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Cross Training For Runners

The 7 Best Oblique Exercises To Try

6 Mins read

I’ve talked a lot about core training in past posts,  but written very little about the best oblique exercises for improved performance and injury-free training.

That’s why in today’s post, I decided to share a side abs workout routine that specifically targets the obliques.

The reason is simple.

As we’re going to see, the obliques are an integral part of any core work.

But first,  why should you devote any time working your core—let alone the obliques?

Let’s delve a little deeper into why you should strengthen your core muscles.

The Benefits Of A Strong Core

Getting a flat stomach is awesome—and not just because it looks great in a swimsuit.

The core is your body’s center of gravity. When you have a strong core, it will allow for stronger functional movement throughout exercise and everyday life.

What’s more? A strong core is key not only for running and other athletic endeavors but also daily life activities, such as carrying groceries, walking tall, etc.

Plenty of research revealed that the more belly fat you carry around, the higher your risks of serious diseases, such as diabetes, blood pressure, and heart attacks.

You want none of that.

For more check the following studies

Study 1

Study 2

Study 3

Study 4

Study 5

What Are The Obliques? Defining The Side Abs

The obliques are the group of muscles that run diagonally from your ribs to your pelvis, extending from the hipbone to the sternum.

The obliques are one of your essential core muscles. When properly trained, your obliques will fully frame your rectus abdominis and give your waist a more sculpted and tapered look.

There are two different sets of oblique muscles: the external and the internal obliques.

Training both is a major step in developing a stable and fully functional core.

The External Obliques

The external obliques are located on the outer surface of the sides of the abdomen, extending diagonally for the sides of the rib cage to the tops of the hip bones.

See image

The external obliques allow the trunk of your body to twist—with the movement being controlled by the external oblique muscle on the inverse side of twisting direction.

For instance, if you’re twisting to the right, you’ll be using your left external oblique.

Besides twisting the trunk of the body, these muscles also help with your overall posture, protect your inner organs by creating intra-abdominal pressure, assist in spinal movement, etc.

The Internal Side Abs

The internal obliques are the opposite of the internal ones.

These are located directly below your six-pack and sit just inside the hip bone.

Your internal obliques help with twisting and turning, but they’re in charge of the other side of the movement.

For example, when you twist to the left, you’re engaging both your left and right internal oblique at the same time.

runners performing Oblique Exercises

The Functions Of The Extrnal & External Obliques

Your oblique muscles are in charge of a variety of functions.

Here are the main functions.

  • Lateral flexion—or bending the torso sideways
  • Flexion—or rounding the spine.
  • Rotation—or twisting the torso.

That’s why, if you’re aiming for superior performance, you need them to be strong.

As a runner, strong obliques can help you build and keep proper running form by ensuring spine stability and good posture throughout the running sessions.

This is especially the case when fatigue starts to set in.

The 7 Best Oblique Exercises To Try

Just like any other muscle in your body, your obliques will get bigger and stronger the more you use them.

Here are some of my favorite exercises to train the obliques in all the ways they function by using rotation, instability, or uneven loads.

Workout Directions

Each of these side ab moves is a mini-circuit you can do at the end of your main workout.

The goal here is to hit the maximum number of muscle fiber as fast and effectively as possible so you’ll perform all of the exercises in order, sticking to the reps and recovery periods detailed.

Most of the exercises require either no equipment or a simple weight, like a medicine ball or a dumbbell, so you don’t need to pay for any gym fees to get started.

Keep in mind that this is a fast-paced and intense routine so be sure to follow good form at all time.

1. T-Stabilization

Assume a plank position with arms and legs straight, but with the feet slightly wider.

Next, shift your weight to the right hand, stack up your feet rotate the left side of your trunk up and raise your left arm into the air so that your torso and arms are forming a “T” shape.

Hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute, then switch sides to complete one set.

2. Side Plank Crunch

Begin in a side plank on the left elbow with the left foot slightly in front of the right, and the right hand behind the head.

Next, while keeping the waist lifted, core engaged and torso steady, bring your right leg up toward your shoulder to lightly tap the right elbow, pause for a moment, then bring it back to the starting position.

Aim to perform eight to ten crunches on each side to complete one set.

Shoot for three five sets.

3. Russian Twists Oblique Exercise

Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, roughly hip distance apart, then lean back to a 45-degree angle.

For more challenge, use a heavier weight and/or lift both feet off the floor.

Next, while holding a weight plate and bracing the core, rotate your torso from right to left by twisting at the waist and swinging the weight across the body, tapping the weight to the floor, then twist back over to the left side tapping the weight to the left side of their body to complete one rep.

Aim for 12 to 16 reps to complete one set.

Shoot for three sets.

4. Lying Side Oblique Crunches

Lie on your left side with legs on top of each other, knees bent, and core engaged, then place your right hand on the side of the head and the other hand on the oblique muscle.

Then contract your oblique muscle by crunching the abs sideways.

Next, start performing sideways ab crunches, making sure to rise as high as possible, hold for a moment, then slowly lower down to complete one rep.

5. Metronome Side Abs Exercise

Begin by lying on your back, with the knees slightly bent and raised over your hips, ankles parallel to the floor, and core engaged.

Next, rotate your legs to the right side, stopping short of tapping the ground, then move back to center, and rotate your legs to the other side to complete one rep.

Please don’t cheat by using momentum for the rotation.

Instead, move slowly and make sure to engage your core the entire time.

For more challenge, try to keep your legs as straight as possible.

6. Around the World

Assume a shoulder-width stance with toes turned slightly out, and tailbone tucked while holding a weight plate at outside grip with the arms straight overhead.

Next, while engaging your core and keeping the back flat, bend your elbows and rotate your arms around to move the weight around your head in a circular motion.

Perform 8 to 12 “rotations” on each side to complete one set.

Do three sets.

7. Spiderman Pushups Oblique Exercise

Assume a push-up position with legs and arms straight, core engaged, back flat and head in a neutral position.

Next, as you lower your torso towards the ground, lift your right foot off the floor, then pull your right knee up and towards your right side to hip level or all the way up to the elbow, pause, then press back up to starting position.

Switch sides to complete one rep.

Perform eight reps to complete one set.

Aim for three sets.

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The 7 Best Oblique Exercises To Try – Conclusion

There you have it.

The above oblique exercises workout routine is all you need to build strong and powerful side abs. Just make sure to perform the seven side abs exercises on a regular basis while staying within your fitness level the entire time.

In the meantime thank you for dropping by.

Keep Running Strong

David D.

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