Doing core work is satisfying simply because of that burning feeling you get in your ab muscles, but it’s also important for so many reasons. Building a strong core helps with your overall strength and mobility, as well as helps to prevent injury. And that core umbrella includes your obliques, the muscles that wrap around either side of your abdominal area. These muscles are responsible for bending your torso forward and sideways, rotating your torso, and helping provide stability for your hips and lower back.
That said, not just any ab exercises will work your obliques; a regular plank or crunch won’t do the trick. These oblique exercises ahead work the sides of your abs as well as other important core muscles, such as your transverse abdominis (your deep core) and your rectus abdominis (the sometimes-visible muscles along the front of your stomach). In all, these oblique exercises will help you create a powerful core so you can move more efficiently.
Bookmark this list of oblique exercises — including plenty of bodyweight moves as well as weighted oblique exercises — for the next time you want to add a few to your workout. If you’d like to put together an oblique-focused ab circuit, try this simple setup: pick three of these oblique exercises; do each one for 30 seconds, repeating on both sides, if needed; and do three rounds, resting as needed between rounds. No matter which moves you choose, you’ll be feeling it in your obliques tomorrow.
— Additional reporting by Dominique Michelle Astorino and Maggie Ryan