The muscles on our side abs, or the external obliques, are some of the most difficult to target, and yet they’re essential for posture and core stability.
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We all want to then up our love handles. A combination of adequate nutrition, cardio, and ab-strengthening moves will help to make external obliques look toned and strong.
Complete three sets of each of these moves, with 10-12 repetitions, three time per week to see results.
1. Dumbbell Side Bend
If you are looking for a focused exercise to really feel the burn in your obliques, look no further than the side bend. Grab a pair of dumbbells to get started.
- Go with enough weight that you can feel the resistance when you bend to your side.
- Stand in an upright position with your shoulders down and back and a dumbbell in each hand.
- Lean to your right side as you look straight ahead.
- Let your arm pull your body weight to the side and stop when the muscle becomes tense.
- You will feel the resistance of the dumbbell pulling your body to the side and working the right outer oblique.
- Come to the center and repeat the sequence on the left side to complete one repetition.
- Increase the dumbbell weight to make this exercise more challenging.
2. Russian Twist
This twisting move is a simple and effective one to work into any fitness routine.
- Sit down and lean back with both feet firmly planted on the ground.
- Keep your shoulders down and back with your hands clasped together in front of your chest.
- Your elbows should be pointing out to each side.
- Rotate to the right side, come to the center, and then rotate to the left side.
- You should feel the external obliques with each side rotation as you lead with each elbow.
- To increase the intensity, you can hold a weighted plate, medicine ball or kettleball while you complete your rotations.
3. Windshield Wipers
This exercise targets the external obliques while you lie down on your back.
- To begin, lie down with your arms out to your sides to form a “T”.
- Your palms should be facing toward the ground.
- Bring your knees up into a 90-degree angle and swing them down to the right side.
- Raise them up to the center and then back down to the left side.
- Control the motion using not on your external obliques, but your rectus abdominis as well.
- You can increase the intensity by holding the repetition on either side for two counts before coming up to the center.
- This increases the amount of time that the muscle is under tension.
4. Bicycle Crunches
The bicycle crunch not only works your external obliques, but it activates your rectus abdominis as well.
- Lie down on your back and bring your legs up with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Place your hands behind your head and begin by bringing your right elbow in as your draw your left knee in to meet it.
- You should feel tension in your right external oblique as you complete this movement.
- Once you release your elbow and knee back to the original position, bring your left elbow to meet your right knee.
- This rotational crunch will work the left external oblique.
- You can speed up the movement or slow it down to increase or decrease the intensity.
5. Foot To Foot Crunch
- Lie down on your back with your feet planted into the ground.
- Raise your head and neck up off the ground using your core strength.
- Keep your arms to your sides as you alternate reaching for each foot.
- Start on your right side and reach your right hand toward your right foot.
- Without pausing, come back to the starting position and reach your left hand toward your left foot.
- This exercise works on not only your external oblique strength, but your muscular endurance as well.