The obliques are large, flat muscles located on both sides of your abdomen. They assist in turning, rotating and bending your torso. Exercising your obliques at home with minimal equipment will help you meet your fitness goals. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends two weekly strength-training sessions to achieve muscular gains. Incorporating exercises for your obliques will help tighten and tone your midsection.
Oblique Ball Crunch
The oblique ball crunch strengthens and tones your obliques while challenging your buttocks, lower back and hips. Sit on an exercise ball, walk your feet forward and lower your back onto the ball. Position your feet under your knees and lift your hips parallel to the ground. Place your right hand behind your head and extend your left arm across your body, pointing toward your right knee. Crunch your left shoulder 45 degrees toward your right, reaching your left hand toward the outside of your right knee. Lower and complete 15 repetitions before switching sides.
Stability Ball Knee Tucks
Stability ball knee tucks strengthen your obliques, quadriceps, transverse abdominus and rectus abdominus. Kneel behind a stability ball, roll onto it and place your hands on the ground in front of it. Walk your hands forward, stopping when only your shins remain on the ball. Position your hands under your shoulders, tighten your abdominal muscles and form a straight line with your body. Slowly pull your knees toward your chest, rolling the ball with your lower legs. Pause and extend your legs behind you. Complete 15 repetitions.
The standing lift exercise challenges your obliques, rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus and arms. Hold a medicine ball in front of your body with both hands. Stand up straight, feet hip-width apart and bend your knees slightly. Square your hips and shoulders forward. Step your left foot forward 12 inches and place the ball on the outside of your right hip. Slowly lift the ball up and across your body, stopping when your arms are extended and the ball is behind your left shoulder. Do not rotate your hips or shoulders during the movement. Pause, lower and complete 15 repetitions. Switch legs and arms and do the same on your opposite side.
Oblique bends tighten and tone the sides of your abs. Stand up straight, hold a dumbbell in your right hand and position the weight next to your right hip. Pull your shoulder blades down and together and square your shoulders and hips forward. Lower the weight toward your knee, bending your torso toward your right side to accommodate the movement. Stop when you feel a stretch in the left side of your abs or when you can’t lower anymore. Keep your left shoulder back while lowering the weight to ensure that you focus on your obliques. Complete 15 repetitions, then switch sides.
- American Council on Exercise: Stability Ball Knee Tucks
- American Council on Exercise: Standing Lift
- "Fitness" magazine; The Love Your Shape Workout; May 2008
- "ACE Personal Trainer Manual"; American Council on Exercise; 2003