When it comes to the midsection, the abs get all the best adjectives (six-pack, washboard). Yet a set of shredded obliques doesn’t have the same notoriety. That doesn’t mean that welldeveloped obliques aren’t critical to having a great midsection. Ripped obliques frame the abs and complete the entire area. And, no, training obliques will not make them too big — it will make them more defined as long as your bodyfat is low. One of the best ways to build impressive notches along the sides of your midsection is to do standing cable oblique crunches (not pictured). To perform this exercise, hold onto a D handle attached to a high-cable pulley with your right hand while standing with your right shoulder facing the cable pulley. Hold the handle in a similar manner to the very top of a curl and maintain this arm position as you bend sideways at the waist. Hold the bottom position for a second before returning to the start position. Repeat for reps and then perform on the left side.
WHEN TO GO OBLIQUE
Train obliques at the end of your ab workout, after you have done exercises for your lower and upper abs. The obliques assist the abs in flexing the spine forward and training them earlier will fatigue them for crunches, leg raises and other ab exercises, which would diminish the results you receive on your abs.
FORM AND FUNCTION
The diagonal muscle fibers of the obliques run from the lower ribs near your back to the front part of your hipbone. When working together, the external obliques help you to flex your spine, such as during crunches and leg raises. Separately they work to flex your spine to the left or right to bring your shoulder toward the same side hip as in oblique crunches. They also initiate the twisting motion of your torso, where your shoulder nears the opposite hip, such as in twisting crunches.
OBLIQUE ABS WORKOUT
Hanging Leg Raises | SETS: 3 | REPS: To Failure
Crunches | SETS: 3 | REPS: To Failure
Standing Cable Oblique Crunches | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12-15
Alternatives: Dumbbell Side Bend or Cable Side Bend