Your Core Routine Isn't Complete Without These Obliques Moves

Your Core Routine Isn't Complete Without These Obliques Moves

For a truly strong core, you need to tone so much more than just your six-pack abs muscles (a.k.a. your rectus abdominis). Truly, it takes a 360-degree approach—and your obliques (helloooo, side abs) are an important part of the occasion. In fact, every core or full-body workout you do should include some oblique exercises.

Your oblique muscles are essential for virtually every daily activity you do, from reaching for your phone in the morning, to walking your dog, to picking up grocery bags. That's because your obliques help stabilize your body, coordinate your breathing, and support your lower back. Strengthening them also helps you lift heavier loads so you can keep your fitness on the up and up.

Just in case you're not familiar with where these muscles reside, they run down the sides of your six-pack muscles from your ribs to your hips. You actually have two layers of obliques, with your external obliques on top and your internal obliques beneath them.

Of course, you're not likely to see major changes in your muscles by training your obliques alone, but they're definitely worth dedicating some time to!

The oblique exercises below are the best in the game. Each one is fit for beginner or advanced exercisers alike, but no matter what your fitness level, focus on getting your form perfect over cranking out reps. (This ensures you actually get the oblique benefit you're looking for, instead of relying on other muscles.)

Most of these moves require just your bodyweight, while others use a medicine ball, stability ball, or weights for a little extra strength and stability challenge. Mix one or two into your core routine or full-body sessions—or string them together for a spicy obliques-focused sequence that'll set those side abs on fire.

Time: 10 minutes

Equipment: Medicine ball, stability ball, a weight (dumbbell or kettlebell)

Good for: Obliques

Instructions: Choose three to four exercises below. Set a timer for 45 seconds. Perform as many reps as possible in that time, then rest for 15 seconds before continuing onto your next exercise. After you've completed all of your moves, start from the top and repeat twice more for a total of two rounds.

Get ready to twist and shout.