If you are looking for an inspiration to engage in oblique exercises, here it is. Oblique exercises facilitate in losing that stubborn belly fat on the side of your waistline and tightens everything up around that area. Within a couple of weeks, not only will others cast that envious look; you will feel the difference - a shapely waist.
Internal oblique exercises or external oblique exercises, well-cared oblique muscles lead to good body posture and less back pain. You can do oblique exercises at home or almost anywhere with or without equipment.
No registering in a gym, no compulsory investment in weights or exercise equipment. Eating right plus undeterred perseverance, following an exercise regimen, some space and a comfortable mat ... you are ready to learn some great oblique exercises for women. Wait for a couple of weeks to enjoy the results!
Oblique exercises for oblique muscles
Even before doing oblique exercises, it is important to know where the oblique muscles are, what they do, the importance of exercising oblique muscles and how they can be exercised right.
Obliques is a term used to refer to the muscles on the side of the upper body. Oblique muscles are engaged in maximum muscular activity to do the most simple of our tasks. Every time you twist and turn the body, it is the obliques at work. There are two sets of obliques, the internal oblique and external oblique. They are diagonally arranged, are broad and thin and extend right up to the ribs.
Together, the muscles are at work while twisting the body at the waist, while bending sideways, while rotating the trunk, when the abdomen compresses, like when you are sitting down. Oblique muscles are considered as 'core muscles', a strong column that links the upper body and lower body together. Having a solid core creates a foundation for all activities. It is where all movement originates and is part of almost every move that you make.
Extra stores of fat on the sides of the abdomen over the oblique muscles are referred to as love handles. Both men and women are subject to love handles, spare tire, belly fat or potbelly. The weight gained is an undesired and unwanted weight. Having love handles means men cannot dream of having that perfect V-shape physique and women cannot dream of an hourglass look. In order to get the desired shapes, men and women require a narrow waist.
But it is attainable. If only you can find ways to burn off fat and provide definition to your obliques. Solely targeting oblique with an effective oblique workout will do wonders for your core. If you rotate to your left, your left external oblique and your right internal oblique are doing the work and vice versa. Oblique exercises immensely help in decreasing the midsection. Selecting appropriate oblique exercises help in firming up muscles, which make the midsection firmer and more defined once the fat goes away.
Benefits of oblique exercises
Not for looks alone. A bulging waistline can impact overall health. In fact, the importance of working the oblique muscles in order to develop and maintain improved low-back health is irrefutable. For those who are regular in playing baseball, tennis, golf, racket sports and other sports like shot put, javelin that involve a lot of twisting of the body, oblique strength is paramount in delivering power.
Further, strengthening the oblique muscles is important in order to have a strong over-all core. Strong oblique muscles mean reducing the chances of having back pain and protecting the lower back from injury. Because every time you bend or do any kind of lifting activity, the obliques reduce the pressure on the lower back. There are many other benefits too.
- Working the obliques with obliques exercises slims the waist and trims love handles.
- Strong obliques support the lower back. No more back pain and posture problems.
- Well-maintained oblique muscles contribute to good body posture.
- Good body posture improves confidence level, ability to move a flexible torso and eventually your resilience to aging.
- Also proper posture corrects muscle imbalances, which in turn can lead to low back pain by evenly distributing weight throughout the spin.
- Obliques help support the torso and take away stress from the lower back.
- A strong core contributes to reducing risks of back injuries.
- Conditioned obliques help balance the body.
- Oblique exercises help to condition the internal organs making them more efficient.
- Improves body balance and equilibrium especially when you begin to age.
- Improves all round physical activities. Twisting, bending down gets easier.
An uncared oblique muscle is sure to show ill effects in the long run. The most visible sign is accumulation of fat around the middle section of the body. Larger waists can lead to lower back pain; weakened strength and tone. It also means possibility of developing health problems like glucose intolerance, diabetes, hypertension and accelerated development of coronary heart disease. An episode of lower back pain that lasts for more than two weeks can lead to muscle weakness. Difficulty breathing, persistent coughs, engaging in simple everyday activities that involve bending, twisting can get difficult. You might have trouble bathing, dressing and walking in old age.
Oblique exercises for women
Obliques can be trained in a number of ways. There are many oblique exercises for men and women. Power lifters, strongmen do oblique exercises for strengthening oblique muscles. There are different oblique exercises that cater to achieving different goals.
- To sculpt the abdomen and trim the sides.
- Fat loss exercises.
- For thick, blocky appearances.
- For strength, power and function.
- For strengthening obliques and maintaining a small waist.
- Strong obliques especially for sports.
You may want to choose oblique exercises for women based on your goals. Here are internal and external oblique exercises for women aimed at:
- Tight waistline.
- Tightening and toning the oblique muscles.
- Lose love handles, burn serious fat and get a firmer mid-section.
- As part of regular workout, a full-body exercise mixed with specific oblique exercises.
Women with lower back pain issues should check with healthcare provider before embarking on oblique exercise workout. In all possibilities, the healthcare provider may recommend specific oblique exercises and advice not to do certain other oblique exercises.
Warm up well before you begin internal and external oblique exercises. Choose warm up exercises like hopping, pendulum bending, neck movements, hand rotations etc. You also have to bring about changes in diet in order to shed excess cushioning. All the oblique exercises in the world won't do well if you continue to eat foods high in fats and refined carbohydrates.
