Obliterate your Obliques!
The "V". We all want it. We all think we are doing exactly what we have to do to attain it. I've had it. One day, a long, long time ago in what feels like a far away land... I had the V. It was perfect. And then... almost overnight, it wasn't. Waahhh!!! So now I am back at square one. I suppose my wedding weekend and 10 day Costa Rican honeymoon (with all the delicious Costa Rican cuisine... YUM... take me back!!!) back in September can take partial blame since all I did was stuff my face. (You DO know that 'abs are made in the kitchen'... RIGHT??) So, like I said, back at square one.
The three moves I show in this video were always super effective in toning my obliques. I find that by adding the resistance, it allows me to tighten the muscles while giving that slight, sexy "cut" look. Don't get me wrong, body weight ab and oblique exercises are no joke, but these techniques go above and beyond at providing success!
Lets start with cable pull downs. If you want to target the abdominal muscles and not completely focus on the obliques, use both arms together and pull straight down. In this video though, remember I am focusing solely on obliques so I am using one arm, and pulling down at an angle. I won't make any specific weight recommendations, however I will say to use whatever you are comfortable with. You don't want to pull these muscles... trust me, it isn't fun. Pull down slowly, do not let the cable jerk your body up. You should have complete control, and if you do not then you are attempting a weight that is too heavy for your abilities. Perhaps you want to start with a lighter resistance and work your way up. I performed 3 sets with 12 reps on each side.
Moving on, we go to another cable exercise. For this one, there are a couple variations so do what you are comfortable with! First, use ankle straps to connect to the cable. Again, start with a low weight if you've never tried this before. Now, the variation I use in this video is with my knee on the ground. This is a good position to start off with. For a more advanced form, you can extend both legs in a side plank and hold your body up while performing the technique. For a modified version, (ie: for bad knees), rest your hip and forearm flat on the ground. Now, pull your knee in to your elbow, crunching sideways at the waist. Perform 3 sets, 12 reps each side.
Finally, weighted side bends. I perform these in my kettlebell class and I get a lot of great feedback on this particular exercise. Any free weight will do, a plate, a dumbbell, a kettlebell... etc.You may also perform this with a cable if you would like to stick with that machine! Perform 3 sets of 12 reps on each side, just as you did for the other two techniques.
Congratulations! You are well on your way to the beloved "V"! You now have some great moves to add to your weekly routine. I typically train abs two to three times per week, and usually focus solely on obliques every third session. Don't assume that side bends and cable twists are going to give you a six-pack, though. Remember, it is all about your diet when it comes to toning and flattening your belly. Also, a word to the wise: be wary of OVER-training your obliques. Working out your obliques will NOT rid you of the hated muffin-top. It is a huge misconception that to lose excess fat on your waist, you can train your oblique muscles. The truth is, when you over-train, it will actually ACCENTUATE that area as you build larger muscles. For best results, these exercises can be mixed in with your ab exercises until you achieve a desireable mid-section. Once you are clear from "muffin-top" territory, swap out one ab-workout a week for an oblique workout instead!
Feel free to contact me for tips on how to properly and safely perform these (and other!) techniques or for modifications if needed!
Don't forget to stretch... Enjoy!