6 Exercises to focus on Your Abdominal Obliques



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Doing crunches, planks and leg raises helps develop your rectus abdominis, which is the six-pack muscle, but can leave the obliques weak and under-developed. By targeting your obliques with these six exercises, you can increase sports performance, keep your back healthy and bring out those muscles on the side of your six-pack. The obliques aren’t the first muscles that come to mind when you think of strong abs.

No, the rectus abdominis tends to steal the show with its prominent location and six-pack formation, while the oblique muscles are (literally) set off to the side.But when it comes to maintaining spinal stability and performing everyday movements like side bending and trunk rotation, the obliques. A simple exercise that requires no equipment, bicycle crunches are an effective exercise for targeting the obliques as well as the abdominal muscles. Lie on your back on an exercise mat.

Place your hands behind your head for support. Lift your shoulder blades and upper back off the mat. The core consists of multiple abdominal muscles including the rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques, transverse abdomini.

Exercises: 1. Leg Raise – Lower Abs 2. Hip Lift – Lower Abs 3. Side Plank Left Side – Obliques 4. Side Plank Right Side – Obliques 5. Pike – Upper Abs 6. Crunches – Upper Abs. Instructional Videos. Leg Raise – Lower Abs.

Strong oblique muscles translate to a better body in a number of ways. They support the spinal column, reduce risk of type 2 diabetes (which is commonly linked to excess abdominal fat), and improve performance in physical activities involving quick movements and twisting. 1 day ago · “A very simple workout that can be performed to target all of the muscles comprising your core includes only three movements: the full crunch, bicycle crunch, and hanging leg. If you want to get shredded obliques, then you will want to start incorporating at least some of these 10 best exercises for obliques. Find out in this video.

Trainers with sick abs from across the country shared their best oblique exercises to build a smart oblique workout. (Also try these 4 Oblique Exercises from J.Lo’s Trainer.) Get ready to sweat! How it works: Perform these obliques exercises once through for a killer obliques workout, or pick your favorite and work them into your regular routine. Getting a six pack requires frequent abs workouts and the below core exercises indeed work the abs, but also the obliques and the lower back, bulking up your torso in the best way possible.

List of related literature:

These exercises target all of your abdominal muscles, with an emphasis on your obliques.

“The Men's Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular YOU!” by Adam Campbell
from The Men’s Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular YOU!
by Adam Campbell
Rodale, 2009

These exercises work the superficial abdominal muscles, such as the rectus abdominis, very well.

“Sculpt and Shape: The Pilates Way” by Yasmin Karachiwala, Zeena Dhalla
from Sculpt and Shape: The Pilates Way
by Yasmin Karachiwala, Zeena Dhalla
Random House Publishers India Pvt. Limited, 2015

However, a few exercises target the external obliques directly.

“Natural Bodybuilding” by John Hansen
from Natural Bodybuilding
by John Hansen
Human Kinetics, 2005

This basic exercise is valuable for developing the obliques, muscles essential for providing contour and tone in the abdominal area.

“Pilates Anatomy” by Rael Isacowitz, Karen S. Clippinger
from Pilates Anatomy
by Rael Isacowitz, Karen S. Clippinger
Human Kinetics, 2019

Abdominal muscles run lengthwise (rectus abdominis), crosswise (transversus abdominis), and diagonally (abdominal obliques), enabling the trunk to bend forward and sideways, to rotate, and to twist.

“Serious Strength Training” by Tudor Bompa, Mauro Di Pasquale, Lorenzo Cornacchia
from Serious Strength Training
by Tudor Bompa, Mauro Di Pasquale, Lorenzo Cornacchia
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2012

Core The plank: This is one of the best, and simplest, ways to work the abdominal muscles.

“Muscle Medicine: The Revolutionary Approach to Maintaining, Strengthening, and Repairing Your Muscles and Joints” by Rob DeStefano, Bryan Kelly, Joseph Hooper
from Muscle Medicine: The Revolutionary Approach to Maintaining, Strengthening, and Repairing Your Muscles and Joints
by Rob DeStefano, Bryan Kelly, Joseph Hooper
Atria Books, 2009

Variation is Key: It’s important to target abdominal muscles from every angle.

