Oblique exercises hold paramount significance in the quest to banish side fat. The oblique muscles, an expansive component of the abdomen, run diagonally, linking the ribs to the pelvic bone. They consist of both internal and external oblique muscles. These dynamic muscles are instrumental in maintaining spinal alignment, stability, and providing support to the core during various movements such as breathing, bending, stretching, and twisting.

Oblique exercises
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Hence, it is imperative to cultivate strength and flexibility in the side abs. To achieve this, incorporating oblique exercises into your workout routine becomes a vital necessity. Here, we present 12 distinctive oblique exercises designed to fortify and condition your side muscles. Scroll down to explore these empowering exercises!

What Constitutes an Oblique Exercise?

Oblique exercises primarily target the oblique muscles or side abs, honing them to unleash their full potential.

When the obliques remain underutilized, the body compensates by overburdening other muscles, like those in the lower back, which eventually leads to discomfort and pain. Strengthening the oblique muscles through exercises can effectively address chronic low back pain, which affects more than 50% of the American population.

Hannah Shine, a certified personal trainer accredited by AFA, shares her insight, stating, “Oblique exercises are easily manageable without the need for any extravagant equipment. They can be seamlessly integrated into your strength training or regular cardio sessions. Consistency is the key to unlocking a robust and toned core.”

Let’s delve into the world of the most efficacious oblique exercises that promise to fortify your core muscles.

12 Superlative Oblique Exercises for a Vigorous Core

Lateral Planks

The lateral plank exercise relentlessly targets your obliques, core, shoulders, and hips.

Lateral Planks: A person performing a lateral plank exercise, engaging their core, shoulders, and hips.
Exercises for a Vigorous Core
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  • Lie on your right side.
  • Stack and extend your legs from hip to toe.
  • Rest your right elbow on the mat, aligning it directly under your shoulder.
  • Engage your core muscles.
  • Elevate your hips, forming a straight line from head to toe.
  • Steer clear of dropping your hips.
  • Hold this posture for at least 30 seconds.
  • Repeat the sequence on the other side.

Lateral Plank Dips

Lateral Plank Dips
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Lateral plank dips present an escalated challenge for your obliques. This exercise actively involves your shoulders, hips, and core.


  • Assume the side plank position.
  • Gradually lower your hips and then return to the initial posture.
  • Replicate the movement on both sides.

Lateral Plank Leg Raises

Lateral Plank Leg Raises

Lateral plank leg raises impeccably target the outer thighs, obliques, and shoulders.


  • Initiate with the side-plank position.
  • Straighten your back and direct your gaze forward.
  • Slowly elevate your leg towards the ceiling.
  • Hold the position for approximately 10 seconds before lowering it.
  • Perform the exercise on both sides.

Russian Twists

Russian Twists

Russian twists comprehensively engage the core, with particular emphasis on the obliques.


  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended.
  • Lean back at an angle of 45° and bend your legs at the knees to form a V-shape.
  • Twist your torso from one side to the other without moving your legs.
  • To intensify the exercise, hold an 8-10 pounds dumbbell or a medicine ball.
  • Execute the movement slowly, maintaining a controlled breathing pattern.
  • Complete 2-3 sets, comprising 10-12 repetitions.

Side Bends

Despite its deceptive appearance, side bends demand precise control of movements to actively engage the obliques.


  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Grasp a medium-to-heavy weight dumbbell in your right hand.
  • Lower your right hand towards the knee while maintaining a straight back and holding the position for 10 seconds.
  • Gradually return to the starting position.
  • Next, bend your upper body in the opposite direction.
  • Perform 1-2 sets, with each set including 8-12 repetitions.


V-Ups involve the entire core, making them an intense oblique workout.


  • Lie on your back, facing upward.
  • Straighten your legs and arms, aligning your body into a straight line.
  • Simultaneously lift your torso and legs to form a V-shape, reaching for your toes.
  • Lower your body back to the starting position in a controlled manner.

Single-Arm Overhead Press

This exercise fosters overall body strength and shoulders.


  • Securely hold a dumbbell in one hand.
  • Position your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Press the dumbbell overhead while engaging and holding your core.
  • Maintain the position for a few seconds before returning to the initial stance.
  • Alternate sides and repeat the exercise.
  • Aim for 2-4 sets, encompassing 6-12 repetitions.


