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How Can I Strengthen My External Obliques?

The oblique muscles run along the sides of the torso near the waist.
Side crunches are a common oblique exercise.
Oblique exercises that utilize twisting motions can give excellent results.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2014
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An individual who wants to strengthen his external obliques may do so with abdominal exercise. The external obliques are muscles that are located on both sides of the body and extend from the lower rib area down to the pelvic area. These muscles help to give the ribs, spine, and pelvic area stability and bracing ability. The external obliques also give people flexibility and help to make bending and twisting possible.

One way to strengthen the external obliques is by performing side bends. To perform this exercise, an individual may start by standing with his feet placed shoulder-width apart. He then bends at the waist, lowering his left shoulder and his left hand down toward the floor. Finally, he stands up and returns to his ordinal starting position before repeating the same exercise with the right side of his body. To strengthen these muscles, an exerciser may perform this exercise several times for each side of the body.

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Another exercise for the external obliques is the standing rotation. To perform this exercise, an individual needs an exercise band that is positioned at the same level as his waist. With his feet positioned shoulder-width apart from each other, the exerciser should begin with the band on the left side of his body and the handle held firmly in his left hand, against the center of his left trunk. With the right handle in his right hand, he should rotate his body toward the right, pulling the tension of the band tight. He can switch sides after completing several repetitions.

Side crunches are often used to target both the external and internal obliques. To begin side crunches, an exerciser lies down on the floor and turns his legs to one side, making sure the turning motion originates from his waist. Then, putting his hand behind his head, he lifts his head off the ground; his hands should only support his head, not pull it up. Finally, he lowers his head back to the ground and repeats the head-lifting motion several times. Once he’s finished with one side, he should repeat the exercise with the other side of his body.

An exerciser may also find that twist crunches provide an effective workout for the external obliques. To perform this exercise, an individual lies on his back with his knees up. With his hands behind his head for support, he lifts his head upward and twists, bring his right elbow to his left knee or his left elbow to his right knee. Each time he lifts his body upward, he touches a different knee. Completing a repetition requires touching each knee with the opposite elbow; this can be repeated several times.

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