Check out these oblique exercises to strengthen your abdominal muscles. These will work both the internal obliques and external oblique muscles.
There are 4 of these muscles; 2 internal obliques on each side and 2 external obliques on each side. These are the muscles used to help you twist and turn.
All of these exercises only require an exercise mat. You can in some cases add additional resistance by using a dumbbell weight or a free weight.
Most of the exercises in on this page are isotonic. This means they are movers that will engage the muscles during the workout.
To see the instructions for these oblique exercises, you can either scroll through the page or use the links below to jump to the workout you want to try.
Don't work the same muscle groups 2 days in a row. This can lead to tears in your muscles and possible injury. Give your muscles time to heal from your abdominal workout before attempting the same exercises again.
If you are starting to feel pain in your lower back, then stop and do some stretches to relieve the pain. Double check you are doing each move correctly in order to minimize the stress on your back.
Since the back and abdominals are all part of your core muscles, some of these abdominal exercises for your obliques will sometimes engage the back muscle.
You also want to ensure that you are letting the abdominal muscles do the moving for you. Don't use your arms and head to move your body into the crunch position. Keep hands behind your head loose so that you are not tempted to pull up with the head and arms.
Mix these exercise videos with other stomach workouts and body strengthening workouts to get a complete body toning. If you are just starting out, do fewer repetitions until you have built up the muscle strength.
Remember that a few correctly done ab exercises can be more effective than 100 incorrectly performed exercises.
This one is one of the more common oblique exercises. It is effective and only requires an exercise mat. This is very similar to the traditional crunch but with a slight twist - literally. It is the twisting motion that activates the oblique muscles.
You can do this move slightly different by placing both feet on the floor and both hands behind your head. You can then alternate the twist from left to right with each lift.
The side oblique crunch is simple and yet has a twist just like the oblique crunch. However, instead of twisting as you lift up, you start with your body slightly twisted while lying on the mat. This is what engages the oblique muscles when you crunch upward.
Try not to twist as you crunch up as your body is already twisted to give you that oblique workout. For this exercise, exhale as you reach up and inhale as you return to the starting position.
Another oblique exercise is known as the foot 2 foot crunch. This is a side to side crunch where it will engage primarily the oblique muscles. Any exercise in which you are twisting or bending at the waist will work the side abdominal muscles.
A rep for this oblique exercise would be two crunches, one on the right side and one on the left side. Minimize movement of your lower body and hips, keeping back flat to the floor.
This oblique plank combined with a crunch are great oblique exercises as you get an isometric (non-mover) combined with an isotonic exercise (the movers). The plank movement is considered isometric exercise. These are static, or non moving, exercises. The crunch is the moving portion of the workout.
As you hold in position for the plank pose, be sure to keep on breathing.
The standing oblique crunch is great for when you don't have a mat handy or there isn't enough room at the gym. However, these oblique exercises can be done lying on the floor as well. The instructions are for the standing version.
Make sure you are crunching and twisting at the side of the abdominal and not crunching straight down for this exercise. As with any exercise, make sure to breath to properly oxygenate your body.
The straight leg pendulum is the last in the oblique exercises instructions. It is called this because of the way you move during this ab workout. Your legs will swing like a pendulum giving you that twist at the waist. This is also sometimes called the tic toc, the windmill or the straight leg oblique exercise.
This exercise is more advanced than other oblique exercises and does require control on your part. Don't swing the legs to quickly as momentum, and not your ab muscles, will be doing the work.
Abdominal Exercises - Crunches
If you want to work your rectus abdominus, also known as the six pack, then check out this video series. With six different crunches, including the top 3 ab exercises according to one study, you will feel the muscles working when you are done.
Transverse Abdominal Exercises
This series will really target the deep transverse abdominal muscle. With moves like the plank pose and scissor kicks, you will be strengthening and tightening this stomach muscle.
This video series also has six different exercises that will work your upper and lower body. With moves like the butt lift, squats and tricep curls, you can get an overall body toning.
Be sure to visit the Exercise Instructions page on this site to see a full list of all exercises.
Benefits of Strength Training
Strength Training not only tightens and tones your muscles, but has many other benefits. Read this article to find out about all the benefits of strength training.
Strengthen your muscles without having to move and break out into a sweat. Learn more about isometrics with this article.
Don't forget to work all your core muscles which include the back. These exercise videos include strengthening and stretching of the back muscles.