Muscles Targeted: Seated oblique barbell twists are great for targeting and strengthening the oblique muscles which are also referred to as the “love handles”. In the process of doing this exercise, the core muscles are engaged and the back is also targeted which helps provide support to the spine.
Exercise Instructions: Sit on a flat bench or in a chair with your feet firmly on the floor. Place a barbell on your shoulders, keeping your back straight and upright. Slowly twist your torso to the left, pause for a moment and then move back to the center. You can do continuous repetitions on the same side and then move to the other side. Or, you can target both sides by twisting to the left, returning to the center and then twisting to the right to complete a full repetition. Keep your back straight and your head up, while keeping your abs constantly contracted throughout the entire exercise.
Why This Exercise is Important: The seated oblique barbell twist is one of the best ways to strengthen the oblique muscles and overall core. Many people forget to train the obliques but they are very important muscles for maintaining overall health and functional fitness. This is an exercise which can be done even by a beginner without much difficulty. This exercise is less intense in comparison to some other exercises like hanging oblique crunches. It’s important to warm-up fully by doing some light cardio exercise for 10-15 minutes before starting this exercise in order to get your body ready.
Things To Avoid: It is very important to have your head stationary with your eyes facing forward. Always keep your abdomen muscles tight and your core in a fixed position as you twist from side to side. Avoid twisting your entire upper body back and forth which will take all of the tension off of your obliques and abdominal muscles. Focus on mainly twisting your shoulders to the right and left while keeping your stomach tight and flexed throughout the movement.
While twisting to one side, exhale and hold yourself in that position for a brief moment before coming back to the starting position. The barbell should not be placed directly on the neck and instead it should be placed on the trapezius muscles located on top of the shoulders. Your feet should be placed about shoulder width and should be firm on the floor as they help in maintaining the correct posture of the body. The back should be very straight before twisting to the sides in a very slow manner.
Reps and Sets: Perform 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions while taking 1 minute rest after each set. For the more advanced, perform 3-4 sets of 20-25 reps. Train your abs 2-3 days per week for the best results and always allow at least 24 hours of rest between workouts to fully recover.
Other Exercises To Use: Adding other exercises to target the lower, middle and upper abdominals is important for achieving strength in the overall core area of the midsection. You can include exercise ball abdominal pull ins, reverse decline crunches and many more movements to get a great workout. View our extensive database of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that target the abs.