Everybody desires to get that perfectly sculpted body with tight midsection and oblique abs.
It is not that tough to have one, but it is critical to hit the muscles from all the right angles as you aim at getting a toned midsection.
Mid and Oblique abs: There are four muscles in the abs. Rectus abdominis is the most prominent of all, running from the rib cage to the pubic bone.
The internal and external obliques run from the ribs to the hips along the front part of your torso. The transverse abdominis is the deepest ab muscle that runs horizontally across the torso.
When you do the basic crunches, you just work on the rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis.
Having crunches and only crunches in your abs routine will still leave you with a jiggle around the mid-waist level.
This happens because the crunches work only on a part of the core and that too in a non-functional way.
To get a slim waistline, you will have to engage your entire core that includes the lower back, hip flexors, glutes and all the different layers of your abs namely obliques, rectus, and transverse abdominis.
The crunches hit these muscles only in the back and forth angles. Thus, you need additions to your fitness routine to hit these muscles from every different angle.
This new routine will engage all your muscles and enhance the fat-burning capacity of your body. In this process, you will also end up toning your shoulders, back, chest, legs, and arms.
Given below are some of the best workout routines that you must try to get a toned midsection.
Oblique Abs Exercise #1. Windmill with Kettlebell
This exercise targets the oblique or side abs.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding a kettlebell in your left hand. Now, bring the weight onto your left shoulder and press it overhead (as shown in (a)).
- While you rotate your chest to the left, you need to look at your kettlebell as you reach your right foot with your right hand (as shown in (b)).
- After pausing for a few seconds, you should return to your starting position and leave your left hand extended.
You need to do 8 reps on one side without lowering the weight and then switch to the other side.
Oblique Abs Exercise #2. Swiss-Ball Jackknife
This exercise hits the lower abs or transverse abdominis.
- You need to get into a pushup position with straight arms, resting your shins on the stability ball (as shown in (a)).
- Next, roll the ball by pulling it in the forward direction with your feet and legs, as shown in (b), towards your chest.
- After pausing for some time, return to the beginning position by lowering your hips while pushing the ball backward as shown in (b). You need to do 10 reps of this exercise.
Oblique Abs Exercise #3. One-arm row (unsupported)
This exercise is suited for the six-pack abs and obliques.
- While holding a kettlebell in your right hand, put the top of your left on your lower back and keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your torso, keeping your back flat and parallel to the ground, knees bent and right arm is hanging from the shoulder. Next, without moving your torso, pull the kettlebell towards your chest. After pausing for sometime lower the weight and get back to the starting position.
- Eight reps of this exercise are considered to be good. Next, you need to repeat the same with your left arm.
Oblique Abs Exercise #4. Rolling Side plank
This exercise targets the obliques, transverse abdominis, and rectus abdominis.
- You need to start in a plank position with the forearms on the floor and legs stretched behind you.
- Next, rotate your torso to the side and rolling to your left forearm. As you do so, you will have to stack your right foot on your left foot in a left side plank. Pause for 2 seconds and return to the starting position.
- After pausing for a second do the exercise on the other side and continue switching sides for the next 40 seconds.
The exercises given below can be followed as a separate routine. It is effective on men as well as women.
Oblique Abs Exercise #5. Separated Oblique Crunches
This exercise is a combination of stability and isolation that burns a lot of fat in the body.
- Cross your left leg over the right knee and bring your right elbow to your left knee.
- Raise your upper body to do crunches. After doing 10-15 reps on a side, switch to the other side.
- Complete two sets on each side and keep going.
Oblique Abs Exercise #6. Twisted Box Pushups
- Keep your feet together as you stand in line with a box and a little distance away from it.
- Keep your hands on the box and turn the torso as if you are resting on the outer side of your left foot, keeping your legs stacked at the same time. Now, do 8-10 pushups.
- Do the same exercise on the other side. The same exercise can be done against the wall.
Oblique Abs Exercise #7. Lunge with a side twist
- As you stand with your feet
- parallel to each other, you have to hold a dumbbell in front of your stomach.
- Now, step one foot in the backward direction into a lunge and rotate your torso such that the weight crosses your leg in the front.
- Now, step forward to go back to your starting position. Now you can change sides for 8 to 10 reps on each side.
Oblique Abs Exercise #8. Wide-legged Criss-cross
- Lie down on a mat with your face u and hands behind your head.
- Bend your elbows towards the side and stretch your legs upwards keeping a yoga block in between your thighs.
- Now, curl your shoulders and raise them off the floor and rotate your torso to bring your left elbow towards your right knee.
- Return to the starting position and repeat the exercise on your left. Do 2-3 sets of 20 reps on a side, while alternating sides in the meantime.
Oblique Abs Exercise #9. Lean Back
This exercise targets the obliques, transverse abdominis, and inner thighs.
- Keep your knees bent as you sit on a mat. Keep a yoga block between your thighs and another yoga block and a rolled up towel behind your butt.
- Keep your hands behind your head with your elbows out and right leg stretched diagonally.
- Lean back taking the support of the towel and the brick and then return to the starting position. You can do 2 to 3 sets of 25 reps and then switch legs in each set.
