9 Best Oblique Exercises

by Matt Wilson
Last Updated: 15/03/2021
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Oblique exercises are the best type of exercises to do if you want to increase the strength of your core and improve your obliques

Most of the exercises are easy to do, you can do them in your home and a lot of them can be done in a matter of seconds (well minutes if I am being completely honest, but still).

You don’t need a personal trainer to help you get your obliques looking amazing. All you need is a little bit of an effort and a simple workout plan to get you started with this absolutely great type of exercise.

In this article I am going to review some of the best oblique exercises out there and will try to help you when deciding when and if you should do them. 

Hold your horses! Are you for real?  Yes, I am for real, and I am as hip as anyone you’ve met in your entire life.

But first, let’s answer some general questions about obliques.

What Are Obliques?

The obliques or oblique muscles consist out of two groups of muscles – internal and external obliques [1]. They can be found on the sides of your abdominals, running from your waist area to your rib cage.

Now that you are all caught up with the moderns of western medicine we are going to take a look at some of the best oblique exercises in the world! 

Workouts for obliques are the most important for your core strength [2].

1. Bicycle Crunch

You can do this workout in your home, and no, you do not need to have a bicycle to do the bicycle crunch. But you do need knees. So keep that in mind as you continue forward with reading this article.

To get started, you should lie face-up on the floor while keeping your legs straight.  Put both of your hands behind your head and be mindful to press your elbows up. 

Lift your right leg a couple of inches from the ground and bend your left knee to a 90 degree angle. 

At the same time you should push your torso upward and move your right elbow (while keeping your heads behind your head) to your left knee. Hold for a couple of seconds in this position to count this movement as a rep.

Repeat this exercise with the opposite side of your. Left leg up, bend right knee, left elbow, etc.

You should try to complete 20-30 reps with each leg per one set. If you can’t do as many, try to do the lower amount of reps,but try to do them correctly [3]. 

In this instance, doing less is more, if you do the exercises the right way.

2. Single Leg Side Plank

To start, you should get yourself into a side plank or an elbow plank position on your left or right side. It doesn’t really matter with which side you choose to start, but for the purposes of this guide let’s say that you started with your left side.

This workout, the same as the previous, can be easily done at your home. Single leg side plank is a great workout for your lower back, obliques and your core strength [4].

Lift your hips up, so your body forms a straight line  in regards to the ground. Put your right hand on your right thigh. If you are a beginner and you need some extra support feel free to put your right hand on the floor next to your body.

Next, you should raise your right leg as high as it’s humanly possible. At the same time you should try to lift your right arm to the point where it’s almost perpendicular to the floor. 

If you can, try to lift your hips just a little bit higher while you are doing this, to engage your core a little bit more. Hold for 2 seconds and then return your right leg back to the starting position to complete the first rep.

Repeat the same thing with the left side of your. You should try to do at least 10 reps per set, withe each side. 

To get the maximum core engagement and the best increase in muscles try doing 5 sets on each side.

3. Standing Side Crunch 

This is an amazing exercise that you can do right at your home (again one of those, why can’t I go to the gym?).

Standing side crunch is a great workout for your oblique muscles. To start, you should make sure to keep your pelvis tucked (or simply put, don’t stick your but out). Your back should be straight to lower the risk of injury in your lower back region.  

Stand with your feet flat on the floor shoulder-width apart and place your right arm close to your right ear. 

Next, you should raise your right knee on the side of your body and at the same time you should be lowering your right arm to meet your right leg (they should meet somewhere around your hip). 

Hold for a couple of seconds, and then return to the starting position. Try to do at least 10 reps on one side and then switch the opposite to get the best results.

Repeat the whole exercise with the same number of reps, but only this time your left arm should meet your left knee near your left instead of the right hip.

5 sets of this exercise should be enough to give you a great workout. 

If you can do more, you definitely should, but don’t do too many to avoid the risks of injury.

4. Forward Lunges With Rotation

This workout you could do at home if you own a medicine ball. If you don’t have one, then off to the gym you go (yes, finally!)!

This is one of the most beneficial oblique exercises because it not only targets your obliques but your shoulder muscles, quads, hamstrings and glutes. It’s also a great workout for your upper body.

Now, how do you get started with this one? 

The starting position is you just standing there with your feet hip-width apart. Hold the medicine ball (or a dumbbell if you have one) in both of your hands while keeping your arms extended just in front of your chest. 

This is the point when you should lunge forward with your left leg. 

While bending your knees (if you can do this workout without bending your knees, you might have a serious medical problem) you should rotate your torso and hips to the left. 

