The 5 Best Oblique Exercises to Get Ripped Up Abs
*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.
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
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto.
I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP
, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid
, and all-around fitness junkie.
I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine
When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses
and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.
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