Your abs are up there with some of the most used muscles in your body, and a huge part of that comes from your oblique muscles. Sadly, your obliques, in particular, are also up with the most easily forgotten about muscles too. We're here to change that, and we have some of the best oblique exercises imaginable to help you do it.

Your obliques are actually a pillar of core strength, believe it or not. They're capable and responsible for way more than most people even know about, because you use them in almost every exercise and movement you do, even without knowing about it.

They can help your performance in everything, not just ab exercises.

With this in mind, we have compiled 5 of the best oblique exercises you could ever ask for to help you maximise their potential, and boost your core strength too, and give them the attention they truly deserve.

They're all hardcore and they're all worth doing.

Single leg side plank

Man performing the side plank with leg raise

Every good list of ab or oblique exercises needs some sort of plank variation. It’s a tried and tested method of pushing your abs to their limit with isometric exercise. That's perfect to test their strength and still add some definition at the same time.

This time though, instead of the classic plank and hold type technique, this variation focuses on you taking a side plank position. You raise whichever leg is higher until you’re in a split position, holding for the duration you choose, and then bringing back down and changing sides. The leg movement and the body rotation make this one of the best oblique exercises you can find.

Russian Twists

Man performing the Russian Twist exercise outdoors with kettlebell

Russian twists are potentially the best way to train your obliques from the whole list because of their practicality and how effective an exercise they are. They train both sides of your abs at the same time meaning that it’s an efficient workout, and it’s extremely variable.

You can use just about anything to get it done, from kettlebells and dumbells to medicine balls and bodyweight. It all works wonders for your core.

With or without added weight, you need to put yourself in a crunch like position or even just contract your abs whilst you are positioned on a stability ball and rotate your body from side to side slowly, and returning back to the centre. It's all int the twist, so take it slowly and carefully.

Spiderman

Woman performing the Spiderman exercise outside

The spiderman is a hard-hitting oblique exercise that uses the same technique as mountain climbers, but with more attention to the sides of the abs rather than the lower abs alone. It’s better to do this for timed sets rather than monitored reps, but it’s all about whatever works best for you.

To do it, you need to get into a plank position and bring your knees toward your elbows as you would do with mountain climbers as we said above.

The difference is though, this time you bring your legs from the side rather than from under you, which is where your obliques really feel the burn! Don't hit your elbows, but use the sideways motion as your guiding point.

Cable Woodchops

Man holding the cable in one hand ready to start the cable woodchop

Cable wood chops are not always as accessible as the other items on this list, but they’re definitely worth talking about in terms of their oblique effectiveness.

The addition of weight and the change of movement range that the equipment offers means that you hit the muscles from a completely new angle and maximise the contraction that you’re giving them.

The idea is a lot like the name would suggest, and involves you holding a cable above your shoulder, and swinging downwards and sideways as if you would be swinging an axe. This means that you’re going from the top through to the bottom and getting the best results you can do on each side. Variation is everything after all.

Decline Oblique Crunches

Man performing the decline crunch on a weight bench

Is it really a good ab workout without some crunches in there somewhere? Of course not, but this really takes it the next level. Decline exercises, in general, are some of the most difficult that you can do, but if you can manage it, you'll see the benefit in no time.

Lying on a decline bench and in a safe position to carry on, you need to crunch and twist your torso from side to side. Although this will hit your who ab group, it targets the obliques in the last angle they need to be hit and will really put you to the test.

 

Putting these moves together in your ab workout is not a bad idea, but make sure that you don’t overdo it and that you can perform all of the other exercises safely too.

Training your obliques doesn’t mean you don’t need to train your upper and lower abs too, remember, so structure your workouts as effective as you can and mix things up from time to time for the best results.

 

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