12 Best Dumbbell Oblique Exercises for a Stronger Core

Do you want to tone up and strengthen your core muscles, especially the obliques? Look no further! In this article, we will explore a variety of effective dumbbell exercises specifically designed to target and engage the oblique muscles.

The dumbbell is a versatile and accessible tool that allows for increased range of motion and muscle activation, making them ideal for oblique-focused exercises.

In this blog, we will provide you with comprehensive information on the following topics.

  • Oblique Muscles
  • Best dumbbell oblique exercises
  • Step-by-step instructions and proper form
  • How to design your oblique workout routine
  • Sample workout plan.

Know About Oblique Muscles

The oblique muscles are a group of abdominal muscles located on the sides of the torso. They consist of the external obliques and the internal obliques, which run diagonally across the abdomen.

External Obliques

The external oblique is the outer visible layer that passes run diagonally on each side of the rectus abdominis.

They can be found between the lower rib region and the pelvis. These muscles help in side-to-side bending, flexion of the spinal column, torso rotation, and compression of the abdomen.

Your external obliques work cooperatively with your internal obliques, so if your internal obliques are stabilizing and bracing your core before you swing a baseball bat.

Rectus Abdominis and Obliques

Internal Obliques

The internal oblique muscles lie under the external obliques and run into the lower back or erector spinae.

The fibers of the two muscles pass at right angles to one another; therefore, they are often referred to as opposite-side rotators.

In addition to rotating your torso, the internal obliques help to stabilize your body, keeping you balanced while you walk, run, throw a ball, or pick something up off the floor.

Benefits of Dumbbell Oblique Exercises

Here are some of the reasons why you should do dumbbell oblique exercises in your training:

1. Strengthen Your Core

Dumbbell oblique exercises work your entire core, including your rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques.

Strengthening all of these muscles, you can improve your overall core strength and stability, which can enhance your athletic performance.

2. Functional Strength

Many oblique exercises look like real-life movements, like twisting, turning, and bending sideways.

Training your obliques with dumbbells, you will improve their ability to generate power and stability during everyday activities and sports that involve rotational motions.

3. Improve Your Balance and Coordination

Dumbbell exercises allow you to work each side of the body individually, so you can build muscles on both sides of the body.

It will improve your proprioception, which is your bodies ability to sense where you are in space.

4. Enhance Your Posture

Having strong obliques can help you keep your back straight, which is important for reducing the chances of getting back pain.

5. Versatility and Accessibility

Dumbbells are readily available in most fitness settings, from gyms to home workout spaces.

They come in various weights, which makes it easy to choose the appropriate resistance for your fitness level.


Dumbbell Oblique Exercises for Leaner, and More Abs

1. Dumbbell Side Bend

The dumbbell side bend is effective at targeting the internal and external obliques, strengthening the lateral flexion of your spine, improving spinal mobility, and helping to develop a strong and stable core.

It is an easy core exercise to practice at home. If you’re new to the exercise, practice the movement with your bodyweight alone.

For a more challenging oblique exercise variation, use a kettlebell or a pulley machine for the cable side bend variation.

Dumbbell Side Bend

How To Do Dumbbell Side Bend

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold a dumbbell with a neutral grip in your right hand with your arm hanging at your side.
  3. You can place your free hand behind your head.
  4. Bend sideways at the waist to the left as low as possible, using your oblique muscles to pull your torso down.
  5. Hold for a second and return to the starting position.
  6. Complete the desired number of reps and repeat on the other side.


  • Keep the dumbbell close to your side, your elbow very slightly bent, and your hips still.
  • To work the oblique muscle, perform these exercises slow and steadily.
  • Avoid using a heavy dumbbell for this exercise. Large, overdeveloped oblique muscles will make your waist appear bulky.

2. Dumbbell Russian Twist

The Dumbbell Russian twist engages your core and strengthens your abs and oblique muscles, as well as your lower back.

This exercise helps to tone and trim your waist. It also helps to improve your balance, stability, and posture.

A more advanced way of performing the Russian twist is to raise your feet a little off the floor.

The elevated position of the feet puts a lot of strain on both the upper abs and lower abs, which are usually hard to work.