The classic T-rotation oblique exercise enhances core stability, flexibility, and facilitates greater spinal mobility.


  • Assume the push-up position, ensuring your arms remain straight.
  • Shift your body weight onto your left arm.
  • Raise your right hand and rotate your torso upward and right until you are sideways.
  • Your body should resemble a T-shape.
  • Hold the position for approximately 3 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat the exercise on the left side.
  • Maintain a straight line with raised hips and body throughout.
  • Perform 3-5 sets, comprising 8-12 repetitions.

Bird Dog

Bird-dog targets both sides of your obliques alternately and can be diversified for added challenge.


  • Position yourself in a tabletop posture.
  • Align your hands directly beneath your shoulders and knees under your hips.
  • Simultaneously lift and extend your left arm and right leg outward.
  • Hold the pose for 5 to 10 seconds.
  • Return to the tabletop position.
  • Repeat the same sequence on the opposite side.
  • Complete 2-3 sets, comprising 8-12 repetitions.
  • For an additional challenge, elevate your knees slightly, hovering a few inches above the floor.

Heel Taps

Heel taps emulate side crunches on the ground, intensely targeting your abdominal muscles.


  • Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and heels near your glutes.
  • Raise your shoulders, bending sideways to touch your right heel with your right hand.
  • Then, attempt to touch your left heel with your left hand.
  • Perform 2-3 sets, including 12-16 repetitions.

Bicycle Crunch

In this exercise, focus on maintaining your back flush to the ground during the bicycle movement routine.


  • Lie on your back with your knees bent.
  • Position your hands on the sides of your head.
  • Lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the ground.
  • Lift one leg, bringing the knee toward your chest

, while simultaneously bringing the opposite elbow toward the knee.

  • Release slowly and replicate the motion on the other side.
  • Aim for 3-4 sets, consisting of 15-20 repetitions.

Cross-Body Mountain Climber

This variation of the regular mountain climber specifically targets your abs, hips, and chest muscles.


  • Assume the high plank position.
  • Raise your right knee and guide it toward your left elbow.
  • Lower the leg back to its original position.
  • Raise your left knee and direct it toward your right elbow.
  • Gradually increase the speed as you progress.
  • Perform 3-4 sets, with each set including 10-15 repetitions.

Moreover, exercises such as wood choppers, oblique crunches, twisting sit-ups, and torso rotations are specifically designed to engage the oblique muscles.

Quick Tip:

Targeting your obliques not only strengthens your side abs but also improves your posture and balance. Therefore, integrating oblique exercises into your routine a few days per week contributes significantly to overall health.

Key Takeaways

  • Oblique exercises effectively target the side abs, fortify the core, and alleviate back pain.
  • Side planks, Russian twists, side bends, V-ups, and heel taps rank among the oblique exercises that intensify and enhance side abs.
  • These exercises alleviate strain on the back and reduce love handles.
  • Neglecting the obliques can exert pressure on the lower back and lead to pain.
  • Building core strength is a pivotal component of a comprehensive fitness regimen. Incorporating oblique exercises activates the oblique muscles and reduces strain on the lower back, effectively mitigating chronic pain. The exercises listed in this article work the oblique, core, shoulder, hip, outer thigh, spine, abdominal, and chest muscles. Furthermore, they elevate posture, balance, and core strength. Moreover, they can be conveniently performed at home, requiring minimal gym equipment. Before embarking on these exercises, it is advisable to consult with a physiotherapist if you have any knee or other injuries.


While these exercises hold great benefits, it is essential to acknowledge the associated risks. Incorrect execution can lead to back strain. For beginners, it is recommended to start gradually and progressively increase the repetitions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How to Reduce Oblique Fat?
    To reduce oblique fat or love handles, engage in oblique and abs exercises.
  2. Which Exercises Can Trim Obliques?
    All exercises mentioned in the article can effectively sculpt and tone your obliques.
  3. Do Oblique Workouts Slim Your Waist?
    Oblique exercises contribute to building muscle mass, potentially broadening and widening your waist. Regular practice, however, can help diminish excessive fat.
  4. Do Squats Target Obliques?
    Yes, squats do engage your core muscles, including the obliques.
  5. How Long Does It Take to Tone Obliques?
    With dietary and lifestyle modifications alongside a moderate cardio and resistance workout routine, visible changes in your obliques can be observed within 4-8 weeks.