“Shut Up and Train!: A Complete Fitness Guide for Men and Women” by Deanne Panday
from Shut Up and Train!: A Complete Fitness Guide for Men and Women
by Deanne Panday
Random House Publishers India Pvt. Limited, 2013

Another bonus: Because the rectus is attached to the external obliques (the muscles on the sides of your torso), the tightening will improve the overall tone of all your abdominal muscles—potentially decreasing back pain and improving posture and lower-body strength.

“You: On A Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management” by Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz
from You: On A Diet: The Owner’s Manual for Waist Management
by Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz
Simon & Schuster, 2006

External abdominal oblique 4.

“Orthopedic Physical Assessment E-Book” by David J. Magee
from Orthopedic Physical Assessment E-Book
by David J. Magee
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2007

Another very effective – and fun – way to strengthen your abdominal muscles is to practice the Samba.

“8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Natural Posture Solutions for Pain in the Back, Neck, Shoulder, Hip, Knee, and Foot” by Esther Gokhale, Susan Adams
from 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Natural Posture Solutions for Pain in the Back, Neck, Shoulder, Hip, Knee, and Foot
by Esther Gokhale, Susan Adams
Pendo Press, 2013

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

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  • NOTIFICATION SQUAD GIVEAWAY Alright guys, I’m giving away a complete 30 Day Workout program to 100 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 100, but those randomly selected within the first hour the video is published. Click the link to see if you’ve won. No strings attached! 

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  • Amazing! And I find quite interesting how the elbow thrust is exactaly the move you do to perform a Judo “Seoi Nage”. Once again the oliques showing themselfs crucial to sports performance in both speed and power withing the movements! Awesome!

  • Every time I search for anything exercise related I find Jeff as the 1st result.
    I came from an abs workout video by jeff because the oblique exercise wasn’t working for me to find a top 10 oblique exercises video by jeff. Its like having a personal trainer!

  • hello Jeff! I’ve been watching you videos. they have helped me a lot. could you tell me how much calories do I need to eat? I’m 137lb. I’m trying to bulk up. thank you.

  • Recall Naval boot camp marching and the leader would say “left oblique march.” I knew to go left but didn’t know what an oblique was. Now decades later I can’t see my obliques, but know they are above my left an right side of hips.

  • Hi Jeff! I feel like both exercises when you are laying down on the floor and on your side, where you have the arm behind the head and you rotate, my abs go back into diastasis rectiI feel a separation versus the abs being able to hold that load. Is there anything I should try while in those movements so I can do this correctly, and so it can contribute to helping me to close this gap?

    Will say the other movements seem to be excellent for me so farmy gap stays sealed and strong. I did use a Pilates ring instead of weights to do the rotation one on the Pilates ball. I kneeled under my yoga swing with my hands on the top handle option and my shoulder blades locked down before initiating pulling the knees up but to their sideto try the twisted leg raise that you do in hopefully a less loaded wayI need a mirror to check that I’m okay on that one but it felt right.

  • I have the feeling that with the band exercises, much (too much) work is being done by my legs and glutes. Don’t know how to prevent that. Problem with the exercise on the pull up bar is that I can’t lift my legs to do even one twist. I’m not obese and not totally without muscles so I’m not sure what’s going on there.

  • Jeff. I am only on day four and I failed miserably but I don’t care. I am going to stick with you because of your education experience expertise so even though I am 66 and haven’t been in great shape for a while, actually quite a while, I think I have finally found someone I can follow along with and believe in. I see one thing I’m going to have to invest in is a decent workout mat. I got rug burns on my elbows pretty quick. One thing I was wondering about is if you have done any videos using resistance bands? I recently got a couple of sets and was hoping you had some videos on those. I also picked up an ab wheel and I saw your video on the mistakes, but I’m still not sure I’m doing it perfectly correct yet. It’s the starting point that I feel the most unsure of. I have been checking out some of your other videos and so far I really like them I like your enthusiasm but I think the thing that drew me the most to watching you and following along is your education and experience. Thank you very much for what you were doing here.

