For a truly strong core, you need to tone so much more than just your six-pack abs muscles. Truly, it takes a 360-degree approach—and your obliques are an important part of the occasion. In fact, every core or full-body workout you do should include some oblique exercises
So, your obliques are firing once you rotate, bend and flex your trunk and these movements are all heavily utilized in all sports. Also, the obliques are found on all sides of your midsection and go from the side of your abdominals up towards the last.
Most often we always train the abdominal muscles to strengthen the core, as well as to look more attractive, but obliques are literally more important than abs if you are trying to find pure athleticism.
This muscle group is liable for keeping you balanced when doing exercises, like squats. So, simply put, whether you train for strength gains, health, or simply to seem good, because strengthening your obliques will assist you to better the overall midsection of your body.
Bird Dog Crunches
You need to start on all fours, then placing your hands flat on the ground directly beneath your shoulders, next to your knees beneath your hips with a flat back position.
Then you need to engage your core and point your right arm straight out from your shoulder, while your left leg is straight back from your hip.
You need to keep both parallel to the floor throughout the “reach” portion of this movement.
Next, squeeze your right arm and left leg back to the original starting position and hold for split second before starting the second rep.
You need to repeat this movement for 10 reps without setting your right arm or left-back on the ground and then switch to the left arm/right leg combo.
Complete 3-4 sets of 10 reps on each side with 30 seconds rest between each set.
Beginner modification: For beginners, first start to reach with only your arm at first. And then as you become more comfortable, you can reach with just your leg before you graduate to the full movement.
Single-Leg Side Plank with Leg Raise
Place a mat or soft surface beneath you. Then to lie down on your right side, stacking your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders over one another in a straight line.
Next, you need to prop yourself up on your right elbow and engage your right oblique and hip flexor to maintain this rigid position.
Then reach your left arm straight up, directly over your shoulder and next, lift your left leg straight up about 6-12 inches while keeping your foot flexed directly forward.
You need to hold this position for 10-15 seconds, keeping your core rigid while working on “lengthening” your body throughout the entire movement. Then repeat in the same sequence on your left side.
Complete 3-4 sets of 10-15 second hold on each side with 30 seconds rest between each set.
Beginner Alternative: For beginners, you need to try a simple side plank with the top hand placed on your hip. And then work on raising your arm directly above your head, so finally, try and hold your top leg at full extension for a split second. You need to continue to work in this format until you can extend your leg for 10-15 seconds on each side.
First, you need to assume a push-up position, palms planted firmly on the ground. You need to maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your heels by engaging your core muscles.
Then lift your right leg a couple of inches off the ground and bring your right knee towards your right elbow as you lower into a push-up and next return your right leg back to the ground as you push yourself back up.
You need to repeat on the left side, and then alternate legs for 3-4 sets of 10 reps with 30 seconds rest between each set.
Beginner Alternative: For beginners, you need to start in the push-up position and alternate lifting your feet up off the ground a few inches with a straight leg and hold each rep for a few seconds. And then as you make progress, start to bend your knee slightly and bring it towards your elbow.
Side Plank Swipers
So, start by lying on your right side, stacking your feet, knees, hips and shoulders over one another in a straight line and prop yourself up on your right elbow.
Engage your right oblique and hip flexor to maintain this rigid position, then stretch your left arm out past your head so it is in line with your body.
Next, keeping your left arm straight, swipe it directly over your body towards your left hip and squeeze your left side as hard as you can while holding for a split second.
Your right hip will drop slightly during this contraction phase, but you need to try to keep the hips stacked over one another and off the ground throughout this movement.
You need to reach back to the original starting position and repeat for 4 additional reps before switching to your left side.
You need to do 3-4 sets of 5 reps per side with 30 seconds rest between each set.
Beginner Alternative: For beginners, you need to work on a simple side plank hold while contracting the hips towards the floor and back up in a “side crunch.”
Remember to try and keep the hips elevated off the floor the whole time and then work on the arm extension portion by itself before combining the two into a full contraction.
Single-Leg Toe Touches
First, lie down on your back with your legs flat against the floor and arms extended above your head, and then lift your left leg up with your foot directly over your hip and a slight knee bend.
You need to try to keep your left leg engaged in this position for the entire movement. And then next to tuck your chin towards your chest, reach your right arm towards your left foot by contracting your core and hold for a split second.
You need to return to the original starting position while keeping your foot and hand elevated off the ground and repeat for 4 additional reps before switching to your right leg and left arm.
You need to complete 3-4 sets of 5 reps per side with 30 seconds rest between sets.
Beginner Alternative: For beginners, first work from the same position on your back, but bend your knee at a 90-degree angle halfway towards your chest.
Then touch your elbow to the opposite knee and as you become more familiar with this movement, try to progress to the full range of motion by straightening your leg a little more each workout until your foot is directly over your hip.