When you work out for a six pack abdomen, don’t forget to include oblique exercises in your training routine! Each side of your trunk, at the waist has internal and external oblique muscles. The former is deep – closer to the spine, while the latter is superficial – closer to the skin. Their main function is to pull the chest downwards and compress the abdominal cavity, but they also work to flex and rotate the vertebral column.
When people train their core muscles they tend to focus on exercises that involve forwards or backwards movements and neglect the exercises that involve twisting or bending to the sides. These types of exercises, when you twist your body or bend are the ones that work best on your oblique muscles. While you do exercise these muscles a little while when do the common crunches or sit ups, they work the hardest when you add a twist or a bend. To make sure you get firm abs train your entire abdomen the right way. It’s best that you create an oblique workout routine to include in your training session, at least once a week.
Here are some of the best oblique exercises you should use to sculpt your abdomen. Remember to keep it simple, 3 or 4 types of exercises are enough, and to do the movement correctly, focusing on isolating the muscle.
• Flutter Kick Crunches
Lay on your back raising your legs to a 45 degree angle to the floor. Put your hands behind your head, and then touch your left elbow to your right knee and vice versa. 3 sets of 15 for each side should suffice.
• Exercise ball oblique crunches
With your back on the ball, and feet shoulders width apart for balance, place your hands behind your head. Crunch forward and lift your shoulder blades off the ball, holding the top position for 1 second before lowering back to the starting position.
• Hanging knee raises
Hanging on the bar, raise your knees to one side. Keep your torso facing forward while you lift your knees as far to the side as you can. Lower your feet and do the same on the other side.
• Dumbbell Side Bends
Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Using a dumbbell bend over to one side then slowly come back up, controlling the motion. You should stretch as far as you can in order to get the full range of motion.
• Double knees to the side
Lying on the back with knees bent and hips at 90 degrees angle, place your arms to the sides for stability. Slowly lower both knees to the floor, moving only as far as you feel comfortable. At the bottom of the movement hold the position for a couple of seconds then turn to the other side and do the same.
As mentioned before, oblique exercises should include a twist or a bend. It is important that you isolate this motion and avoid hip motion. If your hips move, then you are using your legs for momentum and for the twisting movement, so you are not training the right muscles, you’re just wasting your time!
Because it’s recommended that you vary your routine, so as to keep your body on edge, here’s a quick list of some other efficient oblique exercises:
- Exercise ball Russian twist
- Side crunches on an exercise ball
- Side V-ins
- Floor side leg raises
- Cable lifts
- Side bends with rotation
- Incline oblique crunches
- Exercise ball oblique roll-ins
The oblique muscles are an important and large part of your abdominal muscles and you should not ignore them when you train for a six pack abdomen. Every muscle in your abdomen must have a nice, clear definition if you want to get firm ripped abs, so don’t forget your oblique workout, once or twice a week.