Training the Oblique Muscles

The obliques are a massively overlooked muscle group which is a real travesty. Most people don’t even know what the obliques are, so if you fall into that category then you should definitely read on. While the majority of us neglect the obliques in our training, these are actually what will make our mid section look much stronger, and will give us the powerful core we need to stabilise ourselves in all other movements – particularly those that use a twisting motion in the hips.

For those who don’t know, the obliques are the muscles that sit either side of the abs. If you have a six pack, these will be the lines that come out from the side of them below the ribs and head diagonally upwards. The looks of these muscles are almost certainly what sets a great mid section apart from a lacklustre one, and will make you look far more ripped and muscular. Meanwhile, as their appearance might suggest, these muscles are critical in all motions that involve twisting at the hips which means things like golf, dancing, pulling and all other kinds of things making them very useful in the gym and in the rest of life. This also tells us how we’re meant to train the obliques – and that incorporates any real twisting motion into our workout.

Mostly this means variations on the usual sit up, and there are many ways that you can tailor a sit up to target the obliques. The first and easiest method is to simply add a twist on to the end of each repetition. This way you will cause the sides of your stomach to ache and this will be your obliques growing. To make this harder you can also try holding yourself upright and twisting on the spot. This is great if you have your legs up on something high like a sofa, or if you bring your knees up to meet your elbows on each twist.

If you want a slightly more placid way to train your obliques, then another great method is to lie on the floor with your knees facing one way, and to then do sit ups from this position. Here your body is already twisted so you will use your obliques for the movement.

For those who want something on the other end of the spectrum, and who find that their workout needs some form of resistance in order to provide a challenge, then the cable-pully system in the gym can offer some help. Simply set the resistance to a good weight, then ensure the cable is coming from above and behind you. Add an attachment that you feel comfortable pulling, and then tug it down and to either side making sure to pivot at your abs and obliques and not to use your back.

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