Dumbbell Russian Twist

How To Do Dumbbell Russian Twist

  1. Sit on the floor or a mat with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in your hands in front.
  3. Lean back slightly while maintaining an upright posture and engage your core.
  4. Lift your feet a few inches off the ground to increase the challenge (optional).
  5. Twist your torso to the right, bringing the dumbbell outside your right hip.
  6. Pause briefly, then twist to the left, bringing the dumbbell outside your left hip.
  7. Continue alternating sides in a controlled manner for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Keep your back straight at all times and twist your torso only from the ribs up.
  • Don’t move your head side to side.
  • Use a slow, controlled motion to target the muscles. 
  • Exhale as you twist, and inhale as you return to the starting position.
Know More: Best Abs Exercises: Upper Abs, Lower Abs, Obliques

3. Dumbbell Wood Chop

The Dumbbell wood chop is also known as the dumbbell up-down twist, you must add these oblique exercises to your dumbbell abs workout arsenal.

This is great for strengthening the twisting movement pattern of your torso, as well as improving your torso’s ability to resist twisting forces.

The dumbbell woodchop is a compound pulling motion and a functional exercise. While it primarily targets the abdominals and obliques, it also employs the shouldersback, and glutes.

Dumbbell Wood Chop

How To Do Woodchoppers With Dumbbell

  1. Hold the dumbbell with both hands, with either your fingers interlaced or with one hand over the other. Stand shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keep your arms straight and rotate the dumbbell in a diagonal downward motion until your torso turns to the other side and your hands are at knee height.
  3. Hold for a count of two. Then slowly reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions. Repeat the exercise on your opposite side.
  5. Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps a side.


  • Don’t lock the knees and hips. Allow the hips and knees to rotate slightly.
  • Keep your arms straight, shoulders locked in place.
  • Control the weight the whole time while doing this dumbbell Abs Workout.

4. Side Plank Lateral Raise

The Side Plank Lateral Raise is a challenging exercise that combines the benefits of side planks and lateral raises to target the obliques, shoulder muscles, and core stability.

For this movement, you may not be able to use much weight without disrupting your balance, but even at lightweight, it is a movement that can help address multiple muscle groups in a time-efficient workout.

Side plank lateral raise

How To Do Side Plank Lateral Raise

  1. Get in a side plank position by lying on your left side on the floor.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in your top hand, with your arm resting along the side of your body.
  3. Slowly raise the weight, making sure not to extend beyond your shoulder.
  4. Slowly lower your arm back down. Complete the desired number of repeats.
  5. Pause briefly at the top, then lower the weight back down in a controlled manner.
  6. Complete the desired number of repetitions, then switch sides and repeat.


  • Your body should form a straight line from head to toe.
  • Avoid using momentum or swinging the weight.
Know More: Side Plank: Benefits, Variations, Muscles Used, Tips

5. Dumbbell Lunge With Twist

The dumbbell lunge with twist is a compound exercise that combines lunges with a twisting motion, targeting the leg muscles, core, and obliques

However, this exercise requires good balance, so if you have issues keeping your balance, start off by doing the lunges twist exercise without weights until you learn the proper form.

Dumbbell Lunges With Twist

How To Do Dumbbell Lunges With Twist

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold one dumbbell at your chest with both hands, gripping it on each end.
  2. Your chest should be straight and your body should be positioned slightly forward, with your back being straight and not arcing or curving forward.
  3. Take a step forward, bending your knees, to create two 90-degree angles with your legs.
  4. Slowly rotate your torso to the right. You should feel a nice stretch in your midback.
  5. Push yourself back to the starting position and repeat with the other foot.
  6. Keep alternating the leg with which you lunge twist


  • Bend as far and low as possible without losing form.
  • Keep your torso upright and your head facing forward.
  • Take a step that allows for a comfortable lunge position.
  • If you suffer from balance problems, it is best either avoid it, or just use your own bodyweight while holding on to a steady object.

6. Dumbbell T Push-Ups

T push-Ups is an upper body exercise and the advanced progression of the standard push-up that targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

The rotational component engages the core muscles, including the obliques, to stabilize and support the movement.

Check out how to do them correctly and work your muscles at home or at the gym.

Dumbbell T Push-Ups

How To Do Dumbbell T Push-Ups

  1. Start in a high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart on the dumbbells, wrists aligned with your shoulders.
  2. Your body is in a straight line from head to heels.
  3. Lower your body into a push-up by bending your elbows, keeping them close to your sides.
  4. As you push yourself back up, lift one arm from the floor and raise towards the ceiling whilst twisting your torso to the side.
  5. Roll onto the sides of your feet and keep your body straight at all times.
  6. Extend your left arm fully, creating a T shape with your body.
  7. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side
  8. Continue alternating sides for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Keep the core tight and back flat throughout the movement.
  • Do not over-rotate during the reach towards the ceiling.
  • Do not let the elbows flare out. Keep the elbows close to your sides throughout.

7. Dumbbell Windmills

Dumbbell Windmills are a compound exercise that involves holding a dumbbell overhead while performing a side bend and rotation. The movement resembles the motion of a windmill, hence the name.

