Muscles Targeted: Lying side oblique crunches focus on the internal and external oblique muscles. These are the abdominal muscles located along the sides of the waist. They assist in flexing and rotating the trunk.
Exercise Instructions: Lie on your right side with your legs on top of each other with your knees bent. Place your left hand on the side of your head. Crunch up with your side as high as you can, focusing on the movement to work the obliques as much as possible. After doing several repetitions on the left side, switch and repeat on the right side.
Why This Exercise is Important: Lying side oblique crunches are an important addition to any abdominal routine if you want to tighten up your waist line and strengthen your core. Strengthening the oblique muscles through lying side oblique crunches serves several purposes. The first is to ensure the oblique muscles are adequately assisting in spinal flexion and trunk rotation. When the trunk is rotated, both the internal and external oblique muscles contract. Strong oblique muscles provide easier rotation therefore limiting injuries of the trunk. Secondly, in order to achieve an all around strong core, the oblique muscles must be strengthened. A strong core helps with proper posture as well as preventing injury to the back. Finally, the oblique muscles serve in thinning the waistline. Well developed external and internal oblique muscles pull in the sides of the torso. This creates a slimming effect along the waist and shrinks the overall size of the waistline.
Things To Avoid: When performing lying side oblique crunches, it is important to completely isolate the oblique muscle. In order to do this, it is necessary to avoid allowing other muscles to interfere with the oblique muscle contraction. To do this properly, first ensure that your overall body position is properly positioned. Be sure that your legs are slightly bent at the knee and you are lying completely on your side. Do not allow yourself to roll too far forward or too far onto your back. Doing this will involve a wide variety of other muscles which will take the contraction off of the oblique muscles. Do not pull on the back of your head with your hand. This will also take the contraction away from the oblique muscles. Keep your arm and hand relaxed as you contract up to the top position. Do not pull your chin into your chest. Keep your neck relaxed. Lead with your chest instead of your chin. This will ensure that the contraction stays on your oblique muscles and you do not strain your neck.
Reps and Sets: When beginning any exercise it is important not to over stress the muscle to the point of injury. Anyone beginning an abdominal routine or adding lying side oblique crunches to a workout should start with slightly lower reps and sets than someone who has performed oblique exercises before. It is recommended to begin with a routine of 8-10 reps and 2-3 sets for this exercise. After the oblique muscles has been developed, the reps can then be progressively increased to 15-20 reps with 3-4 sets.
Other Exercises To Use: Several other exercises will work the oblique muscles in the same way as lying side oblique crunches. These can be combined with a complete abdominal routine as well. Some of these exercises include fingers to heel oblique touchers, barbell oblique side bends, lying oblique leg raises and hanging oblique knee raises. View our extensive database of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that target the abs.