Oblique Exercises: What Are They?

Are you a gym rat who seems to be struggling with balance or flexibility? Have you just started working out and want to target all muscle groups (even the ones people usually neglect)? Then you’ve come to the right place.
The art to perfecting your workout is building a stable foundation with your body to perform the exercises. Oblique exercises are that foundation.
Because they target your core, oblique exercises increase your body’s elasticity. This decreases the likelihood of you getting injured mid-workout.
These exercises target a certain muscle group called oblique muscles that are located around your core.

What Are Oblique Muscles?

Oblique muscles include the muscles in your ab area going downward. Their main purposes are balance, flexibility, and posture. That area is usually targeted when you workout abs.
However, many people don’t know that ab workouts don’t completely cover the abdomen area because the workout will miss the oblique muscles.
Exercising your oblique muscles is extremely important. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or gain muscle, working out your oblique muscles will benefit you.
One of the many benefits of exercising your oblique muscles is that it lowers the risk of back pain and improves your balance and posture. Oblique muscles also define the desired six-pack look every gym-goer dreams of.

Effective Oblique Exercises

Four major oblique exercises set the foundation for most oblique exercises you’ll find. The best thing about them is that they’re very personalized— meaning that you get to control the intensity of each exercise based on your goal.
While performing any of these exercises, it’s very important to keep your core engaged. What does that mean? Simply act like someone is about to punch your stomach. Do you know that tense reflex you get? That’s what we call an engaged core.
Another thing to work on is your breathing throughout the exercises. Always remember to breathe in while your core is engaged and breathe out when you’re relaxed. Mastering your breathing throughout the exercises ensures that you do not get the bloated abs look.

Russian Twists

Russian twists are not only convenient but also customizable. Russian twists are perfect for your routine, whether you’re a professional bodybuilder or recently getting into working out. The exercise focuses on your oblique muscles as well as your hips.
You start off sitting on the floor with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Then, you lean back your upper body creating a V-shape with your upper body and knees. Afterward, cross your arms over your chest as you twist your torso left and right.
You can increase the intensity of the exercise by lifting your feet off the ground as you do the twist. As you do the exercise, lifting a dumbbell will create the same effect.
The recommended reps for each set are around 50. However, the more frequently you do the exercise, the more reps you should add.

Oblique Side Bends

Oblique side bends are a great exercise if you want to do something intense that does not feel like it exerts too much effort at the same time. The exercise widens your waist as well as builds the muscle around it.
That is why men usually prefer it. However, it is an excellent addition to anyone’s workout because of the many benefits it brings.
To do an oblique side bend, you stand straight up with your legs near each other (however, not touching) and your arms at your sides. Then, you bend at your sides left and right— making sure that only your waist is bending.
You can customize the intensity of this exercise by carrying a dumbbell in each arm as you do it. As you advance in performing this exercise, increasing the weight you carry is recommended since it shows progress. You need to do ten reps on each side per set for this exercise.

Side Planks With Reach Under

Get ready because this can be a tough one. Side planks with reach under are a great exercise that focuses on your oblique muscles and your shoulders. Since your shoulders can be easily injured during exercises, you must perfect your form.
Begin by lying on your side and supporting yourself with your forearm on the ground and your feet on their side.
Afterward, you reach out the opposite arm up over your head, then twist your body as you place that arm under your body. You repeat this movement ten times on each side to complete one set.
If the exercise isn’t intense enough for you, then you can do it with dumbbells. But, make sure your muscles can handle it so you don’t risk getting an injury. If, at any point, you experience any pain during the exercise, make sure to stop and rest.

Elevated Crunches

Elevated crunches are also exercises that require a certain level of intensity. However, the results are worth it. They mainly target your obliques as well as your six-pack muscles.
You need to lie on the ground and elevate your legs at a 90-degree angle. You will then carry a dumbbell on your chest and raise your upper body as if you’re performing a normal crunch.
Since this exercise is the most intense, ten to thirteen reps are more than enough per set. It would be best to start without a dumbbell and add it once you’ve strengthened your oblique muscles.


Exercising your oblique muscles will only take around ten to twenty minutes of your workout. In some cases, all you need to focus on is your oblique muscles. The benefits the exercises provide, both long-term and short-term, are mainly why they’re prioritized.
Performing three sets of each exercise above during your workout will bring you amazing results. Of course, your abdomen will get more defined, but you will also find it easier to perform other workouts that require balance.
Overall, everyday activities will feel easier due to the increased flexibility and improved posture. So, get your dumbbells and yoga mat ready and get started.