Combine with daily cardio and strength training exercises for best results. Follow a particular program for 4 weeks, and then add in some new exercises, remove some of the old exercises, and change the order and repetition scheme of the exercises. This helps in avoiding boredom and also ensures the program is effective.
Start doing oblique exercises with simple floor exercises for obliques. For good results not more than 3 times a week will do good. After a couple of weeks, you will be ready to do advanced weighted oblique exercises.
Crossover crunches: A crunch is a sit-up where you stop after raising your shoulders off the floor. Spread the exercise mat. Lie flat on your back, knees bent. Cross your left foot over right knee. Extend your left arm out to the side and use your right hand to support your neck. With your lower back pressed to the floor, lift both shoulder blades several inches and then curl your right shoulder and elbow diagonally toward left knee. Perform an entire set to one side, take a break and then do the other.
Side crunches: Side crunches target internal and external obliques. Lie on your right side with legs extended. Cross your right arm up across your waist, resting your right hand atop your left side. Place your left fingertips behind your left ear, and point your elbow toward the ceiling. Contract your abs and lift your right shoulder off the floor while also raising your right leg about one foot off the floor. Complete one set. Take a break and then do on the opposite side. Stability balls or side planks can also be used for optimum results.
Side leg lifts: Lie on left or right side of the body. Lift the leg on top as far as your can. Hold for a couple of seconds and then slowly bring the leg down. Inhale when you lift and exhale when you bring the leg down. Repeat the exercise on one side for 15 to 20 counts and then change side.
Twists and bends: Stand with your feet wide apart. Place your hands behind your neck and intertwine the fingers. Slowly twist to the left side, as much as you can. Start to bend sideways. Come up slowly to the starting position and repeat the exercise on the other side as well.
Internal oblique exercises
The internal obliques are located beneath the external obliques. Along with external obliques, internal obliques are involved in flexing the spinal column, sideways bending, twisting torso and compressing the abdomen. Exercises that involve bending from the side and twisting torso form part of internal oblique exercises.
Side bends: Stand upright with knees slightly bent. Lower your torso to one side and then lower it back to the other side. Make sure you do not lean back and forward, but only from side to side.
Torso twist: Start from the same standing position as with the side bend. Slowly twist your body to your left side and then twist to your right side. Make sure you twist from your torso instead of the hips and concentrate on the internal oblique muscles, which should be doing the work. Make sure you are not bending.
Captain's chair: You need a sturdy chair to do this exercise. Sit on the edge of a plain, sturdy chair with your feet flat on the floor. Sit up straight, elongating your spine. Grasp the seat of the chair on either side of your hips. Exhale and slowly bring your knees to your chest, trying not to arch your lower back. Hold for two seconds. Slowly lower your legs and inhale. Continue raising and lowering your legs.
External oblique exercises
The external obliques are the muscles of the upper and outside part of your waistline; they start just under your chest, on your lower eight ribs, and are responsible for helping you twist and bend sideways. Toning external obliques not only enhances twisting and bending sideway activities but also helps to get ride of love handles. The external oblique muscle rotates your body to the opposite side. When you flex and rotate like in bicycle crunches or oblique crunches, the obliques work at maximum capacity.
Bicycle crunch: Bicycle crunches tone both the internal and external obliques. Spread the exercise mat, lie on your back. Extend your legs out. Place hands behind your head. Crunch both the upper and lower body such that your left elbow comes closer to the right knee. Don't hold your breath during the crunching move. Exhale when you crunch. Pause for 1-2 seconds. Now, extend your left knee. Repeat on the other side getting your right elbow and left knee closer to each other while you extend your right knee.
Oblique crunches: Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your hands behind your head. Exhale as you lift your shoulder blades off the floor. When you get half way up, start to rotate your body so that your left elbow moves towards your right knee. Hold at the top for 1 second and slowly lower to the starting position.
Standing dumbbell side bends: Standing side bends are pretty simple to perform. Opt to do with one dumbbell or 2 dumbbells. Stand straight with your feet apart. If you use 1 dumbbell, place the opposite hand behind your head and lean towards the side with the weight, allowing the dumbbell to drop towards the side of the knees. Once you have gotten fairly close to the knee, come back to the erect position under control. After a set of 10 to 20 do the other side. With 2 dumbbells, you will simply alternate sides. When you bend, make sure you bend in a straight line and your torso is in line with your legs.
Weighted oblique exercises
Weighted oblique exercises are an advanced oblique workout. Track and field athletes, divers and boxers usually take it up. It's usually men who are keen in doing weighted oblique exercises. Women generally avoid as they feel it too hard on the back. In fact less resistance is good enough to tone and firm the mid-section.
Side bends with weight: Holding a weight in one hand, with your other hand on your head, do a side bend. Aim to reach with the hand holding the weight toward the ground then return to upright. Do this 10 to 15 times per side, rest, and repeat.
Twists with weight: If in the gym, take a weighted bar across your shoulders. Twist your body from side to side while standing up straight. Do not swing too fast. You need to feel a stretch in the muscles. Alternate sides and do at least 20 repeats.
Tips: There are possibilities of developing muscle cramps. Take precautionary measures by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, eat a banana or take a potassium supplement and allow for enough rest between oblique exercises.