  • Hello Jeff! I have a disc bulge and im doin your suggested exercises to fix it in one of your vids, my question is can these obliques exercises worsen my lower back?

  • I target my obliques with dumbbell side bend but up until now, my right oblique isn’t healed yet, and its been like 5 days. Is there seems to be a problem?

  • Elbow to Knee is the one where I actually felt them. I was upset a few minutes ago because side crunches don’t let me feel anything

  • I can hear my mother now,,, Boy, you better start eating, your ribs are showing…

    No mom, that’s muscle…. No son, that’s bullshit

  • Not sure if this is too old for you to check, but I recently became an AthleanX member. Unfortunately, I weigh 380 currently and can’t quite keep up with the routines yet. My question is how can I start to understand core contraction with the weakest abs in the world. I need fat boy exercises if you have any. Thank you for your videos, by the way, you’re tutorials have made an incredible difference in my training and knowledge of my physiology for muscle use.

  • Why would I create a diet plan myself when there are people who certainly do that better then me? Visit Next Level Diet and get your personalized meal plan.

  • If I have fat on my stomach and I do abs will it make me look bulky? Since I already have fat:/ I’m so confused as to how that works or do you suggest to lose the fat first?

  • Hi… happy New Year
    I started working around October
    I don’t think I am doing so bad but sometimes I feel like I am all over the place and that I am doing everything wrong

    What advise would you give to beginners

    Thank you ��

  • she doesn’t even have a six pack, these are great tips but all of my friends and myself that are professional athletes workout but don’t do specific ab workouts and we all have serious 8 packs

  • Hello Hanna i’m just started training with the beginners guide en totday i wanna tray this abs video. Can i ask what the drinks is that you are training with?
    I love your videos

    bye bye from the Netherlands!

  • I know this sounds odd…and obviously means I’m doing something wrong but I have hypermobility so in my less stabilized joints (hips and shoulders) there’s a high probability for a subluxation. I’m getting so frustrated because I’m starting from dough I had back to back shoulder surgeries. I just feel like every motion I’m doing is causing my hip or shoulder to slip, there’s an audible “clunk” when it slips back into place. I played competitive sports so I was always in shape, but right now I don’t even know where to start

  • I agree with BDet313, you have become my favourite fitness Youtuber!! You get to the point and your info is very precise. Keep up the awesome work! Also, what’s the name of your runners?:)

  • Wait. Do all of these 3 times!? As in cycle through once, then do it all again, then do it all again!?

    I’m a beginner and I could barely get through one!! Ahhhh!

  • I am 12weeks into my weight loss journey. I have to modify a couple of these moves bc my core is so weak and I have an abdominal fold. Can I see have the same results with modification until I can do the workout?

  • How long should a workout be? I made a workout schedule but I don’t know how long I should workout for each day… I usually workout for 40 minutes….my full body workouts are 20-30 minutes and my abs are 10-15 minutes…I workout 5 days a week and rest 2 days a week

  • Ever since I bumped into one of your workout videos I can’t stop watching them. They always motivate me to hit the gym and challenge myself. Thank you❤️

  • Really effective workout
    But surely not for beginners
    I m starting frm less counts nd will increase slowly..best thing is i m doing it at my home no gym no equipment required. But first i did warmup..nd stretching in end

  • Any recommendations on how to target “bra back fat” all your videos are so helpful and I’ve seen progress I’m trying to target my back/shoulders than my abs xx

  • whenever im doing the first exercise i feel kind of a ticking sensation behind my right knee. it doesn’t hurt it’s just annoying. does anyone know how to fix this?

  • Your target videos are awesome.You are the reason i have started working out on my abs.Thank you so much:) Make more of these videos mentioning the target muscles used.

