Oblique exercises improve your core strength and sculpt your love handles from the comfort of your home.
Why focus on the obliques, you may wonder? The oblique muscles are very important for keeping a strong and stable core. They not only help with twisting and turning movements, but also help with stability and support during everyday activities and sports. If you don’t exercise the oblique muscles, you might feel out of balance, have a bad posture, and be more likely to get hurt.
Furthermore, you don’t need expensive gym equipment or a professional trainer to work on your obliques. With just a little space and some determination, you can perform these exercises in the comfort of your living room.
In this blog post, we’ll guide you:
- Know Your Oblique Muscles
- External Obliques
- Internal Obliques
- Benefits of Strong Obliques
- At Home Oblique Exercises for Beginners
- 1. Standing Oblique Twists
- 2. Standing Side Crunches
- 3. Alternate Heel Touches
- Intermediate Oblique Exercises to Challenge Your Core
- 4. Side Plank
- 5. Russian Twist
- 6. Bicycle Crunch
- 7. Cross-Body Mountain Climber
- Advanced Oblique Exercises for a Sculpted Waistline
- 8. Side Plank With Hip Abduction
- 9. Oblique V-Up
- 10. Windshield Wipers
- Can oblique exercises help in reducing waist size?
- Can I train obliques everyday?
- Do planks work obliques?
- Are obliques hard to build?
- Do obliques exercises thicken your waist?
- Are obliques like abs?
- At Home Oblique Workout To Get Toned Waistline
Know Your Oblique Muscles
The oblique muscles consist of the external obliques and internal obliques. Both muscles contribute to trunk rotation, side bending, and core stability.
- The external obliques are superficial muscles located on the sides of the abdomen. They run diagonally from the lower ribs to the pelvis.
- They assist in flexing the spine, tilting it sideways, and rotating the trunk.
- The internal obliques lie beneath the external obliques, forming an X-shape. They have a diagonal orientation, crossing over the external obliques.
- They help with trunk rotation, side bending, and maintaining good posture.
Benefits of Strong Obliques
- Improved posture and reduced risk of musculoskeletal imbalances
- Increased core strength and stability
- Toned and defined waistline
- Enhanced athletic performance, particularly in rotational and lateral movements
- Reduced risk of lower back pain.
- Improved functional movement patterns in daily life activities.
- Strong oblique muscles assist in proper diaphragmatic breathing.
At Home Oblique Exercises for Beginners
You can develop a strong foundation and increase your strength and endurance with these beginner-friendly exercises. As you become more comfortable with these exercises, then you can level up with intermediate oblique exercises.
1. Standing Oblique Twists
Standing oblique twists engage multiple muscle groups within the core, including the obliques, rectus abdominis, and lower back muscles.
This exercise helps improve rotational strength and stability, making it beneficial for activities such as golf swings, tennis serves, or throwing movements.
How To Do Standing Oblique Twists
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
- Bring your arms to your chest.
- Brace your core and begin to twist your upper body to the left side of your body, then the right.
- Keep your lower body still during the motion; only your torso moves.
- Repeat until all reps have been completed.
Tips For Proper Form
- Keep your lower body stable throughout the movement.
- Engage your abs and slowly twist your torso.
- Exhale on the turns, inhale when coming back.
- Focus on the rotation coming from your torso rather than just swinging your arms.
2. Standing Side Crunches
The standing side crunches are the same as the regular oblique crunches, except that they are performed in standing position. It is a great way to tone your obliques and keep your body fit.
They can be done in many different ways. They are a great way to add some intensity to your abdominal routine, and they can also help to decrease your waist size.
How To Do Standing Side Crunches
- Get into a standing position with your knees slightly bent, your feet hip-width apart.
- Keep your chin tucked in throughout the movement.
- 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.
- Pause at the top of the movement for 2-3 seconds.
- Switch your legs and repeat until the set is over.
- Repeat the desired number of reps.
- You can start by doing 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
Tips For Proper Form
- Perform slow and steadily movements.
- Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements.
- Always keep your back straight, eyes facing forwards, and bend at the torso only.
3. Alternate Heel Touches
Alternate heel touches, also referred to as lying oblique reach, is an exercise that can be performed at home and targets the oblique muscles, as well as the abs.
Reaching across the body to touch the heels also helps improve flexibility and increases the range of motion in the hips.
It is one of the great oblique exercises that beginners and intermediate athletes can do easily to grow their midsection.
How To Do Alternate Heel Touches
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.
- Place your arms by your sides, palms facing down.
- Engage your core muscles to stabilize your spine and maintain a neutral position.
- Lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the ground, keeping them elevated throughout the exercise.
- As you exhale, reach your right hand toward your right heel, feeling the contraction in your right oblique.
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the left side, reaching your left hand toward your left heel.
- Continue alternating sides, performing the movement in a controlled and rhythmic manner.
