Oblique Crunches: How To Do, Muscles Worked and Variations

If you’re looking for a new, challenging exercise to add to your routine, you should try oblique crunches. This exercise works the muscles on the sides of your abs which can help give you a slimmer waistline.

The side crunch is a core exercise that strengthens the obliques, but also the other muscles in your core.  Engaging the muscles that help to support and stabilize the spine, oblique crunches can ease back pain and safeguard against harm.

Moreover, strong oblique muscles can improve posture and balance and enhance athletic performance by allowing the trunk to rotate more easily. As a result, oblique crunches are an important exercise for people of all ages and fitness levels.

However, there’s a variety of crunches for your obliques. So, I’ll show you the best ways to do oblique crunches for a shredded midsection.

In this article, you will learn:

  • Know About Oblique Muscles
  • What are oblique crunches?
  • How To Train Oblique With Crunches
  • Benefits Of Doing Obliques Crunches
  • How to do oblique crunches
  • Oblique crunch variations

Know About Oblique Muscles

There are two different types of obliques — internal and external — and both are part of our core musculature.

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.

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.

Rectus Abdominis and Obliques

What Is Oblique Crunches

Oblique crunches are similar to regular crunches, except that they include a subtle rotation as you perform the movement. The oblique muscles will be activated by this motion.

Obliques crunches are also known as side crunches exercises are a great way to tone your obliques and help you maintain a fit body. They are a great abdominal exercise which can be done in many different ways.

They are a great way to add some intensity to your oblique and abs routine, and they can also help to decrease your waistline.

You can do oblique crunches with your feet flat on the ground, or you can put your feet up on a stability ball. You can also do them with a weight in your hands to make them even more challenging.

No matter how you do them, make sure to keep your back straight and your abdominal muscles pulled in.

If you want to sculpt your six-pack into better shape, you need to master the oblique crunch and then progress into a better set of oblique movements.

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How To Train Oblique With Crunches

The oblique crunches are perhaps the most user-friendly workout that you could use at home or in the gym to train your oblique and core muscles.

You can do them with your back on the ground, or you can lift your torso and arms straight up into the air. There are so many ways to do oblique crunches, and there is no wrong way to do them.

You just need to find a variation that is challenging for you.

Try a few different variations to find the one that works best for you. You can also mix up your routine by doing oblique crunches on one day and then doing a different exercise the next day.

The abs and obliques, in particular, benefit from its use because it’s a great way to gradually increase strength and add variety to your oblique training.

How To Do Floor Oblique Crunch

The oblique crunch also known as lying side crunch is one of the best bodyweight exercises that target your core muscles—specifically the obliques on the sides of your abdomen.

Many abs exercises focus solely on the abs also known as the six-pack. While important, it is also wise to focus on strengthening the rest of the core muscles so that your strength is balanced.

  1. Lie on the floor on your right side with your hips and knees bent.
  2. Put your left hand behind your head and your right hand across your body on your obliques.
  3. Placing your hand on your obliques can help you feel the muscles contract and improve the mind-muscle connection.
  4. Contract your obliques to lift your shoulder off the floor.
  5. Hold this position for a second, contracting your obliques as hard as possible.
  6. Then return to the start position.
  7. Do all the reps on the left side, and then do the same number of reps on the right side.
Floor Oblique Crunch

Tips and Form

  • Avoid pulling on your neck with your hand. Instead, let the oblique muscles do the work.
  • Aim to get a good contraction at the top of the crunch, and fully relax the muscles at the bottom.
  • Ensure you’re working both sides evenly. After completing a set on one side, switch your hand position and work the other oblique.
  • Exhale as you crunch upwards and inhale as you return to the starting position.
  • You don’t need to lift too high. It’s about the contraction of the oblique muscles, not how high you can lift your shoulders.
  • It’s better to perform fewer reps with correct form than many reps with poor technique.
  • To work the oblique muscle, you should perform this exercise slowly and steadily.
  • You can make this oblique crunch more difficult by holding a weight plate on your chest.
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Muscles Worked During Oblique Crunch

The oblique crunch is an exercise that specifically targets the obliques, but several other muscles are also engaged during the movement.

Primary Muscles Worked

  • External Obliques: These are located on the side and the front of the abdomen.
  • Internal Obliques: Located just beneath the external obliques and running in the opposite direction.

Secondary Muscles Worked

  • Rectus Abdominis: Often referred to as the “six-pack” muscle, it’s responsible for spinal flexion or bending forward.
  • Transverse Abdominis: This is the deepest layer of the abdominal muscles and acts as a stabilizing force for the entire lower back and core area.
  • Hip Flexors (like the Iliopsoas): Especially if the legs are lifted or if there’s any movement at the hip joint, the hip flexors can get engaged.

Stabilizing Muscles

  • Erector Spinae: This is a group of three muscles that run along your neck to your lower back.
  • Adductors (inner thigh muscles): Depending on the variation of the oblique crunch, the adductors may provide some stabilization.
Muscles Worked During Oblique Crunch

Benefits Of Doing Obliques Crunches

Oblique crunches emphasize the sides of your abdominal to help you build lean, strong muscles. When done correctly, this type of exercise can be an effective way to tighten your side abs.

