The oblique decline crunch is one of the most effective exercises to help strengthen your abdominal and oblique muscles. This exercise focuses directly on the sides of your midsection which are also called the love handles. This pair of muscles in technical terms is known as the obliques. This is different from other crunch exercises. In the normal crunch you target the middle and upper abdominal muscles. In this exercise you twist the torso to either the left or the right side so that the oblique muscles are targeted. A decline bench is required to perform the movement.
Exercise Instructions: Using a decline bench, position yourself with your feet locked in at the top. Place both hands on your head. Slowly raise your upper body while twisting your torso to the right. Focus on keeping your abs tight and keeping the movement slow and controlled. Continue this movement until your right elbow touches your left knee. Slowly lower your body back down to the starting position. After completing one set, switch to your other side. The key to maximizing this exercise is to really flex your midsection for a one-count at the top of the movement.
Muscles Targeted: The abdominal area is made up of the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and a pair of oblique muscles. The oblique muscles consist of two types, the internal and the external. The upper and middle abs are targeted very well along with the hip flexors which work as a secondary muscle group.
Why This Exercise is Important: Performing an exercise which focuses on strengthening abdominal muscles always helps in improving the core strength of the body. Performing oblique decline crunches not only trains your abdominal muscles to get stronger but it enables you to get rid of excess fat from around your abdominals when combined with proper nutrition and cardio exercise. Reducing fat from around the midsection will improve your physique and appearance.
Things To Avoid: There are various things that should be kept in mind when performing this exercise. Such things include keeping your neck in proper alignment and breathing out when lifting your upper body upwards. It is recommended to warm up before performing this exercise. Here are other things to be aware of:
- The pace of performing this exercise must be slow and steady.
- Do not relax your abs during the exercise, always keep them tight.
- Do not over do it with too many sets and reps.
- Always watch your form and technique.
Reps and Sets: The number of sets and reps you perform depends upon your body type, level of fitness and level of endurance. For beginners it is recommended to start with lower reps and focus on using correct technique. After some time, you can increase the amount of sets and reps and duration of this exercise. 3 sets of 10-12 reps on each side should be perfect for the beginner. For better results, increase the amount of reps to about 20 per side with 4-5 total sets.
Other Exercises To Use: There are various other exercises which targets the oblique muscles. You can also perform this exercise using weights like a dumbbell, weighted plate or a medicine ball for more resistance. You can also perform oblique crunches without using an inclined bench by just laying down on the floor. Other exercises which will help you strengthen your oblique muscles include hanging oblique knee raises, dumbbell oblique side bends and lying side oblique crunches. View our extensive database of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that target the abs.