For a truly strong core, you need to tone so much more than just your six-pack abs muscles—known as your rectus abdominus. While these give the front of your body definition, working your glutes, back, and chest too in order to maintain a strong center and avoid injury. One of those crucial areas is none other than your obliques, those muscles on the sides of your torso.
They're essential for virtually every daily activity, like walking, reaching for your phone in the morning, or even picking up grocery bags because your obliques assist with stabilizing your body, coordinating breathing, and supporting your lower back. Plus, strengthening them will help you lift heavier loads—hello, fitness progress.
While you're unlikely to see major changes from training your obliques alone, they help contribute to a tight and strong-looking midsection. In fact, I recommend including one to two oblique exercises in your warm-up every time you exercise. If you're ready to start seeing the impact, try a few of the best obliques exercises below. Each one is fit for beginner or advanced exercisers, but no matter which level you fall into, focus on getting your form perfect over cranking out reps.
Most of these moves only require your bodyweight, while others use a medicine ball, dumbbell, or kettlebell for a little extra challenge. You can swap in full water bottles or canned goods for the free weights, fyi, if you want to do an obliques workout at home—no stress! Other ways to work these moves into your training is by adding one or two of them to the beginning of your a core routine or creating a more focused oblique workout using my instructions below. .
Time: 15 minutes
Equipment: Medicine ball, dumbbell, kettlebell (all optional)
Good for: Obliques
Instructions: Choose three to four exercises to create a circuit. Start with one exercise and do as many reps as you can in 45 to 60 seconds then continue to the next move without breaking. Go through that full cycle three times, resting for 60 seconds between sets. Add this to your training plan two to three times per week.