Most people try to strengthen their core muscles with planks, crunches, sit-ups and reverse crunches. However, if these are the only exercises in your ab routine, you are missing out on strengthening half of your core! It is important to focus on the abs as a whole, including the obliques or the side muscles. It is important to train the entire core to ensure it can prevent injuries by improving your posture and supporting your spine. Training your obliques will allow your spine to retain its mobility and flexibility. The muscles in the obliques allow you to twist from side to side, flex, and bend sideways. Training your obliques will allow you to keep your core strong, allowing you to twist from side to side. Here are some of the top oblique exercises to do, regardless of whether you add them to your ab routine or dedicate an entire session to your oblique training.


Knee to Elbow Plank

When in a plank position, lift one foot off the ground while bending the knee to bring the knee to the elbow on the same side. When performing the movement, ensure that you are squeezing the side and the core before returning to a plank and repeating the movement on the other side.


Russian Twists

Russian twists are perfect for using your body weight, but you can also use a kettlebell or a dumbbell. When you are in a sitting position, focus on leaning backward slightly while lifting your feet off of the ground. Then engage the core while you twist from side to side, tapping the floor on either side with your hand. If you are using a weight or kettlebell, make sure you hold it in your hands while you twist from the core.


Side Planks

Side planks are great for the obliques because you have to engage the entire side of the body to hold yourself up. You can simply hold the position or you can add more variation by doing plank dips where you drop your hip to the floor and then use your oblique to bring your body back to the side plank position. Side plank crunches can also help you work out your obliques and your abs by moving the top leg and elbow to meet in the center of your core.