This exercise engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously, including the obliques, shoulders, hips, and core.

Dumbbell Windmills

How To Do Dumbbell Windmills

  1. Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand with your arm fully extended overhead.
  3. Rotate your feet slightly to the left, so they are pointing at a 45-degree angle.
  4. For balance, you should bend your torso to the left side while keeping your right arm overhead.
  5. Aim to touch the inside of your left foot with your left hand.
  6. Pause for a moment in this position, and then return to the starting position.
  7. Do as many repetitions as you like on one side, then switch to the other side.


  • Start with a light dumbbell or no weight at all.
  • Keep your shoulder stable and avoid any excessive shrugging.
Know More: Best Abs Workout That You Can Do At Gym

8. Dumbbell Side Plank Reach Through

It is a challenging exercise that combines the benefits of side planks and reach-through movements. It engages the oblique muscles, challenges core stability, and works the shoulders and hips.

The exercise also involves hip abduction and rotation, which promotes mobility and flexibility.

Dumbbell Side Plank Reach Through

How To Do Dumbbell Side Plank Reach Through

  1. Lie on your side with your legs spread out and stacked together.
  2. Place your forearm on the ground directly under your shoulder.
  3. Lift your hips off the ground and make a straight line from your head to your feet.
  4. Hold a dumbbell in your top hand and extend your arm vertically toward the ceiling.
  5. While maintaining the side plank position, reach the dumbbell under your body and through the space between your body and the ground.
  6. Extend your arm as far as comfortable, then bring the dumbbell back up toward the ceiling.
  7. Repeat the reach-through motion for the desired number of repetitions, then switch sides and repeat.


  • Engage your core muscles to stabilize your spine and prevent your hips from sagging or rotating.
  • Try to avoid swinging the dumbbell or using momentum when you work out.

9. Dumbbell Side Plank Hip Lifts

Dumbbell side plank hip lifts are a variation of the traditional side plank exercise that adds an extra challenge by incorporating hip lifts with dumbbells.

Lifting your legs also involves working out the hip abductor muscles, including the gluteus medius and minimus, which are crucial for leg stability.

Side Plank Dumbbell Hip Lift

How To Do Dumbbell Side Plank Reach Through

  1. Lie on your side with your legs extended and stacked on top of each other.
  2. Place your forearm on the ground directly under your shoulder and your elbow in line with your shoulder.
  3. Hold a dumbbell in your top hand and position it against your thigh.
  4. Maintaining a stable core and engaged glutes, slowly lower your left hip, lightly tapping it on the floor.
  5. Return to the side plank position by raising your left hip back to the starting position.
  6. You should repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.
  7. Then switch sides and repeat the same number of repetitions on the other side.


  • Control the movement and avoid using momentum to lift your hips.
  • Ensure that your core remains engaged throughout the motion.

10. Standing Dumbbell Oblique twist

Standing dumbbell oblique twist is an exercise that involves standing upright while holding a dumbbell in front of your chest.

The exercise primarily targets the oblique muscles, which are responsible for torso rotation and lateral flexion.

It looks simple, but it’s a real challenge. If you are a beginner, keep a dumbbell close to the body. You can increase the difficulty by straightening your arms.

Standing Dumbbell Oblique twist

How To Do Standing Dumbbell Oblique twist

  1. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold a dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest.
  3. Engage your core muscles to maintain stability throughout the exercise.
  4. Twist your torso to the right side as far as comfortable, while maintaining control and balance.
  5. Pause briefly at the end of the twist to feel the contraction in your oblique muscles.
  6. Slowly return to the starting position, and then repeat the twist on the opposite side.
  7. Continue alternating twists from side to side for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Keep your movements smooth and controlled.
  • Keep your posture straight throughout the exercise and don’t lean forward or backward.

11. Dumbbell Overhead Standing Bend

Adding dumbbell overhead standing bend to your workout regimen can help build up and tone your oblique muscles, enhance your core strength, and promote a well-rounded physique.

Dumbbell Overhead Standing Bend

How To Do Dumbbell Overhead Standing Bend

  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding a dumbbell overhead.
  2. Slowly bend your torso to the right side.
  3. Pause briefly at the bottom of the movement, feeling a stretch on the left side of your torso.
  4. Engage your obliques and use your core muscles to lift your torso back up to the starting position.
  5. Repeat the movement on the opposite side by bending to the left.


  • Please avoid bending too far or leaning forward too much.

12. Dumbbell Farmers Walk

Finally, if you’re looking for one more effective oblique exercise, try the dumbbell farmer’s walk. It is a great exercise for improving your grip strength and building your abdominal and oblique muscles.