  • The Oblique crunch strengthens your lower back, strengthen your core, tones your abs, and enhances your balance and flexibility.
  • An oblique workout will help you get rid of that stubborn fat around your midsection by strengthening these muscles.
  • Oblique crunches help build obliques and abdominal muscles for strength and stability. It is an excellent way to improve balance.
  • Working out the side muscles helps balance out strength in your body, improves posture and reduces stress on your spine.
  • The Crunch is meant to build your core and help you burn calories while doing exercises.
  • Crunch for Oblique can be done in many ways, and they offer many benefits.
  • Aside from their physical benefits, oblique crunch can also have a positive impact on your mental health. Exercise has been shown to improve your mood and reduce stress, and oblique crunches are no exception.
  • The core is a group of muscles that work together to keep you balanced, stable, and strong. To effectively train the core, you need to challenge it from different angles and from different positions.

Working your obliques can be challenging, especially if you do not know which exercises will target them best. Luckily, this article has all the best oblique crunches ideas so that you can begin targeting those hard-to-reach sides today.

9 Best Variations Of Oblique Crunch For Six Pack Abs

The oblique crunch can be done in different ways to suit your fitness level.

If you are new to performing an Oblique crunch, you may want to apply a few modifications to make the exercise easier. One way to counteract this issue is to perform standing oblique crunches.

If you are looking for a more advanced variation to stimulate different muscle fibers in the oblique, then try oblique crunches on a stability ball and decline oblique crunches. You can make it more challenging by using weight. But focus on form while doing the same.

Best Oblique Crunches

Here are the best oblique crunches exercises you can add to your core routine. Below, we’ve listed beginner, intermediate, and advanced routines to help you get the most out of your oblique workout. Dive in and give those “side abs” some love.

1. Standing Oblique Crunches

The standing side crunches are the same as the regular oblique crunches, except that they are performed in standing position.

Oblique crunches done while standing helps build obliques and abdominal muscles for strength and stability. Furthermore, it does an excellent job of improving balance.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced exerciser, these crunches are a great addition to your routine.

Standing Oblique Crunches

How To Do Standing Oblique Crunches

  • Get into a standing position with your knees slightly bent, your feet hip-width apart, and your hands behind your head.
  • Bend your left knee and shift your weight to the left.
  • Then, crunch to the right side and bring your right knee up toward your elbow.
  • Return to the starting position by lowering your right leg.
  • Switch your legs and repeat until the set is over.


  • Keep your spine and neck aligned, lift your chest, and engage your core.
  • Focus on breathing out as you crunch.
  • Try to keep your spine as straight as possible without bending forward or swinging your hips back and forth.

2. Oblique Crunches On Stability Ball

You can make the oblique crunch more challenging by doing the move while lying your upper body down on a soft exercise/Swiss ball.

Once you know how to do a few floor-based oblique crunches, one way to make them harder is to try a stability ball side crunch.

This makes the movement harder because you have to use your core and stabilizer muscles more to stay in position and do the movement.

Oblique Crunches On Stability Ball

How To Oblique Crunches on a Stability Ball

  • To start, put the stability ball a few feet away from the wall and put your left hip on the ball.
  • Extend your right leg out on the floor and keep your foot flat on the floor and facing forward.
  • Place your right hand either fully out or behind your head, and place your left hand on the swiss ball for extra support.
  • To execute swiss ball oblique crunches, lift your body off the ball in a straight line over your hip.
  • Breathe out as you contract, and then take a big breath in as you lower in a controlled manner back to the starting position.


  • Ensure to keep a neutral spine, your head facing forward and do not let your shoulders rotate.
  • To make this stability ball oblique crunch more challenging, you can move your hips further up the ball. This will increase the range of motion and challenge your obliques and core muscles even further.

3. Oblique V-Up

One exercise that trains both the internal and external obliques, as well as other abdominal muscles, is the oblique V-up, also known as a side jackknife Crunch.

The Side jackknife is a moderate-level oblique exercise that only requires the use of a mat.

Once you master the basic oblique V-up, you can increase the difficulty of the exercise by raising both legs off the ground.

The double side jackknife follows all the same steps as the side jackknife, except that you bring both your feet up while you raise your upper body.

Oblique V-up

How To Do Oblique V-up

  1. Lie on your left hip, legs together and right leg on top of your left.
  2. Place your right hand behind your head and your left elbow stays close to your body for support.
  3. Use your oblique muscles to raise your top leg while simultaneously raising your torso to meet it.
  4. Lower in a controlled motion and repeat, until you complete your set. Then switch sides and repeat.


  • Don’t rest your leg and your torso at the bottom of the movement.
  • Make sure you get your upper body off the floor. Don’t move just your head.
  • Hold a total contraction at the top of the movement for a count of two.

4. Standing Cable Oblique Crunches

When doing an abs workout with a cable machine, there are plenty of single-arm exercises you can add to correct potential imbalances.

