Oblique Exercises for Men, It’s easy to remember to exercise our ab muscles, but it’s a common mistake to forget about exercising our obliques. This is a silly mistake because our oblique muscles are very important to our overall core strength and fitness performance. So, it’s time to try these muscles out, maybe for the first time, with some of these great oblique exercises.
What are Your Oblique Muscles?
Oblique muscles are muscles that run along the sides of your core. The muscles are super important for rotational movements like bending side to side. They also help build up the overall strength of your core. Most importantly, oblique muscles play a vital role in protecting your spine. If appearance is something you’re worried about, a strong set of obliques will replace those much-loved, hard to budge, love handles.
Best Oblique Exercises for Men
If you want to perform the ultimate oblique workout, you need to understand why each exercise works. Here is a list of the best oblique exercises for men, complete with instructions and information for getting the movement down.
1. Cross-Body Mountain Climber
This exercise is extra useful as it doubles as a cardio movement that also targets the core, mainly the obliques. The high-intensity exercise will engage your midsection while keeping your heart rate up, helping you to burn calories and reveal that hard work. Make sure the movements are fairly slow, to target the obliques. To perform the cross-body mountain climber exercise:
- Move into a high plank position, making sure your wrists are under your shoulders and your glutes are slightly higher up.
- Bring your left knee towards your right elbow, while trying to keep the rest of your body as still as possible.
- Return the leg to starting position.
- Repeat with the right leg, and continue to repeat, making sure to move fairly slowly.
2. Bicycle Crunch
If you’ve done this exercise before, you’ll know what we mean when we say it’s a killer for the obliques. It targets your center core too- your whole stomach will feel like it’s on fire! Always remember, control is the key here. While it is easy to start slipping and sliding around on the floor, keep your core tight and try not to move from your base on the floor. To complete the bicycle crunch:
- Lie on the ground on your back and bring your legs to a tabletop position.
- Place your hands behind your head, bend your elbows.
- Engaging your core muscles, lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the ground.
- Bring your right elbow to your left knee, while straightening your right leg in a simultaneous movement.
- Release and twist to the other side so you bend your right leg and straighten your left leg, making sure your legs don’t touch the ground.
This one is another killer exercise designed to burn out the abs and the obliques. A favorite among cross-fitters and HIIT athletes, the V-Up requires controlled movements up and down from both the upper and lower sections of your body. All this movement hinges on your core, forcing your obliques and abs to do the heavy lifting. To complete a V-Up:
- Start lying down on your back and extend your arms behind your head, keeping them straight and keep your legs straight touching the floor with your feet touching.
- Lift your legs at the same time as you lift your upper body, keeping your arms and legs straight the whole movement.
- Slowly lower your arms and legs.
- Repeat the movement.
4. Hanging Hurdle
The hanging hurdle requires a bar and a bench. It’s a calisthenics exercise that mainly targets the obliques, but also targets the quads and abs. You will definitely see athletes at the gym making use of this exercise. The hanging component of the oblique exercise creates continuous tension on your core, increasing the severity and practicality of the workout. To complete a hanging hurdle:
- Place a bench underneath a chin-up bar.
- Hang from the chin-up position with an overhand grip and with your legs to one side of the bench.
- Ensure your feet are together and your knees are slightly bent.
- Lift your legs over the bench without bending your elbows or knees, reverse the movement.
5. Heel Taps
While this may be a simple movement, it is one of the best oblique exercises to target the forgotten parts of our core. It is essentially a side crunch that sees you assume a familiar position. Throughout the movement, make sure to keep your shoulders off the floor, as this creates further tension on your oblique muscles. As a result, you’ll feel a far greater burn, indicating the exercise is doing its job. To complete heel taps:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat, and arms down by your side with palms facing up or down.
- Lift your head, using your core, and keep your head and upper back off the ground.
- Reach in a sideways movement with your left arm to your left side, tapping your heel with your left hand.
- Return to the center and do the same movement with your right arm.
6. Russian Twist
A centered and strong core is key to mastering the Russian twist, one of our favorite oblique exercises if you’re looking to get shredded. There are two ways you can complete this oblique workout. The first sees you assume the sit-up position with feet on the ground. The anchor position of your feet will make the exercise slightly easier, however, will benefit you in your stability. The second option is to complete the Russian twists with your feet together and off the floor. Far more difficult, this movement requires you to steady and stabilize yourself using solely your core. To complete Russian twists:
- Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat.
- Lean back and lift your feet, so that you’re balancing on your tailbone.
- Extend your arms and twist your torso so that your arms drop by your side after each twist.
- Twist back and forth, dropping your arms left and right as you go.
Kind of like chopping wood but with weight, this move is an intense full-body exercise that also targets your delts and your quads. You can complete this exercise with a dumbbell or with the use of the cable machine, depending on the equipment you have on hand. As with all exercises on this list, it is important that you focus on keeping your back straight and body rigid. To complete the woodchop:
- Grab a dumbbell and hold it with both hands to the right side of your body.
- Squat down while slightly rotating to the right.
- Stand up and as you do so, swing the dumbbell up and across your body by twisting your torso to the left, keeping the movement controlled.
- Pivot on your right toe as you move, and then bring the dumbbell over your left shoulder.
- Repeat on the other side.