Everyone knows that exercising the core is an essential part of maintaining upper body strength and physical health, but not everyone may be familiar with the exercises that help strengthen the midsection. Oblique twists are one of the most effective exercises that can enhance the body’s core, while reducing the appearance of “love handles” when combined with a clean diet and cardio exercise. And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want a great looking midsection with well-developed abs?
Exercise Instructions: Lay down on a mat while bringing your upper body up off the floor. Lean slightly back and stretch your arms straight out in front of you. Crunching only slightly at your trunk, rotate to one side. At the end of your range of motion, quickly reverse the movement and rotate to the opposite side. Continue to alternate sides until you have reached muscle failure.
Muscles Targeted: Oblique twists not only help to strengthen and reshape the side abdominal muscles, they also give the you a more muscular midsection by targeting all three sections of the abdomen: the external muscles, the internal muscles and the obliques. Some people may choose to add resistance, such as an exercise stability ball, while doing oblique twists. This will add extra tension to your oblique muscles because of the increased amount of resistance being used. No matter how you choose to do the oblique twists, all of the work should primarily be performed by using the oblique muscles.
Why This Exercise is Important: The oblique muscles are the most important muscles to strengthen for maintaining overall health and physical fitness. The oblique muscles assist with our body’s rotation of the spine, as well as abdominal contractions. Therefore, developing a stronger core can help protect the back muscles and the spine, especially when bending, twisting or lifting.
Things To Avoid: It is important to consult a physician before attempting this or any exercise, especially if you have had a recent injury or injure easily. Be careful not to overwork the muscles. Just like our bodies need rest, so do our muscles, so take a break in between workouts. Another important key to a successful workout is staying hydrated and maintaining a healthy diet. This means keeping plenty of water handy during your workout.
Reps and Sets: At first, you only need to perform two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps of oblique twists and as you progress, you can increase the number of reps and sets based on your individual comfort level. To help ensure that you are using the correct form and technique, it is always a good idea to start out with a small number of repetitions so you do not become discouraged. This exercise should be performed a minimum of two times a week. For maximum benefits, you can alternate your workout by doing a half hour to an hour of intense cardiovascular exercise to help burn fat and tone your muscles at the same time.
Other Exercises To Use: The primary goal of any workout is to see and feel results. Therefore, it is important to incorporate a workout regimen that will target the entire midsection and not just one particular area. The oblique twists typically target the side abdominal muscles, so you should include at least three other abdominal exercises into your routine so you know you have effectively worked the upper, lower and side abdominal muscles. A few exercises to incorporate into your workout are decline abdominal crunches, abdominal flutter kicks and medicine ball leg raises. View our extensive database of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that target the abs.