Oblique crunches are a great exercise for anyone looking to build a strong core. It is a callisthenics exercise that primarily targets the obliques. Oblique crunches work on and strengthen the transverse abdominous, obliques, and back muscles.
The oblique muscles are a part of the entire picture of your core but they are often neglected by exercisers. Strong oblique muscles are crucial to core strength as they help you bend side to side, and rotate left and right. They also help in stabilizing and protecting your spine. To have a strong core, tight tummy, and a strong, stable back, it is very important for your obliques to work in harmony with your abdominal muscles. It also improves the lateral stability of the core. Hence, training the oblique muscles is crucial.
Oblique crunches are one of the most effective exercises to perform when looking to strengthen and stabilize the obliques and the core. In this article, we will talk about how to do oblique crunches, oblique crunches benefits, and easier as well as challenging variations of oblique crunches.
How To Do Oblique Crunches
It is very important to perform exercises with the right form to prevent injuries as well as to get the maximum benefit from the exercise. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do oblique crunches with good form.
- To begin, lie down flat on the floor or on a mat. Bend your knees and plant your feet firmly on the ground.
- Bring both your hands behind your head, with your fingertips lightly touching the back of your head and your elbows out. Alternatively, you can fold your arms across your chest.
- Make sure your back is flush with the mat or the floor.
- Now, keeping your hips firmly on the ground, lower your knees down to the ground on the left side of your body. Make sure that your legs remain together, one on top of the other while you maintain this position. Also, make sure to keep your core is engaged.
- Inhale. As you exhale, contract, and squeeze your abdominal muscles as you slowly lift your shoulder blades off the ground.
- Hold the contraction for a beat while you are in the raised position.
- As you inhale, slowly lower back down to the floor.
- This is one rep.
- Perform the required repetitions on one side before switching it to the other side.
Perform 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions of oblique crunches.
A few things to keep in mind while performing oblique crunches are:
- Always pay proper attention to the form.
- Make sure to not pull your head with your hands or put any strain on the neck throughout the exercise. This may cause unnecessary strain and pain in the neck as well as minimize the effectiveness of the oblique crunches.
- Always squeeze your abdominal muscles. If you do not squeeze your abdominal muscles during the exercise, the movement will not be as physically beneficial to you.
- Make sure to use your core muscles to perform this exercise. Avoid pulling your head up with your arm strength or jerking yourself up.
- Take an adequate amount of rest between sets.
Benefits of Oblique Crunches
Oblique crunches are a simple exercise that has profound benefits. These oblique crunches benefits include:
- Strengthens the Abdominals: Oblique crunches exercise targets the transverse abdominus and the obliques. Oblique crunches exercise uses the abdominal muscles and the core strength of the body to perform the movement, helping in making your core and abdominal muscles stronger. A strong core is very important for good posture, good movement, and prevention of falls and injuries. While working on the core, most people do not pay enough attention to strengthening their obliques. Oblique crunches also improve the definition of your abdominal muscles. Oblique crunches workout is a great exercise to strengthen the obliques.
- Protects the lower back: The form of oblique crunches workout puts less amount of pressure on the lower back as compared to other crunch exercises. Additionally, performing core strengthening exercises like oblique crunches will also strengthen the back and help in avoiding back injuries, especially protecting the lower back.
- Shapes the waistline: One of the major muscle that the side oblique crunch works on are the obliques. The oblique muscles wrap around our waist. Strengthening and working the oblique muscles helps in shaping and toning the waistline. It will also help you in getting rid of the “muffin tops” or that extra layer of fat that spills over the waistline.
- Improves balance: A strong core helps in preventing injuries and falls as it improves the body’s ability to balance. Oblique crunches are a great exercise to work on the core and improve the balancing ability of your body.
Variations of Oblique Crunches
There are many variations of the side oblique crunch that one can try. With these variations, you can lower or increase the intensity of oblique crunches depending upon your fitness level. These include:
- Standing Oblique Crunches: Standing oblique crunch is an easier variation of the oblique crunches. The standing oblique crunch is done by assuming a standing position and is a low impact variation that is great for beginners. Oblique standing crunches help in building strength and stability in the obliques and abdominal muscles. Oblique standing crunches also help a great deal in improving the balance.
- Cable Oblique Crunches: Cable oblique crunch is a more challenging variation of oblique crunches. The exercise includes performing oblique crunches with weight. If you have mastered the basic oblique crunches, it is a good idea to level up and try the cable oblique crunch by selecting the amount of weight you want to use. You can also try kneeling cable oblique crunch.
- Dumbbell Oblique Crunches: Dumbbell oblique crunch is another more challenging variation of the oblique crunches. The exercise includes performing oblique crunches with weight. Dumbbell oblique crunch is a great exercise to build core strength as well as spinal mobility.
- Sumo Squat to Oblique Crunch: This squat oblique crunch exercise is a levelled-up version of the oblique crunches. This exercise targets the quads, inner thighs, glutes, hamstrings, and hip flexors. This squat oblique crunch includes performing a squat in between a standing oblique crunch on either side and combines the benefits of both squats and standing oblique crunches. It is a dynamic exercise for the core and obliques.
Now that you know all about oblique crunches, make sure to incorporate this very effective exercise into your workout routine. You can perform this exercise at home, at the gym, or on the go as it requires minimal equipment. Combine these exercises with proper nutrition and good sleep to get the most out of these workouts.
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