abs (and your entire body) however you want. I continue to do and share what I’ve found to be effective. Results are results.

        • Josh

          Hey jay of course there’s upper and lower abs. Different ab workouts can target either lower or upper abs as the primary muscle, while working the latter of either two as more of a secondary muscle

        • Frank

          dont call people morons and Im sure you have a sixpack considering your looking for tips lol Im a physical therapist looking for new training techniques….when people reference the upper and lower abs; they are referring to the motor unit between the muscle and the peripheral nervous system.While all muscles abide by the all or none law showing there is no partial stimulation of muscles.Strength training stimulates the muscle fibers nearest the axon terminal the most so it would make sense to target each motor unit individually.

        • Jessica Fitzgerald

          There are 2 sections to the abs. Ask a tummy tuck surgeon. They charge more for upper abs.

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  • JoSerbia

    this muphuckas haaaawt

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  • DoC

    First picture isn’t highlighting the obliques, but the transverse abs.

    • Bryan DiSanto

      It’s highlighting the lower portion of the obliques; the transverse sits under the rectus abd. and is technically invisible in terms of musculature. It purely acts to suck everything in tight and provide stability.

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  • dazza

    hey i’ve tried the first exercise and i just do it on carpet but when i left my legs up i feel alot of pressure on my hip bone which makes it too uncomfortable to continue

    • Bryan DiSanto

      Lie on a folded towel or pad. It’ll help immensely.

  • Best BuildAbs
  • bencgg

    How do you use a weight for the oblique static pulls? (Love your exercise sites, thanks for making them)

    • Bryan DiSanto

      Hold a weight plate or dumbbell in between your two legs. It’s a little tricky to balance at first, but you’ll get it with practice. Test it out, they’re KILLER.

      • Bencgg

        Ok, thanks.

  • SomeTechGuy

    Nice article. Consider removing the html/ php shorthand codes before and after each article.

  • Abby Seamus

    Russian twists are a killer!

  • Justin Williams

    Side Planks!

  • ayu febriana

    to get Ripped Up Abs seemed cara menghilangkan keputihan yang berbau need this exercise 5

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