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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

Owner & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
Bryan DiSanto is the Owner & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, ACE-CPT & CSN, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness/nutrition nutjob.

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.

14 Comments

  1. Those are great movements to get ripped but the muscle wont show unless body fat goes down. http://ushcginjections.com/

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

    • 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.).

      • 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?

        • 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.

        • 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

        • 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.

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

  3. this muphuckas haaaawt

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

    • 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.

  5. 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

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

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