Standing oblique crunches, also popular as side crunches, are effective abdominal exercises that target your oblique muscles performed by assuming a standing position.

Standing Oblique Crunches

How To Do Standing Oblique Crunches

  1. Attached D-handle to a high pulley and stood side-on to the weight stack.
  2. Grasp the D-handle with your left hand and stand with the pulley to your left side. Make sure your forearm is positioned at an angle of 90-degrees to the upper arm and your feet firmly placed on the floor at shoulder width.
  3. Keeping your head up and back straight, pull the weight down using your left oblique muscle as far as you can.
  4. Pause for a second and then return to the initial position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions. Turn around and repeat the cable side bend with your left side.


  • Keeping your head up and back straight, pull the weight down using your left oblique muscle as far as you can.
  • Don’t bend too far down during the crunch as this could cause injury, and it isn’t necessary for the exercise to be effective.

5. Bicycle Crunch

In a 2001 study by ACE, it was found that in compared to the standard crunch, the bicycle crunch produces 148% more mean activity in the abs and 190% more mean activity in the obliques.

To make it easier to do the exercise you can make the angle that your knees make smaller and to make the exercise harder you can make the angle between your legs bigger.

Bicycle Crunch

How To Do Bicycle Crunch

  1. Lie on the floor with your legs straight and lower back flat on the floor.
  2. Place your hands behind your head and raise your feet and upper back a little off the floor.
  3. Slowly start raising your knees at about a 45-degree angle.
  4. Go through a bicycle peddling motion with your legs as you alternately touch your elbows to the opposite knees, twisting back and forth.


  • Keep your neck neutral and your lower back pressed against the floor.
  • Make sure that you don’t pull your neck with your hands, else you can get a neck strain.

6. Dumbbell Oblique Crunch

The dumbbell oblique crunch 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.

If you’re new to the exercise, practice the movement with your bodyweight alone.

Dumbbell Oblique Crunch

How To Do Dumbbell Oblique Crunches

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


  • Keep the dumbbell close to your side, with your elbow slightly bent, and without moving your hips.
  • To work the oblique muscle, you should perform this exercise slowly and steadily.
  • Avoid using a heavy dumbbell for this exercise. Large, overdeveloped oblique muscles will make your waist appear bulky.

7. Cable Oblique Crunch On Bosu Ball 

If you’re looking for a way to get more creative with your oblique crunches exercises, why not try this exercise?

The addition of the Bosu ball adds balance to the equation. It’s a great tool for strengthening your core. Often used in physical therapy, it’s a reliable way to train your body control.

Cable Oblique Crunch On Bosu Ball 

How To Do Cable Side Crunch On Bosu Ball 

  1. Attach a single-grip handle to both sides on a low setting.
  2. Using a Bosu Ball, position yourself it in front and center of the machine.
  3. The small of your back should be arched around the ball. Your butt should be close to the floor, but not touching it.
  4. Both hands should have a cable. With your feet positioned in a wide stance, arms straight out in front of you.
  5. Keep your arms straight. Elevate your torso in a crunching motion without dropping or bending your arms.
  6. Crunch to one side then the other, alternating until desired reps.

8. Hanging Knee Raise Oblique Crunch

The hanging knee raise oblique crunch is a variation of the hanging knee raise that works the entire core, including the lower abs, hip flexors, and lower back. This exercise specifically targets the obliques while also improving stability in the upper back and shoulders.

The hanging knee raise oblique crunch is a tough move that works the obliques, hip flexors, and abdomen all at once.

Hanging Knee Raise Oblique Crunch

How To Do Hanging Knee Raise Oblique Crunch

  • Grab a pull-up bar with a shoulder-width overhand grip, making sure arms are completely straight.
  • Raise your legs out in front of you and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle with legs together and toes pointed.
  • Pull your knees up and across to one side of your body, allowing your hips to rotate until your toes are perpendicular to the floor.
  • Try bringing your knees up towards your chest and squeezing at the top of the movement.
  • Keep your knees bent and try to complete as many reps as you can.
  • The hanging oblique knee raise can be performed by doing reps on one side and then repeating, or by switching sides after each rep.


  • When you lower your legs, do not straighten them.
  • Avoid allowing the body to swing back and forth. Keep your torso as still/stable as possible.
  • Avoid jerking your legs up. Instead, contract your core to generate movement.

People Also Ask

Do side crunches help to love handles?

Side crunches are a good exercise that help you lose love handles. But in order to permanently get rid of your love handles, you will need to make dietary, exercise and lifestyle changes.

Abs Crunches Vs Oblique Crunches

Oblique crunch exercises are more effective and will engage the oblique more than standard crunches.


The Oblique Crunch Strengthens your back, tenses your core, tones your abs, and enhances your balance and flexibility. Standing oblique crunches also do an excellent job of improving balance.

Once you have learned a few floor-based oblique crunches, you can try a stability ball side crunch or weighted side crunches variation, which puts more demands on your core and stabilizer muscles.


12 Best Standing Oblique Exercises That Will Work Your Core

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