When it comes to targeting your abdominals and working to get a flat stomach, you have likely been inundated with possible exercise options.
There are heaps of variations of sit-ups and planks, there are cardio based ab burners and even those that you can do seated.
But the truth is, that most target the same sets of abdominal muscles – the rectus abdominus and transverse abdominus, which are what make up the six-pack ideal that many people strive for. In reality though, there is a whole other set of muscles that makes up the abdominals that you need to be working: your external and internal obliques.
The obliques are the muscles that run down along your side, in the space between the bottom of your rib cage and the top of your hip. And they are also the spot where you see the infamous “muffin top,” which you may be targeting to eliminate.
And while you can’t spot target to burn fat in any one area, you can work muscles in a specific area. This includes working on your obliques!
Working your obliques not only makes you more toned in the abdominal area, but it helps strengthen your core, working to reduce back pain improve fitness and prevent injury.
Try these 3 exercises to narrow in on working your oblique muscles:
Fire Hydrant – Come up into a plank position pressing your palms into the floor and using your abdominals to keep your body straight, ensuring you don’t press your butt or arch your back up toward the ceiling. From there, lift your right leg and bend at the knee as if you are trying to bring your knee up to your right elbow. Complete the same thing on the left side and continue to alternate either side. Complete 10 on each side.
Side lying leg lift – Lie on your side, legs extended pressing on to your forearm and elbow, hips remaining on the floor. Leave your bottom leg on the floor, bend your top leg to 90 degrees, and with your thighs staying parallel, lift the top leg up. Maintain the even 90-degree angle the whole time and press up as if you are trying to open your leg towards your ribs. Use your abdominals to keep your body stable and prevent your hips from falling forward or backward. Repeat 10 times.
Russian Twist – Any exercise that involves a twisting motion targets the obliques on either side. For this exercise, plant your feet on the floor, bending at the knees and lean back, activating your abdominals to stabilize you while pressed back. With your arms out in front of you, holding a weight or just touching your fingers together, begin to twist to either side, as if you are trying to look down and reach your elbow to the left and the right. Keep your arms engaged and core muscles switched on as you lean back. Come up to rest if it is hurting in your lower back. Complete 15 on either side.
Complete 2-3 sets of these exercises every day and see your obliques start to show up with just 5-10 minutes a day!