Oblique Abs Exercise #10. High-knee Corkscrews
- Stand up straight and then raise a knee and bend your opposite elbow.
- You need to twist your midsection while doing this exercise. Bring the two joints to tap.
- Repeat the same on the opposite side. Do a set of 20 reps for this exercise.
Oblique Abs Exercise #11. Curl-under (in Plank position)
- Take the plank position and place a dumbbell in line with your left palm heel.
- Put your body weight in your left hand and hold the dumbbell with your right hand.
- Pick up the dumbbell and pivot up to a side plank while you raise your weight upwards keeping your hands in a T position.
- Now, rotate your arm downwards so that your right-hand curls under your left forearm as shown in the picture. After doing 8 to 10 reps, you may switch sides.
If the plank is too tough for you, then you can try this exercise on hands and knees only.
Oblique Abs Exercise #12. Criss-cross Jacks
It is a variation of the usual jumping jack exercise.
- You need to jump out to widen your feet and keep your arms in a T-position.
- When you jump in next, you have to cross your legs and arms.
- Repeat this exercise by alternating the cross of your feet and arms. You need to do 20 reps of this exercise.
Oblique Abs Exercise #13. Squat and Twisting Overhead Press
- While holding a dumbbell in front of your chest as shown in the picture you have to sit back into a squat position.
- You will have to put your weight on your heels and send your butt back.
- When you stand to press your arms straight up and twist your torso so that you turn to one side. Now, squat again and straight out the upper half of your body while you go down.
- While going up, press and twist to the other side. It is one rep, and you need to do 8 to 10 reps of this exercise.
Oblique Abs Exercise #14. Physioball step-offs
- Put both your feet on the ball and your toes should be able to balance you. Put one foot down and your toe should be touching the floor.
- Go back to the starting position and then do the next rep with the other foot. Do 3 to 4 sets of 20 reps in total.
The exercise puts your body through a test of tough and compromising positions so that you can increase your core strength and thus tone your muscles.
Oblique Abs Exercise #15. Leg Lifts
- To strengthen your lower ab muscles, you need to include leg lifts in your exercise routine.
- Lie on your back on a flat surface, keeping your arms by your side.
- Lift both your legs to a height of 2 inches from the ground.
- Hold your legs straight in this position for 15 to 20 seconds. Then, relax and gradually lower your legs. Repeat this 15 times in total.
While doing this exercise, make sure you hold your legs steadily and continue breathing normally.
Oblique Abs Exercise #16. Flutter kicks
This exercise stabilizes the hips by causing the abs to contract. It fully engages the stomach as you keep your back on the ground.
- Rotation reach crunch: It involves shoulder rotation that takes care of the obliques as well as the abdominals.
- Pilates side hip raise: This exercise targets the obliques and outside thigh for the movement and uses the lower back and abs for balance and support.
- Russian twist: It focuses on the rotational movement through obliques. Lift your feet off the ground while doing this exercise, if you want to increase the difficulty level. This exercise will help you engage your quads and hip flexors.
A few dos and don’t when you perform the exercises for your mid and oblique abs have been mentioned below:
3 C’sof training
People aspiring to have the perfectly sculpted body need to remember the 3 C’s of training: Carb restriction, Cardio, and Crunches.
Carbohydrates are required to supply your body with ample amount of energy so that you do not feel dizzy while undergoing a rigorous training.
Training with crunches helps you to give your abs a better shape that enhances the core strength of your body. Deadlifts and squats are the other important things that help you to tone your abs.
- Grow your abs and not only tone them
You must undertake training to build your abs. There is no such risk of overgrowing your rectus abdominis. So it is recommended that you train for growth as toning will eventually happen. By doing supersets or giant sets, you can improve your intensity.
- Missing the target
Some people spend time doing only hip flexors thereby straining the spinal erectors. It is critical that you do crunching movements for the rectus abdominis, in the free form or with a machine. You should devote some time to training your abs only, at a slow, steady pace. While doing exercises with short ranges of motion, where contractions are paramount, you must hold evert contraction for one to two seconds and flex. It is very much necessary to get best results.
- Concentrating on upper abs only
When you focus only on the upper rectus abdominis, that is, the six pack abs then you are leaving out on the other three ab areas of your body. The other three important parts are the external obliques, lower rectus abdominis, and transverse abdominis. Obliques tend to widen your waist a bit but that does not mean you completely avoid doing them. Obliques hit the fats in the midsection from the right angles and are thus very important. They develop your core strength. Side crunches and machine trunk twists work well on these areas.
- Training to reduce fat
Proper diet and cardio exercises are required to do away with fat. To shed the adipose tissue you have to minimize intake of food containing saturated fat and simple carbs. Eat more of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and protein. Doing cardio is strongly recommended after every workout. It helps in reducing the extra bit of fat that is tough to lose otherwise.
A morning ab workout session does wonders to your body as it revs up your body’s metabolism rate. Since you have a fresh mind early in the morning, you will be free from all kinds of distractions during that time while you are a workout. If you have a sagging tummy or an unwanted fatty layer around the midsection then the ab exercises will help your abdominal muscles to get tones to help you get a leaner and stronger physique. It will enhance your confidence level as it will improve your posture too.
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