Keep your arms straight while doing this for maximum core engagement. Now, rotate back and return to the starting position and repeat the movement with the opposite side.

Try to do at least 10 reps with each side of your body. 5-6 sets of this should be enough for a beginner. 

5. Russian Twist

Russian twists are a great workout for your core and for obliques. It’s all about the twist like the movies of M. Night Shyamalan.

Starting position includes you sitting up with your legs in front of you. Your knees bent at the 90 degree angle, and your heels should be on the floor. Keep your back in a 45 degree angle when compared to the floor that you are sitting on.

Hold a dumbbell with your right and left arm (so with both of your arms!). Keeping your back straight and the weight close to your chest start twisting to the left side and then to the right side (twist again like we did last summer). 

This exercise is easy to do so you should try to include it in your workout session. Do as many reps as you can or between 20-30 per set. 

Do 5-10 sets and you should have amazing obliques in no time. 

6. Bird Dog Crunch

The best name for one of the most beneficial oblique exercises that you can do (you’ve guessed it!) at your home.

To begin with, you should be on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. 

Your wrists should be straight under your shoulders and your knees should be straight under your hips.

Next, you should extend your right arm forward and your left leg back while keeping your back in a straight line. Your hips should be in line with the floor. So this workout is all about the lines.

Squeeze your abs and lower your right elbow while at the same time pushing your left leg forward. Your left knee should meet your right elbow  around the hip area of your body. 

Do 10-20 reps in each set. Try to do at least 5 sets.

Then switch sides, right leg to your left arm (elbow) ext. 

Congratulations! You’ve successfully completed the bird dog!

7. Cross Body V Up

Many people swear by this commonly used oblique exercise and consider it to be the integral part of their workout routine. 

To begin with, you should lie face up in a starfish position. Your legs should be extended as well as your right arm.  

Extend your left arm straight out to the left side of your hip. Squeeze your abs to engage your core and lower back.

Next, you should lift your left leg, right arm and upper back off the ground. Your right arm should meet with your left foot (or ankle if you are a beginner). 

To help you keep balance feel free to use your left arm.

Repeat this movement for 10 seconds then get back to the starting position and switch sides. Try to do as many reps as you can (around 15 for each side should be enough). Do at least 5 sets.

8. Forearm Side Plank Pulse

Again, an amazing workout for your obliques.

To start with, put yourself in a side plank position by propping your body up on your left forearm. Your elbow should be under your shoulder, and your hand should be in front of you.

Extend both of your legs, and bring your right foot atop of your left one. Next, squeeze your abs and glutes to bring your hips upwards. 

Put your right arm over your head, or if that is too difficult for you put it on your left hip (or the right hip if started with the opposite side). Your shoulders, hips and feet should all be in a straight line, but not parallel to the floor.

Slowly push your hips towards the ground, while keeping your core tight and your back flat. Hold for a couple of seconds. Then, you should lift your hips back up. 

Repeat this for a number of reps that you are most comfortable with or just do 10 of them per set. 

Try to do at least 5 sets on one side, before switching to the opposite side.

9. Straight Leg Pulse

This exercise is similar to a bicycle crunch one. The position where you start from is the same.

Once you’ve got into the starting pose, you should lift your left leg straight up. Extend your left arm to the side, and pull your right one towards your left foot while moving your torso a few inches up.

Slowly and gently push your upper body and your one hand (the right in this case) towards your left ankle.

To this motion for 20-30 seconds and then switch to the other side. To fully engage your core repeat this exercise in sets of at least 5.

This amazing oblique workout can be done at the privacy of your own home.


Do Oblique Exercises Widen Your Waist?

Oblique exercises are the best for the area around your waist.

Well, they kind of can widen your waist, but only with muscle, if you do them correctly. Having a six pack on your stomach and a flabby waist might not be the look you were going for. 

That’s why you should consider doing oblique exercises. If possible try to make them a regular part of your workout routine.

The Bottom Line

Oblique exercises are a great way to get rid of that flabby waist and to increase your obliques. A truly great type of exercise that can and should be a regular part of your workout routine.

Oblique exercises are great because they target various groups of muscles on your body. You should try to do at least 10 reps with most of the exercises that we’ve talked about. 

Take breaks between sets, of about around 30 seconds. 

There are a lot of oblique exercises still out there and they are all a couple of mouse clicks away. 

So, don’t be lazy, click with your mouse for a couple of seconds, do your research and then start doing the oblique exercises that you feel are best suited for your goals!


  1. https://www.stack.com/a/oblique-workouts
  2. https://www.pilatesfitness.com.sg/important-strong-obliques/
  3. https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a20694849/bicycle-crunch/ 
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3201064/ 
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