Fat, in the wrong places, can look really ungainly! Losing weight from the right areas of the body is the key to looking attractive.
Most cardio workouts help you lose fat from all over the body and many core exercises will help trim and tone the most common area – the mid section. However, very few of these will target the oblique muscles, which, if not toned, results in unsightly love handles.
Top 10 Oblique Exercises for Women and Their Benefits:
The oblique muscles are those that are located along the sides of your abdominal wall, running diagonally up and down. Since they are usually out of the scope of most cardio workouts, it becomes essential to perform specialized exercises to work out your obliques. Here are some effective and simple oblique exercises you can practice at home.
1. Oblique Crunch:
- Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, arms by your side.
- Cross your left foot over your right knee.
- Extend left arm straight out in line with the shoulder and place your right hand behind your ears.
- Drawing in your navel, lift your upper body, curling your abs so that your right elbow moves diagonally towards your left knee.
- Hold for a couple of seconds and return to starting position. Do some more reps and then repeat the whole exercise on the opposite side.
- Brings the ribcage and pelvis together to give the obliques a good squeeze.
- Much more effective than a traditional crunch.
2. Side Plank:
- Lie on your left side, right leg directly over left leg and left arm outstretched above your head. Place right hand on the floor in front of your chest.
- Raise your body, bringing your left arm in to support your upper body. Keep your left elbow directly under your left shoulder, left forearm resting on the floor, palm down.
- Lift your hips up, placing right hand on right hip. There should be a straight line from head to heel.
- Use your abs and gluteal muscles to hold the position for as long as you can.
- Reduces lower back pain.
- Increases muscular endurance in the lower back.
- This oblique workout at home is a great way to test how strong your core is by seeing how long you can hold this pose.
3. Side Crunch:
- Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms by your side.
- Rotate your hips to the right so that your knees are resting on the floor.
- Keep your torso facing up, and place your left hand behind your head and the right hand on your right knee.
- Slowly curl up, squeezing your right side and lifting your shoulders off the floor.
- Slowly go back to starting position and repeat.
- Turn knees to the other side and repeat with the other hand behind your head.
- This is one of the best side oblique exercises and intense workouts that gives the oblique muscles a very good crunch.best side oblique exercises
- There is no pressure on the joints.
- Also helps to strengthen the shoulders.
4. Bicycle Crunch:
- Lie flat on the floor, arms by your side.
- Place your hands behind your head. Raise your head and right knee. Touch your left elbow to your right knee.
- Feel the crunch deep inside your core. Now, alternate with your right elbow and left knee.
- Do the repetitions in a continuous motion, as if you were cycling. Your shoulders and head will be up all the time and your abs will remain engaged.
- This crunch works a host of muscles in the core and is really intensive.
- Includes the benefits of many crunches in just one rep.
- Great for getting rid of the lower abdomen paunch.
5. Windshield Wipers:
- Lie on your back with your arms stretched out to the side, in line with your shoulders.
- Bend your knees and lift your legs, keeping thighs perpendicular to the ground and calves parallel.
- Twist hips and thighs to one side as far as you can go, keeping shoulders, head and neck relaxed. You should feel the twist in your sides.
- Come to centre and rotate to the other side.
- Easy for beginners as you can modify the twist to your comfort level.
- Very low chance of injury and easy on the joints.
- Improves range of motion around the torso and hips.
- Gentle twist in obliques strengthens without causing hurt.
6. Russian Twist with Medicine Ball:
- Sit on the floor with knees bent, feet firmly on the floor and a medicine ball in between your palms. Keep your elbows bent and ball in front of your chest.
- Cross your right foot over the left and lift your legs off the floor, extending them out in front, knees slightly bent.
- Twist, keeping the ball in front of you, first to one side and then to the other, pausing in centre.
- Make sure the twist is coming predominantly from your core muscles and not your neck or upper back.
- This exercise really works the upper core and oblique muscles due to the twisting motion.
- This helps improve your performance in sports like swimming.
- It also helps in improving your balance and stability.
7. Oblique Reach:
- Sit with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, arms by your side.
- Straighten right leg, without changing the position of the knees, so that the toes of the right leg are pointing upward.
- Raise right hand straight up, keeping left hand planted on the floor.
- Lower the right arm without bending the elbow and reach out to the toes of the right leg, while twisting your torso to the right and stabilizing your buttocks.
- Hold for a couple of seconds and come back to centre and do 5 more reps. Repeat on the other side.
- To make it harder, put the free hand on the back of your head instead of on the floor.
- This is a great oblique workout at home to stretch the leg, while giving a low impact squeeze to the torso.
- This is also good to develop balance and posture.
8. Side Balance Crunch:
- Another great oblique workouts for women! Get into a side plank position with the body supported by the left forearm on the ground. Raise your right arm straight up, so that it is in line with the shoulders and left upper arm till the elbow.
- Sweep the right arm down and under the left armpit, reaching towards the mat behind you.
- At the same time, bend your right leg and raise it slightly, while pivoting your left foot onto the toes to maintain balance. Ensure the rotation in your hips as you steady your left foot.
- Go back to the side plank and do a few more reps. Repeat on the other side.
- Great exercise to tone the exterior and interior obliques.
- Makes for a great overall core workout.
- Very useful for those participating in sports.
9. Side Leg Raise:
- Lie on your left side, body propped up on your left arm. Your forearm should be on the floor with palm facing down.
- Place your right hand on the floor in front of your chest. Keep legs straight.
- Bend your left leg at a 90 degree angle at the knee and extend your right leg over it.
- Keep your upper body steady and squeeze your side as you raise your right leg from the hip, as high as you can. Hold for a few seconds and then release to starting position.
- Do alternate sets of about 10-20 reps.
- This is great for strengthening your thighs and makes them look leaner.
- Gives the hips and sides a good stretch.
- You can squeeze your obliques harder and lift higher for a better workout.
10. Standing Leg Raise:
- Stand with feet shoulder width apart and arms by your side. Keep back straight.
- Shift weight to the right leg. From the hip, engage your core and extend your left leg out to the side, keeping the knee straight.
- You can either leave your arms by the side or extend them in front of you, holding a medicine ball.
- Hold for 5 seconds, return to starting position and repeat on the other side.
- This is a very low impact way to work out your oblique muscles.
- Can be done anywhere, even at work.
- Also helps to strengthen the legs.
As you can see, it doesn’t take much to whittle down that waist and step out looking lean. Most of these oblique exercises for women take very little time as well, so now you have no excuse to get rid of those love handles.