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10 Killer Oblique Exercises For Toned Abs


The reason you need to incorporate oblique exercises into your routine is because it helps complete that dream six pack abs look you are aiming for.

When working out abs, it’s not just crunches that gets you a toned core. In addition to weight loss, you also need to work out on the details.

Having a strong core goes beyond fitness. Your core supports your back, helps with balance and good posture. Danielle Burrell, a NASM-certified personal trainer, says “the obliques help stabilize us and keep our torso protected”.  

According to a study, oblique exercises help build a core that supports your lower back. This lowers your chances of straining your back during twisting or turning. “It is so important to train and build strong oblique muscles to help us perform better in exercise, sports and everyday functional movements” says Burrell.

This list of oblique exercises is mixed with bodyweight and weight movements. You won’t be requiring any equipment. You’ll just need a dumbbell and a weight plate.

These 10 oblique exercises don’t just work obliques, but work out your core and other supporting muscles.

Build a stronger core with this complete lower ab workout

Side Plank DipsSit-ups To TwistTrunk RotationsBicycle CrunchRussian TwistsSpidermansHeel TapsSide BendsCore StabilizationFarmer’s CarryFAQs

10 Killer Oblique Exercises For Toned Abs

1. Side Plank Dips

A more intense variation of the side plank to start off this list of oblique exercises. This movement focuses more on your obliques. It also targets your core, hips and shoulders.


How to do side plank dips:

  • Get in a side plank position
  • Your feet should be stacked on top of each other
  • Your body should be in a straight vertical line going down
  • Now, lower your hips towards the ground
  • Next, raise your hips back to the starting position

Add this exercise to your effective bodyweight ab workout!

2. Sit-Ups To Twist

Now, we move on to working your entire abdominal section, this will also work your obliques.


How to do sit-ups to twist:

  • Lay down on your back like you would for a sit-up
  • Make sure your feet are flat and knees are bent
  • Now, place your hands behind your hand
  • Next, do a sit-up
  • Just as you are about to come up all the way, rotate your core
  • Now, touch your right elbow with your left knee
  • Lower down to resting position
  • Repeat the sit-up to twist with alternating elbow

Ladies, try this ab workout to set your core on fire!

3. Trunk Rotations

This list of oblique exercises is great for the core and upper body because obliques work in coordination with them. Trunk rotations are perfect for the upper body, core and obliques.


How to do trunk rotations:

  • Start off in a high plank position
  • Now, twist your torso
  • And bring your left knee under your body towards your right elbow
  • Return back to resting position and repeat with alternating knee

Do these 6 exercises to build washboard abs at home!

4. Bicycle Crunch

The burn continues with another intense oblique exercise. The form is really important in this movement.


How to do bicycle crunches:

  • Start by laying down on your back and bring your legs back to your chest
  • Place your hands behind your head and bend your elbows
  • Engage your core and lift your upper body up
  • Now, connect your left elbow to your right knee while straightening your left leg
  • Finally, relax a bit and continue the movement with alternating elbow and knee

Can’t do bicycle crunches? Try doing reverse crunches instead!

5. Russian Twists

Russian twists engage your obliques and core. This move requires control and balance because both your upper body and lower body are off the ground.


How to do Russian twists:

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet stacked
  • Now, lift your feet off the ground and lean slightly back
  • Balance this resting position
  • Next, twist your hips
  • If using a ball, drop the ball slightly down to the side

Want a lazier variation? Try doing flutter kicks!

6. Spidermans

If you incorporate these oblique exercises in your ab workout, a strong core is just the first gain. Spidermans are great for your entire core, the side crunch works out your obliques and your upper body is also worked out.


How to do spidermans:

  • Start in a high plank position with your arms straight
  • Now, bring your left knee up to your left elbow
  • Next, repeat with alternating knee and elbow

If you want chiseled abs, make sure you’re doing some cardio such as HIIT to get a visible pack!

7. Heel Taps

This is the last bodyweight movement in this list of oblique exercises. This is a very easy movement you can do.