  • Great video, you did something in 5 minutes that take other fitness youtubers llike an hour to do, thank you this helped out so much I plan on using this workout without weights for awhile but i’ll add them once i feel like my gains have slowed down, but how many times a week should I do this workout?

  • Too dangerous for you uterus. Too much pressure inside. Please, be careful. I did these exercises for almost 20 years, then had two kids and ended up with a huge prolapse. Only then was told by a specialist that most abs exercises push your uterus out of your body. So think twice!!!

  • First off I want to say thank you for sharing your tips and tricks and workouts with us I did this work out Tuesday woke up Wednesday morning and sneezed I swear I thought my intestines was about to pop out my stomach ���� also did it Wednesday morning as well. I’m sending Positive energy and vibes your way

  • Thank YOU for this video. I am terrible at doing abs, they kill me. But I gotta start working on them, how do I expect myself to work out everything but abs? Haha. ❤

  • My waist is increased from 61 to 70 cm:(… Even though I keep doing exercise everyday ( running and biking ) but it doesn’t really work. I start to do some exercise for the abs recently. But some people said that I should do the cardio instead of the abs. Can you pls give me some advices for this case? Thank you Hanna…

  • I just recently subscribed to your YouTube channel! I Love your workout videos!
    When I workout at the gym I always have trouble finding the contact when I’m working out my calves. I was wondering if you could do a video on how to workout your calves? and how often you should train them in order to see results. Please and thank you! ❤️

  • Du är så grym på det du gör och vacker!!:) är du singel igen? För såg att du tagit bort bilderna på don pojkvän på Instagram..kanske missat detta? en glad och fin tjej som dig borde inte ha några problem att träffa rätt kille! ❤️

  • All right! Great exercises but… honestly he’s so hot. I’m watching just to see him >:p. Loving those muscles and I liked the video♥

  • Oooh You’re handsome I have crushes on guys w. Abs You make me feel like a Princess �� I caught the butterflies because of you ������������

  • man, he’s so dam handsome, I wish I had him as a wing man for meeting the ladies, oh well, I do pretty good on my own. Nice oblique workout, still cant get through them all but getting there

  • How many times in a week do you work on your abs, and how can I shrink it to some few exercises which could give me results in every part of my abs ( obliques, upper and lower)?

  • Hi Good morning, I’m from Brazil and I watch your videos, I thought it was great, but I would like to know how many repetitions each of the exercises and how much time to rest. Congratulations through the videos.��������

  • My god, side crunch is difficult AF. I’m strong enough for 20 reps but I can’t get the proper form. I don’t know which muscles to activate.

  • Do you have to rest before changing oblique side? Cant you just do one side and change to another? Asking if your obliques wont be balanced if you dont rest

  • 1/ 2:36 Spider Man Pushup to Side Plank
    2/ 3:07 Side jackknife
    3/ 4:21 Side plank dips
    4/ 5:23 Oblique Crunch

    5/ 6:15 Floor Wipers
    6/ 7:10 Rotating Mountain Climbers

  • 1:50 Switching Mountain Climbers (45 Sec.)

    2:53 30 Side Plank Reach Throughs (15 Each Side)

    4:15 30 Chair Sit Ups Arm Up Twist Obliques (15 Each Arm)

    5:15 30 Plank Knees to Elbows (15 Each Side)

    6:27 Seated In & Outs (45 Sec.)

    7:20 15 Hip Raises (Oblique Twist Alt.)

    8:11 30 Alternating Star Crunches (10 Each Side)

    9:04 Plank Side to Side (45 Sec.)

  • hi. my name is sourav.i am from Bangladesh. i think i over train my abs and now my core is very hard and its locked. what should i do now

  • Chris has the best follow-along ab workouts. I just finished this one for the first time, had to take my breaks, but I’m definitely sweating and feeling the soreness in my obliques. I also tried his other normal ab workout and definitely feel it. I like how it’s also prefect for beginners to work their way up. Thank you for the high quality workout vids!