Tips For Proper Form
- Be sure not to strain your neck when doing any ab crunch work.
- Don’t jerk from side to side, focus on oblique muscles while doing touching exercises
Intermediate Oblique Exercises to Challenge Your Core
If you’re ready to take your oblique training to the next level, let’s try these oblique exercises at home. These intermediate exercises provide a greater challenge to your oblique muscles, helping you achieve a more sculpted waistline.
4. Side Plank
Side planks specifically target the internal and external oblique muscles, helping to strengthen and tone the sides of your abdomen. This can lead to a more defined waistline and improved core aesthetics.
It is one of the best exercises for strengthening the oblique abdominal muscles, which don’t get worked as much during abs exercises like crunches.
How To Do Side Plank
- Lie on your side with your legs extended and feet stacked on top of each other.
- Place your lower elbow directly beneath your shoulder, forearm flat on the ground.
- Engage your core muscles, lift your hips off the ground, and align your body into a straight line from your head to your heels.
- Keep your neck aligned with your spine, looking straight ahead or slightly upward.
- Hold the position for a specific duration, starting with 20-30 seconds and gradually increasing over time.
- Lower your hips back to the ground with control, and repeat on the other side.
Tips For Proper Form
- Ensure your body forms a straight line from head to heel
- Avoid letting your hips sag.
- Squeeze your abs and glutes throughout the movement for stability.
5. Russian Twist
The Russian twist is a technique that engages and strengthens both your core muscles and your lower back. This exercise helps make your abs and obliques stronger and slimmer.
A more advanced way to do the Russian twist is to lift your feet off the floor and do a weighted Russian twist.
How To Do Russian Twist
- Sit on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Lean back slightly while keeping your back straight, creating a V shape between your torso and thighs.
- Use your core muscles to stabilize your spine and maintain an upright posture.
- Clasp your hands together in front of your chest, or hold a weight or medicine ball.
- Twist your torso to one side, or bring the weight across your body towards the floor beside your hip.
- Return to the center and twist to the other side.
- Repeat the twisting motion from side to side in a controlled and rhythmic manner.
Tips For Proper Form
- Focus on the rotation coming from your torso rather than solely swinging your arms.
- Exhale as you twist to each side, and inhale as you return to the center.
- Avoid rounding or hunching your shoulders.
6. Bicycle Crunch
In a study conducted by ACE, a comparison was conducted between the efficacy of the bicycle crunch and 12 other common abs exercises, and it was determined that the bicycle crunch proved to be the most effective.
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 the exercise easier, lower your knees and raise the angle between your legs. To make the exercise harder, raise the angle between your legs.
Bicycle crunches are a dynamic and high-intensity exercise that can elevate your heart rate and burn calories effectively. When combined with a balanced diet and overall exercise routine, bicycle crunches can contribute to fat loss and a toned oblique.
How To Do Bicycle Crunch
- Lie on the floor with your legs straight and lower back flat on the floor.
- Place your hands behind your head and raise your feet and upper back a little off the floor.
- Slowly start raising your knees at about a 45-degree angle.
- Go through a bicycle pedaling motion with your legs as you alternately touch your elbows to the opposite knees, twisting back and forth.
- Continue alternating the pedaling motion and twisting of the torso in a controlled and rhythmic manner.
Tips For Proper Form
- Keep your neck neutral and your lower back pressed against the floor.
- Maintain a steady and controlled pace
- Make sure that you don’t pull your neck with your hands, else you can get a neck strain.
7. Cross-Body Mountain Climber
The cross-body mountain climber is a dynamic exercise that targets the entire core, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and hip flexors.
You can improve your balance, agility, coordination, strength, flexibility, and blood circulation with the cross-body mountain climber because it engages multiple muscle groups at once.
It’s like getting a total-body workout with just one exercise. This workout is a good addition to your home collection of oblique exercises.
To increase the intensity, perform the exercise at a faster pace or bring your knees in toward your elbows with a slight hop.
How To Do Cross-Body Mountain Climber
- Start in a high plank position with your hands directly beneath your shoulders.
- Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.
- Squeeze your abs, lift one foot off the floor and bring your left knee towards your right elbow.
- Return to the starting position and immediately bring your right knee toward your left elbow, again crossing your body diagonally.
- Continue alternating the movement, bringing each knee toward the opposite elbow in a controlled and rhythmic manner.
Tips For Proper Form
- Don’t round your lower back.
- Don’t lift your hips too high. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.
- Maintain a steady and controlled pace, focusing on proper form rather than speed.
Advanced Oblique Exercises for a Sculpted Waistline
These advanced exercises require a higher level of core strength and stability. Incorporate them into your routine once you feel comfortable and confident with the intermediate exercises.
8. Side Plank With Hip Abduction
The side plank hip abduction is an advanced variation of the side plank exercise that you can do to target the obliques and outer thighs.