It also improves your overall strength and functional fitness by strengthening your core, back, glutes, legs, and gait.

The farmer’s walk exercise also called the farmer’s carry, is a strength and conditioning exercise in which you hold a heavy load in each hand while walking for a designated distance.

Dumbbell Farmers Walk

How To Do Dumbbell Farmers Walk

  1. Deadlift a pair of dumbbells from the floor.
  2. Reach down, bending at the hips and knees, and grasp the dumbbells in each hand.
  3. Hold the dumbbells at your side with a firm grip.
  4. Stand tall, keeping your shoulders, back, and core tight.
  5. Take small steps and walk forward at an even pace with your eyes focused straight ahead of you.
  6. Complete the desired number of steps, come to a stop, and place the dumbbells down while keeping a tight core and neutral spine.


  • Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades and tightening your abs.
  • Keep a neutral or straight spine throughout the movement to avoid injury.
Read More: 18 Abs Exercises You Can Do At Home Without Equipment

5 Best Ways To Shredded Oblique

To achieve a defined and sculpted oblique, you must focus on exercise, diet and overall fat loss.

The following is a point-by-point guide to achieving a toned oblique:

1. Oblique Exercises

Make sure to include exercises that specifically target the oblique or side abs into your workout routine.

2. Overall Body Fat Loss

Even though targeted exercises can help build and tone muscles, they won’t be visible if they’re covered by body fat.

To show off your lower abs, you need to lose body fat through diet and cardio exercises.

3. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

To maximize calorie burn and promote fat loss, incorporate high intensity interval training into your routine.

These workouts involve short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief recovery periods. Examples include sprinting, jumping jacks, burpees, or cycling.

4. Strength Training

Strength training exercises should be included in your routine to build lean muscle mass. As muscle builds up, your body will burn more calories when you are at rest.

Use exercises that work multiple muscle groups, like squats, lunges, deadlifts, and chest presses.

These intense workouts demand more energy and can increase your metabolic rate both during the workout and afterward as your body recovers.

5. Proper Nutrition

Follow a balanced diet that is rich in whole, unprocessed foods. Focus on lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Adequate protein intake supports muscle growth and recovery, while nutrient-dense foods provide essential vitamins and minerals.

How to Design Your Oblique Workout Routine

Designing a good oblique workout routine involves choosing the right exercises, figuring out how many sets and reps you should do, and thinking about things like frequency and progression.

Below are some steps to assist you in designing your oblique workout routine.

1. Exercise Selection

Choose a variety of oblique exercises that target the muscles from different angles. This can include exercises like dumbbell side bends, Russian twists and plank with hip dips.

Combine weighted exercises with bodyweight exercises for a well-rounded oblique workout.

2. Sets and Repetitions

  • Aim for 2-4 sets of each exercise to build strength and muscle.
  • Perform 8-15 repetitions per set, focusing on maintaining proper form and control throughout.
  • To challenge yourself, adjust the weight or resistance level while maintaining good technique.

3. Frequency

Aim to work your obliques 2-3 times per week, allowing for at least one day of rest between sessions.

This frequency allows for adequate recovery while still providing stimulus for muscle growth.

4. Progressive Overload

Over time, increase the intensity of your oblique workouts to keep progress going.

As you get stronger, increase the weight/resistance, add extra repetitions, or advance to more challenging variations of the exercises.

4. Core Integration

Remember that the obliques are part of your overall core musculature, so it’s important to do exercises that work the entire core, including the rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis.

Boost your workouts with exercises like planks, backward crunches, and stability ball rolls to work out your whole body and keep you balanced.

5. Proper Form and Technique

It is important to maintain proper form and technique in each exercise to maximize effectiveness and minimize the risk of injury.

Try to maintain a neutral spine, engage the core muscles, and avoid twisting or jerking motions.

Sample Dumbbell Oblique Workout Routine

A sample dumbbell oblique workout routine that you can use to strengthen your core is here.

ExerciseSetsRepsRest Between Sets
Dumbbell Side Bends312-15 each side60 seconds
Russian Twists310-12 each side60 seconds
Dumbbell Woodchoppers310-12 each side60 seconds
Plank with Hip Dips310-12 each side60 seconds


Dumbbell oblique exercises are a good way to strengthen your midsection, shape your obliques, and improve your core strength and stability.

It is recommended that you incorporate oblique dumbbell exercises into your overall weighted abs workout routine in order to achieve optimal results. Aim to perform them 2 to 3 times a week.

15 Best Weighted Oblique Exercises For A Strong Core

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