For better posture, lower-back support, and to avoid back pain, it's important to strengthen and tone your obliques (side abdominal muscles). We've compiled six hard-core exercises to train and tone this region. Remember that quality is better than quantity. Start with five solid reps and work your way up to 10 or more.
We must, we must, we must decrease our guts. If one of your New Year's resolutions is to minimize the size of your love handles and to tighten the obliques, I've got a few moves for you. These three simple steps require a little effort, small weights, and just a few minutes of your time.
Are you falling out of love with your love handles? One of the secrets to trimming down the waistline is toning up those obliques. Thanks to the slim and trim Joy Bauer, I learned a new move that left my sides begging for a breather. A bit challenging on the body, it's an easy enough motion to learn and definitely gives the obliques a run for the money, which means your belts and slim fitting dresses will be thanking you.
To see how to do the exercise, just read more
Countless crunches and multiple sets of Russian twists might tone your abs, but they're not so great for your back. Not only that, but they aren't functional movement, meaning the strength gained in these exercises won't really help you outside the gym. Repeatedly rounding the spine in a crunch or full sit-up sets the stage for a disk injury. Repeatedly twisting, especially if your abs are weak, also puts stress on the spine.
The safest and most effective way to work your abs is to use them to stabilize your torso against motions. The elbow plank is the perfect beginner ab exercise, since it works the extensor muscles, which line and stabilize the spine, in combination with the abs. Adding leg lifts to your plank, while keeping the pelvis and ribs stable, will take the plank to the next level. Working with free weights, moving from a squat into an overhead press, will work your abs too. Work one-armed to force your obliques to kick into action.
I love expanding my horizons and when I read a new expanded definition of the core, I was quite pleased. I generally think of the core as the abs, pelvic floor and muscles on either side of the spine. According to sports medicine specialist Vijay Vad the core is not limited to the area around your belly button, but is really everything between your "nipples and your knees."
The abs, especially the deep abs, the pelvic floor and the muscles on either side of the spine all work to stabilize the low back (lumbar spine) and the pelvis. All the thigh muscles, which attach to the pelvis, can seriously affect the alignment of the pelvis. Tight hamstrings or tight quads are often the culprit, so keeping flexible legs is vital to the health of your core. Another important muscular component is keeping the obliques, the abdominal muscles you work in the bicycle move, strong as well. They help keep the rib cage aligned over the pelvis. If the rib cage gets out of alignment the low back becomes vulnerable to injury too.
From now on, when challenging your core think about connecting your torso all the way from your nipples to your knees!
How about those abs? If you are bored with your ab routine, or if you neglect your middle, here's a workout for you to try.
This video is made for you to play while you do the exercise. Think of it as a quick little workout with a voice leading you along and a counter in the lower lefthand corner counting down your reps.
So don't just watch. Watch and do. Then be sure to work your abs at three days a week. Your belly will thank you for all the attention.
For a few tips, just read more
If your abdominal strengthening routine is feeling stale, why not put a twist on it?
This variation on the basic "sit-up" targets the obliques. Try it at home or the gym soon and let us know what you think of it.
Move 1) Lie on your back with bent knees and twist both legs to the left until your legs are on the floor. Bend elbows and interlace fingers behind your head. Really cradle and support your head.
Move 2) Exhale pulling your deep abs in to your spine, lift your head and upper back off the floor using your abdominals. Keep your shoulders square to the ceiling because it's so easy to cheat. Really focus on your left shoulder coming off the floor as much as the right one by actively reaching it towards your right hip.
Inhale and slowly lower your head. Repeat 9 more times before switching sides.
Fit’s tip: It is good to stretch your spine and obliques before doing the sit ups. To stretch, lie in the twisted position from "Move 1", but reach your arms straight out to the side and rest them on the floor. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds on each side.
To see how not to do this exercise read more