The hip abductors move the legs away from the body and rotate them at the hip joint, so this plays an important role in keeping your knee and hip joints stable.
How To Do Side Plank With Hip Abduction
- Lie on the floor on your left side, side with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder and legs stacked.
- Place your free hand on your hip.
- Straighten your body and legs. Your feet should be together, and your hip should be resting on the floor.
- Brace your abs and lift your hips off the floor until you’re balancing on your forearm and feet and your body forms a diagonal line.
- Lift your right leg at least 6 inches. Slowly bring your feet back together and lower your hip to the floor.
- Repeat on your right side.
Tips For Proper Form
- Do not let your hips or shoulder sag, do not let your body rotate.
- Keep your core tight, so that your upper body remains stable, maintain your top leg straight.
- Breathe out as you lift your top leg and squeeze the outer thigh.
9. 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. It 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.
How To Do Oblique V-Up
- Lie on your left hip, legs together and right leg on top of your left.
- Place your right hand behind your head and your left elbow stays close to your body for support.
- Use your oblique muscles to raise your top leg while simultaneously raising your torso to meet it.
- Lower in a controlled motion and repeat, until you complete your set. Then switch sides and repeat.
Tips For Proper Form
- 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.
10. Windshield Wipers
Floor windshield wipers are an effective and challenging exercise that targets the oblique muscles, along with the rectus abdominis and hip flexors.
The controlled rotational movements of the legs mimic the motion of the windshield wipers. This exercise also works the deep core muscles, including the transverse abdominis, which helps stabilize the spine.
How To Do Floor Windshield Wipers
- Lie flat on your back with your arms extended out to the sides, palms facing down, and legs straight up in the air, perpendicular to the floor.
- Engage your core by drawing your navel toward your spine.
- Start the movement by slowly lowering your legs to one side, keeping them together and as close to the ground as possible without touching each other.
- Use your oblique muscles to lift your legs back up to the starting position, and then lower them to the opposite side.
- Continue to alternate side to side with controlled and smooth motions.
Tips For Proper Form
- Start with a smaller range of motion and gradually increase.
- If you find it challenging to keep your legs straight, you can slightly bend your knees.
Can oblique exercises help in reducing waist size?
Oblique exercises can contribute to reducing waist size by strengthening and toning the oblique muscles. It is important to note that spot reduction is not possible. If you combine oblique exercises with cardio exercise and a balanced diet, you will lose weight and have a smaller waist.
Can I train obliques everyday?
No, it is not recommended to train obliques every day. To maximize muscle growth and prevent overuse injuries, aim for 2-3 sessions per week, with at least one day of rest between each session.
Do planks work obliques?
Yes, planks are effective for working the obliques. Side plank variations focus on the obliques more than standard plank variations, which focus on the rectus abdominis.
Side planks engage the lateral core muscles, including the external and internal obliques, helping to strengthen and tone the sides of the abdomen.
Are obliques hard to build?
Yes, it can be challenging for some people to build obliques. Oblique muscles are often stubborn to develop, requiring consistent and targeted training along with proper nutrition. However, with dedication and the right approach, it is possible to strengthen and build the obliques over time.
Do obliques exercises thicken your waist?
No, properly developed obliques don’t necessarily make the waist thicker. Strong obliques have the potential to enhance the definition of the waistline by enhancing muscular tone and enhancing the overall shape of the midsection.
Are obliques like abs?
Yes, the obliques are part of the abs muscles. They are located on the sides of the waist and play a role in trunk rotation and lateral flexion. The obliques, along with the rectus abdominis (the six-pack) muscles, contribute to overall core strength and stability. However, the obliques have their own distinct shape and function, adding to the overall aesthetic and functional aspects of the abdominal area.
Now you know how to do the best oblique exercises at home to get rid of fat around your waist. Use these exercises to strengthen your core and get a more defined and toned waist.
If you are consistent with your oblique exercises and a healthy diet, you will be able to reach your fitness goals easily and quickly.
- Hsu, S. L., Oda, H., Shirahata, S., Watanabe, M., & Sasaki, M. (2018). Effects of core strength training on core stability. Journal of physical therapy science, 30(8), 1014–1018. https://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.30.1014
- American Council on Exercise. (2013). Core anatomy: Muscles of the core. acefitness.org/fitness-certifications/ace-answers/exam-preparation-blog/3562/core-anatomy-muscles-of-the-core/
At Home Oblique Workout To Get Toned Waistline
Manish brings over 10 years of hands-on experience in weight lifting and fat loss to fitness coaching. He specializes in gym-based training and has a lot of knowledge about exercise, lifting technique, biomechanics, and more.
Through “Fit Life Regime,” he generously shares the insights he’s gained over a decade in the field. His goal is to equip others with the knowledge to start their own fitness journey.