  • Thank you so much!!! I appreciate how you Explain everything and in a way we can understand! I love this and I’m starting it right now! Thank you again��

  • Do I take few minutes like 20 min between each round or on the whole day like breakfast lunch and then dinner,?? Please answer me and can I get shredded through this work out

  • In the video you mentioned for maximum results we should perform this routine 3-4 rounds once a week. What if we perform 1 round of this routine every day?

  • I got 2 rounds done if I try 3 it won’t be good. Props to Chris for doing this shit everyday. I’ve been working out about 1 and a half weeks and I feel great but the workouts are not getting easier. It is time to implement a good diet into my plan. Abs are made in the kitchen as well as hard workouts like these. Visit the Thenx app for great workouts guys! Love you all I’ll keep you updated stay strong and keep fit!

  • What about doing any of your abs routines twice but everyday? instead of going one single routine four times three times a week? Would you say that will equally benefit results? I’ve always known you can train abs everyday.

  • Chris is so damn smart I click on an ab video thinking I’m gon learn about abs but I also learned every other damn muscle in my chest

  • Seated in and outs is hard for me my leg muscle r not that strong to lift it up up to 45 sec so i need to rest it up and start again

  • Been trying to get back in shape with gyms closed and been following these workouts since i done lie on any of those gym mats or floors. neen doing 4 rounds every other day but will start picking up my pace on other video workouts.

  • Yes, as indicated in the thumbnail, you will get a slight orange discoloration in your obliques as a result of this workout. Just a minor side-effect but all worth it for the almighty gains, right?! Hope you all enjoyed this one – and don’t forget to give me a follow on IG for more content: https://www.instagram.com/jeremyethier/?hl=en! Cheers!

  • I really struggle with oblique activation in woodchoppers. I can’t feel it at all. It seems like my lats, shoulders, arms and even legs all do more to rotate my body, no matter how much I try to keep them still.

  • Why It is obligatory to do this with your hands 7:20 when you have youtube training/gym videos? Everytime someone explains anything the do this with their hands. But almost only gym videos. I have been thinking about it a lot. nice video btw thanks!

  • So the reason why im here is that I have the v cut on the lower obliques on my left obliques but on my right obliques they aren’t the same size

  • Is it okay to do the cable woodchopper using elastic gym bands? I have no access to a cable machine and gym membership prices over here are through the roof

  • Wow! Thank you ever so much for getting straight to the point. So many YouTubers like the sound of their own voices. You’ve saved me so much time with just getting to it. I’ve now subscribed to your channel and lick on the bell for notifications. Can’t wait to see more of your videos. Most men be checking women’s glutes out and I’ll be watching their core and obliques.A woman’s code is so sexy. A true story.

  • On the bicycle crunch you say “draw in your abdomen by exhaling and bringing the bellybutton in towards the spine”. I manage to feel the contraction in the obliques. But as I breath during the movement I lose the contraction. The only way I come around this is by not breathing at all, but then I fail after 5 reps or so of course. How should I breath to maintain the contraction?

  • When can I put abs day? I tried to add it durint my leg day (I am doing push, pull, leg split) but my body couldn’t handle it as my legs were already shaking.

  • Thanks for all the info that’s backed by science and not just some “Miracle” pill �� or supplement. I’m glad it’s just good ole Hard work and you get what you put into it. Doing all 3 almost every day now. Just not overdoing every time but at least 3-5 days full speed. Keep up the great job and thanks again for everything!!

  • Lots of sex has helped me get a ripped core, real shit I barley do abs maybe 15 min a week total time. A goof lean diet and lots of sex..job done

  • Could someone recommend me female fit youtuber like him..so much quality content less talks..his contents are so effective and very informative. Thanks before.

  • Ok, thanks. I’ll stick to low to high wood chopper for my obliques, plus it’s gonna help me in tennis season to provide an powerful returns for more points. I like to do functional sport training, or the F.S.T. Now it’s just my legs, and shoulders for basketball.

  • what are your thoughts about cable machine chest/belly high performing a resistance twisting motioning compared to hi/low wood choppers to get the obliques?