One of the biggest mistakes people make with their core workout or six pack abs workout is overlooking the obliques and failing to realize their importance towards contributing to a well-developed midsection. Based on the orientation of the obliques and the way their fibers run, they can help visually taper and narrow your waistline. It would, therefore, be in your best interest to start incorporating oblique exercises into your training plan. In this video, I cover the best obliques abs exercises, such as oblique crunches and oblique twists, you need to incorporate into your obliques workout.
The obliques actually have 2 lesser-known functions that most people overlook: it assists in the posterior pelvic tilt and tucking the ribs down and in, and it also assists in drawing in your abdomen by bringing the belly button in towards the spine. Research, therefore, shows that by implementing these two additional functions of the obliques during your obliques workout, you’re able to achieve even greater activation.
One of the best obliques ab exercises is the high to low cable woodchoppers. It's a great option as it enables us to apply weighted resistance directly in line with the diagonal way the oblique fibers run. The key here is to focus on the rotational aspect of the movement. You should minimize the use of your arms muscles by keeping your elbow position locked, rather than bending and extending them or swinging the weight down with your arms. When done properly, you should feel a strong contraction corresponding to the side of the obliques that you’re pulling towards. And for this exercise, you’ll want to implement a lower rep range of roughly 10-15 reps.
Next, we’ll follow this up with the bicycle crunch. This exercise has actually been shown in some EMG analyses to elicit quite high obliques activation compared to other oblique exercises. But in order to maximize the effectiveness of this exercise for the obliques, we need to ensure that we’re implementing all of the obliques functions as we perform it. And in terms of exercise execution, don’t do what most people guys and just try to touch your elbow to your knee which just ends up in form compensations. Instead, remember what the obliques function to do and put your focus on simply crunching to the one side while rotating your torso. Ignore where your elbows and knees end up and instead just go as far as you’re capable of to each side while still actually feeling the obliques working during each rep. And for this exercise you should definitely use a much higher rep range of over 15 reps per side.
Next we’re going to move onto twisting leg raises – one of the best oblique twists exercise variation. Now the traditional leg raise itself with no twist has actually been shown in a few EMG analyses to already provide superior obliques activation when compared to other common core exercises. To make the movement more of an oblique exercise, we can simply incorporate a twist into each rep as you come up since this will now incorporate lateral flexion and rotation of the torso into the movement. But again, just as we did with the last exercise, it’s vital that you don’t forget to incorporate the two additional functions of the obliques by moving into posterior pelvic tilt and drawing in the abdomen before you start your reps. And due to the difficulty of this exercise, a rep range of anywhere between 10-20 reps is ideal. But again, the focus needs to be on controlling and actively using your obliques every single rep.
As for frequency and number of sets recommendations for these movements in an oblique workout, I’d recommend throwing 3-4 sets of each of these into your current ab training. And as for your abs training, you should be doing them once to even 4 times a week, depending on how much volume you’re doing during each session. In any case, though, try out these movements and figure out which works best for you.
But keep in mind that picking the right core exercises to do in your oblique workout is just one part of the equation. Dialing in your nutrition and eating the right amount and types of foods are really the key to leaning down and defining that mid-section. For a step-by-step program that shows you exactly how to train and how to set up your nutrition to transform your body with science, take the quiz below to discover what program is best for you: https://builtwithscience.com
Filmed by: Bruno Martin Del Campo
Filmed at: Club One Fitness Gym
GREATER ACTIVATION OF THE OBLIQUES THROUGH POSTERIOR PELVIC TILThttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5342962/
GREATER ACTIVATION OF THE OBLIQUES THROUGH ABDOMINAL DRAWING INhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3836508/
BICYCLE CRUNCH OBLIQUES ACTIVATIONhttps://www.acefitness.org/getfit/studies/bestworstabexercises.pdf
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