You’ve probably seen it in bodybuilding competitions, whether its live or on a video- The competitors, when asked to do an “Abs and thighs” pose, also showcase the side of their abdominals, namely, the obliques. And it looks awesome.
In this featured article, we present you a core workout that is entirely focused on that exact muscle group.
Of course, in the beginning we have an exercise that warms up the abdominal area, but afterwards, the primarily engaged muscle groups are the obliques.
The workout is designed for intermediate and advanced athletes, but beginners can also make use of it by reducing either the sets or the repetitions, or both, to make it easier, as it is quite challenging.
Needless to say, that is the main priority of this core workout, so let’s get to it.
|45-degree side bend||2||15 per side|
|Barbell seated twist||2||12 per side|
|Russian twist||3||12 per side|
Now if you are not familiar with these movements, fear not! We have prepared an exercise map with visual showcase that highlights the engaging muscle groups with written execution steps, to assist you on your way.
- Lie down on the floor and pull your heels in closer to your hips with your feet close
- Place your hands behind your head and crunch up, without taking the lower back off of the ground
- Hold the contraction for a split second, then return to the initial position and repeat
45-Degree Side Bend
- Setup the hyperextension bench to a comfortable height and get on it with one side of the body, placing your feet under the pads and the side of your thigh on the leg pads
- Keep your hands behind your head, then bend down and stretch the outer oblique
- Bend back up and contract the outer oblique, holding the contraction briefly
- Complete the given number of repetitions on that side and proceed to the opposite side
Barbell Seated Twist
- Pick a light weight barbell and place it on your traps
- Sit down comfortably and keep your back straight
- Looking forward, slowly twist to the side and contract your obliques
- After holding the contraction for a split second, slowly twist to the opposite side in a controlled manner
- Lay down on the ground
- Pull your heels in closer to the hips and keep feet together
- Keep your hands in front of your body with palms facing it
- Crunch up and twist to the side, contracting the oblique
- Twist to the opposite side
As always, the mandatory warm-up mention! Get the blood going and prepare your musculature. Doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or a professional, the warm up always has benefits and is a good preventative measure.
So, do your light cardio and joint/muscle warm up, prior to starting this workout.
As mentioned in our “Abs vs Core -The Difference” article, the core is a group of muscles that stabilize the posture and serve as balancing muscle groups during most exercises.
That is to say that even if you don’t target it directly, it gets worked for the most part of your other workouts, indirectly.
So, we recommend beginners to do this workout once a week, while intermediates and advanced trainees, who are more advanced, can increase the frequency to twice a week.
Controlled Range of Motion
This tip is relevant for every other muscle group, but when it comes to abs it is one of the most important mentions.
Make sure to go through the full range of motion in a controlled manner, without bashing through the movement. That way, you will achieve better mind-muscle connection, better contraction and therefore, better overall development.
Control the movements with your breathing, inhaling on the negative part of each movement, where no contraction is applied and exhaling on the positive part, where you contract the working muscle group.
If you want overall better-looking obliques and mid-section, try doing this workout directly after your back training, finishing off the back with a nice dumbbell or barbell pullover.
The pullover is a notorious stretching exercise, that pretty much engages the whole upper body and develops the serratus- The paw-like muscles above the obliques.
Old-school legends like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu have used this exercise to achieve tremendous V-taper development.
Last but not least, make sure to compliment your hard work with a proper nutritional intake, which of course, should consist of a well-balanced ratio of protein, fats and carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates and fats will serve as energy and metabolism support respectively, while protein will grant you recovery. We recommend you to make up the majority of your protein intake out of animal products like chicken, beef, turkey, fish, eggs and some dairy products.
Carbohydrates should mainly come from grains to fuel your workouts, and simple sugars like fruits and chocolate in moderate amounts after workouts. Most of the fats you need will be contained in the meat, however, you can still add some healthy fats to your diet, for example, by adding olive oil and nuts to your salads.
If you want to learn more about nutrition, make sure to check out our “Nutrition” category.
To wrap up, we can say that having a well-developed obliques and serratus department is a crucial part of having an overall well-looking core.
After all, if you have just a six pack and the surrounding muscle groups are non-existent, it will look silly.
If, however, you still feel like you are not ready to do this exercise, check our “Ab Workouts” and “Core Workouts”, to get some start-up adaptation going and progress up to the harder workouts.