Best workouts to tone your obliques (Image via Pexels/Web Daytona)

7 Best Oblique Exercises for Women

Obliques are the muscles on either side of your abdomen. They comprise of internal and external obliques.

The internal obliques provide stability to the body, while the external obliques give shape and structure to your midsection.


Everyone knows of ab exercises and how important it is to train your core. However, did you know that obliques are also an important part of our core, especially for women?

They are a lot more than muffin tops and love handles. Strong obliques allow for easier movement and better stability in the body. Training your obliques is just as important as training your rectus abdominis.


7 effective oblique exercises for women

Let’s take a look at the best exercises to tone and strengthen your obliques:


1) Sit-up with a twist

This is a variation of the sit-up that engages your obliques. This is relatively easy to do, as most of us are familiar with sit-ups.

Here's how to do a sit-up with a twist correctly:

  • Lay on the ground on your back and bend your legs at the knees, pointing them to the ceiling. Keep your feet hip-distance apart.
  • Place your hands on either side of your head and point your bent elbows out wide.
  • Slowly lift your upper body off the ground and bring yourself up to a sitting position.
  • As you approach the top, twist to your right side as much as you can.
  • Return to the front-facing position and lower your body back to the floor.
  • Perform the next rep with a twist to the left side and continue alternating sides until you have completed 10 to 12 reps on each side.

2) Bicycle crunches


This is a popular exercise that targets the obliques and sculpts them. Here's how to do a bicycle crunch correctly:

  • Lay face-up on the floor and raise your legs up, bending them at the knee to form a 90-degree angle. Place both hands behind your head to the sides.
  • Lift your right shoulder off the ground as you bring your right elbow up and simultaneously bring your left knee closer to your face to meet your right elbow. Extend your right leg straight out as you do this. Crunch your abs as your right elbow and left knee meet.
  • Bring your right elbow back down and extend your left leg straight out. In the same manner, bring your right knee up and lift your left elbow to meet it.
  • Repeat this movement, alternating sides, for 10 to 15 reps on each side.

3) Russian twists

This exercise is believed to have been developed as part of the training regimen for Russian soldiers. It is a great way to apply tension on your abs and tone your obliques.

Here's how to do a Russian twist correctly:

  • Sit on the ground with your legs bent in front of you. Lean back slightly and lift your feet off the ground to balance yourself on your pelvic muscles. Keep your core engaged and shoulders up to avoid slouching.
  • Link your hands together in front of your chest or hold a kettlebell. Maintain the balance on your pelvis and twist your upper body to the left, moving your hands with it and turning your shoulders in the same direction. Then twist to the other side.
  • Repeat this movement, alternating sides, for 10 to 15 reps on each side.

4) Side plank with twist

The side plank in itself is an effective isometric hold for the obliques. Incorporating a twist can help strengthen and sculpt them further.

Here's how to do a side plank with a twist correctly:

  • Lay on your right side and prop yourself up on your right elbow, stacking your shoulder right above it. Straighten your body and bring your hips in line with your shoulders and feet. Stack your feet one on top of the other.
  • Raise your left arm toward the ceiling. Point your fingers upward and keep them in the same line as the right elbow and shoulder.
  • Keeping your core tight, twist your upper body and loop your arm through the gap between your body and the ground. Do not rest it on the floor.
  • Twist your shoulders back and loop your arm out. Lift it up to the starting position, stacked above your shoulders.
  • Repeat this movement for 12 to 15 reps on each side.

5) Forward lunge with twist


Two in one! Not only does this movement include a lunge for your lower body, but the twist works your obliques and sculpts them.

Here's how to do a forward lunge with a twist correctly:

  • Stand straight with your feet together. You may hold your arms straight out in front of you. Holding a kettlebell is optional.
  • Bring your right leg out and place it about a foot ahead of you. Lower your body into a lunge position while keeping your back straight and shoulders tall.
  • As you get into the lunge, twist your upper body to the right, pointing your straight arms in that direction.
  • Repeat this movement, alternating sides, for 10 to 15 reps on each side.

6) Twisting mountain climbers

This is a popular dynamic exercise that tones the core and improves endurance. Incorporating a twist will also shred your obliques.

Here's how to do twisting mountain climbers correctly:

  • Get into a high plank position on the floor. Keep your core engaged, so your back is straight.
  • Bring your right knee up, twist your hips, and point it toward your left elbow, crunching your abs while you do so.
  • Return the right leg back to the straight position and bring the left knee in the same way, aiming it toward the right elbow, crunching your abs before extending it back.
  • Repeat this movement, alternating sides, for 10 to 15 reps on each side.

7) Plank twists

This ab burner is a dynamic variation of the popular plank hold, which exercisers of all ages and levels are familiar with.

Here's how to do a plank twist correctly:

  • Get into a plank position, using your forearms and toes to support the weight of your body.
  • Twist your hips to the right and drop them to the right side of your body, ensuring your elbows are still planted on the floor, but do not let your hips touch the floor.
  • Bring your hips back to the starting position, and twist them to the left side.
  • Repeat this movement, alternating sides, for 10 to 15 reps on each side.

Add these exercises to your next gym session to strengthen your obliques. The best part is that these exercises can even be performed at home.

However, as with any ab routine, it is always better to do it right after a cardio or upper body workout. You need to warm up your body so that your abs are activated and ready to be worked on.

Perform these exercises two to three times a week for optimal results. Don’t forget that your diet is important when it comes to toning your midsection. So eat and hydrate well, and remember to stretch.


Quick Links

Edited by
Rachel Syiemlieh
See more
More from Sportskeeda