How to do heel taps:

  • Lie down on your back with your knees bent
  • Keep your arms flat by your side with palms facing down
  • Using your core, raise your head and shoulders off the ground
  • Now, with your left hand, tap your heel by bending your side
  • Keep the movement going by using alternating hands on each feet

Don’t have gym access? Try these 5 exercises at home!

8. Side Bends

This movement is done best with a dumbbell. You should start off with a lighter weight and then go heavier. Make sure you go slow and steady while exerting pressure on your obliques.


How to do side bends:

  • Hold a dumbbell in your hand
  • Stand shoulder-width apart
  • Bend to your side at your waist
  • Bend at the side and bring the dumbbell slowly down to your knee
  • Finally, return to resting position

If you’re serious about your strength and power, try the One Punch Man workout!

9. Core Stabilization

This oblique exercise requires a weight plate. This is another movement that rotates your core, perfect for obliques.

How to do core stabilization:

  • Sit on the floor and keep your knees bent
  • Now, hold the plater in front of you at chest level
  • Next, rotate your arms to the right
  • Hold this position for a few seconds before going left
  • Finally, return to the resting position

Build your balance and coordination with these 10 stability ball exercises!

10. Farmer’s Carry

We wrap this list of oblique exercises with a dumbbell farmer’s walk. A farmer’s carry works more than your core, it works your lower body too. You can even stand on your tiptoes to work on your calves at the same time.

How to do farmer’s carry:

  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand
  • Now, stand shoulder width apart
  • Start walking
  • Set an appropriate distance  

Make sure to include this in your powerful leg workout routine to get those gains!

Key Takeaway

Incorporate this list of oblique exercises into your ab workouts or choose 8 of these movements and turn them into a workout routine.

Getting abs requires working out, but showing off those abs requires weight loss. We have a natural storage of fats in our tummy. While these fats may be essential, you can still burn them off just by controlling your diet.


What is the best exercise for your obliques?

The best obliques exercise includes two kinds of movements – the rotation as well as the lateral flexion of the spine. One of the best and most effective exercise is the side plank with rotation, which sets your obliques on fire. Not only does it engage your side abs, it also works your core. This is how you do it:

  • You start in a plank position with your elbows under your shoulders while supporting yourself on your toes
  • Extend your arms above your head, then rotate your torso and move your free arm under your body, moving your shoulders to the floor.
  • Rotate back to the original position, moving your arm back to the ceiling
  • Repeat for 10-15 reps then move to the other side.

This workout is great for building strength and helping you achieve those well-defined, visible oblique muscles so you can have a stronger and stable core.

Do oblique workouts slim your waist?

While oblique exercises tone and define the muscles around your waist, they don’t really slim your waist as this is a concept called ‘spot reduction’, which is a myth. However, by adding some weights to your oblique exercises, you can increase muscle mass, boost your metabolism and kickstart your fat loss. This would automatically mean a slimmer waist. However, it all depends on your nutritional intake and your total body fat percentage.

Do oblique exercises burn fat?

Although you can strengthen and tone your oblique muscles with area-specific exercises, you can’t really burn ‘fat’ in a particular spot. Fat loss only happens when you go into a caloric deficit, meaning you’re either consuming lesser calories than you should or burning more calories than you consume. With your ab workouts combined with your cardio, you’ll be able to increase your overall core strength. However, a balanced and nutritious diet will play a huge role in reducing your body fat. With oblique ab workout, you’ll have a toned waist, which will become visible once your body fat reduces.

Do Russian twists slim your waist?

Russian twists are great for creating visibility, definition and endurance in your side muscles, however, they do not ‘spot reduce’ fat in any area. In fact, spot reduction is a myth because in order to ‘slim down’ any particular area, you need to lose weight and fat overall. However, when you’re regularly doing Russian twists alongside a balanced diet, staying in deficit and doing some cardio, you’ll be able to construct a solid and strengthened core.

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