4 Exercises to Tone Your Obliques

Most people want to have well-defined abs for aesthetic reasons. However, it can also have a number of additional health benefits!
4 Exercises to Tone Your Obliques

Last update: 08 March, 2021

In the fitness world, toning your obliques is a difficult task for anyone and is considered to be quite a challenge. But it’s not impossible, and there are various exercises that you can do to tone your obliques.

Even if you’re just doing it for aesthetic reasons, toning your obliques can also have a number of health benefits, so all that effort will definitely be worth it.

Exercises to tone your obliques

The oblique muscles are located on the sides of your abdominals, and the ones you can see are the external obliques. However, there are also the internal obliques underneath, which are closer to the ribs. Both sets of muscles play a role in breathing and torso movements, including bending, tilting, and rotating.

There are several different ways to work this middle area of the body, and it’s even possible to isolate these muscles in order to build them. Below, we’ll show you some of the most important exercises you can do to help achieve this.

Side plank with knee raise

For this exercise, we recommend you use a soft surface or a mat. To get in position, lie on your side, supporting yourself on your forearm and the outer edge of one foot. Then, raise your body and bring your knee towards your elbow.

A woman exercisingo with weights on the beach.

You must keep your body raised when performing this exercise, moving your knee and elbow towards each other at the same time. Perform 10 reps on each side.

This exercise requires a lot of balance and coordination, but if you manage to do it correctly, you’ll take a great step forward towards toning your obliques.

Exercises to tone your obliques: windscreen wiper

This exercise gets its name from the fact that your legs move from side to side. But don’t let this funny name fool you; it’s one of the best exercises to tone your obliques.

Lie on your back with your arms by your sides and your knees bent. Then, rotate your legs from side to side in a smooth movement. Try to simulate the movement of a windscreen wiper with your legs.

Whilst doing this exercise, we recommend your contract your abdomen and tense your leg muscles. There’s also another variant in which you raise your legs and keep them raised whilst moving them from side to side.

Leg raises

For this exercise, you’ll need a static bar at a considerable height. Make sure it’s secure though. You don’t want to have any accidents.

Take hold of the bar with both hands and raise your body. Then, flex your hips and legs to rotate them upwards slightly. This movement will not only stimulate the obliques but also the rest of your core, your arms, and your back.

A woman exercising on bars on the gym.

We recommend that you start with a low number of reps to let your body adapt at first. It doesn’t matter if it’s just two or three. Just be patient!

Sideways crunches: exercises to tone your obliques

You can do sideways crunches either on a mat or using an exercise ball, depending on your preferences. However, the way you do the exercise will vary.

If you choose to do them on a mat, start by lying on your back with your arms by your side, your feet flat on the floor, and your knees bent. Then, try to bend to the side and touch your heel with your hand. Return to the starting position and then try repeating on the other side. As you do this exercise, you should feel the tension on the sides of your torso.

If you’re doing them using an exercise ball, make sure it’s well inflated and that you have stable support for your feet. Then, lie on your side on the exercise ball and bring your hands behind your neck. Perform a sideways crunch upwards in a smooth movement and wait a few seconds between each rep.

Other things to consider when toning your obliques

Targetted exercises are the main way of toning the obliques or any other part of the body, but there are also other things that are important to consider.

If you really want to tone your abdominal muscles, you need to make sure that you’re not consuming too many calories. You also need to make sure that you get plenty of rest and avoid toxins such as alcohol or tobacco.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Staugaard-Jones, J. A. (2014). Anatomía del ejercicio y el movimiento. Anatomía del ejercicio y movimiento.
  • Giorno, P., & Martínez, L. (2003). Biomecánica de los músculos abdominales y flexores de cadera. Revisión y aportes para la interpretación de ejercicios específicos. PubliCE Standard.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.