Ah, “better abs.” The phrase is splashed across women’s magazine headlines, scattered across the internet, and on the lips of just about anyone looking to get in shape and tone up. But what exactly does getting better abs entail? First off, a tight mid-section isn’t just about vanity, but strength. Having core strength is crucial for most forms of exercise and it protects you from back pain and injury. But contrary to popular belief, strengthening and toning your tummy isn’t about just one muscle. It’s a multifaceted process, and one part of that process is working the obliques!
We’ve done a pretty good job over the years working on flexion exercises for the rectus abdominus like crunches and various forms of sit-ups. And lately more information about working the transverse abdominus has come out thanks to smart trainers and disciplines like pilates. But the puzzle isn’t quite complete if you stop there. Oblique muscles are crucial to complete the picture. Your obliques help you:
- Bend from side to side
- Rotate left and right, and
- Stabilize and protect your spine.
Here are nine of our best oblique moves that will get you to bend, rotate, and stabilize. We’ve divided them into different sections according to what they help your body accomplish. For each exercise, try between 10-12 repetitions, or 6-8 per side if you have both sides to work. Click on each exercise for a full description of how to perform it.