Exercises That Help Tone Your Oblique Muscles

Whether it’s toning your waistline to fit into your favorite outfit for an upcoming event or trying to get into the best shape of your life, most people strive for a toned and sculptured stomach. The muscles that help create this ideal physique are your obliques.

Your obliques are the muscles that run along the side of the mid-section and are part of the abdominal family. If you’re looking to lose the love handles and tone your mid-section, then give these oblique exercises a try!

Body Fat Myth

Before we get into the oblique exercises, let’s squash the popular myth that you can choose the areas on your body where you would like to lose body fat. In order to flatten your stomach and have sculpted abdominals, you must also lose body fat.

I suggest you visit a health professional such as a dietician that can help you with a healthy meal plan in combination with trying these exercises below. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to my top 10 exercises to help tone your oblique muscles.

Lying Oblique Crunches

This exercise is great for everyone because it doesn’t require much technique. Simply lie on the floor, engage your abdominals while lifting your chest off the ground, and bend side to side to feel the burn in your oblique muscles.

Make sure you are engaging your core to sustain your chest being elevated off the ground instead of squeezing your neck muscles.


Standing Oblique Crunches

Grab either a dumbbell or kettlebell, stand up straight, and slowly lower down to one side of your body. Maintain good control and activation of your abdominals throughout the entire movement.

Make sure you do not lean forward while you are bending down to the side. Go slowly and choose a weight that you can control.

Pallof Press

The pallof press has to be one of my favorite exercises due to its ability to engage every single abdominal muscle.

Begin by using either a cable machine or exercise band. Grab the handle, bend from the hips and press the band or cable out in front of you and then slowly return back to your chest.

Side Plank Hold

Most people love doing planks on their elbows to smash their core during a workout. However, by simply moving into a side plank position you can target your obliques.

Perform a side plank on either side of your body and aim for a 30-second to 1-minute hold.

Side Plank Dips

This exercise is sure to leave your obliques feeling worked. Instead of holding a side plank, you will come into the side plank position and then slowly lower your hips to the ground and then rise back up.

Go nice and slow to feel the burn in your obliques. Your abdominals will be toned in no time!

Weighted Crunches

One of my favorite ways to add strength and definition to the obliques is by adding weight to popular ab exercises. Here we have the weighted crunch and yes you guessed it, it’s quite a bit more challenging than your typical crunch.

Begin by holding a weight plate or dumbbell either behind your head or across your chest and complete crunches. Make sure to grab an appropriate weight, aiming for no greater than 10 pounds.

Bicycle Crunches

Everyone knows the bicycle crunch. This exercise is the staple amongst almost every HIIT circuit on the internet. What most people don’t know is that this exercise is fantastic for strengthening and toning your obliques.

When you’re performing a bicycle crunch and you’re bringing your elbow to meet your opposite knee, make sure to really squeeze your abs to get the most out of this exercise.

Mountain Climbers

This oblique exercise is sure to make you break a sweat. When you’re performing mountain climbers, make sure to go at a faster than average pace and really squeeze your abdominals throughout the entire movement. You will feel the burn with this exercise!

Windshield Wipers

You’ve probably seen people in the gym doing these and wondered if there was really any benefit to this exercise. The answer is, yes!

The windshield wiper will blast your obliques as you slowly support and lower your legs from side to side. Start with a small number of reps as this exercise will have your obliques screaming (in a good way!) in no time.

Oblique Twists

Also known as “Russian Twists”, this exercise is a great way to add a rotational component to your core routine. Pick a dumbbell around 5 to 10-pounds and twist it from side to side.

You can make this exercise harder by lifting your feet off the ground. Make sure to maintain good control and engage your core throughout the entire movement.

Eric Leckie, PT

Eric Leckie, PT

Eric Leckie is a men's health Physiotherapist specializing in prostate cancer treatment. He completed his studies in Australia earning his Doctor of Physiotherapy from the University of Melbourne. He currently works in a private practice, in addition to owning his own Telehealth Physiotherapy clinic which focuses on treating men with prostate cancer.

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