Aimee O'Keefe

27 Best Oblique Exercises for Men | Man of Many

Oblique muscles are muscles that run along the sides of your core. The muscles are super important for rotational movements like bending side to side. They also help build up the overall strength of your core. Most importantly, oblique muscles play a vital role in protecting your spine. If appearance is something you’re worried about, a strong set of obliques will replace those much-loved, hard to budge, love handles.

What are Your Oblique Muscles?

If you want to perform the ultimate oblique workout, you need to understand why each exercise works. Here is a list of the best oblique exercises for men, complete with instructions and information for getting the movement down.

30 Best Oblique Exercises for Men

This exercise is extra useful as it doubles as a cardio movement that also targets the core, mainly the obliques. The high-intensity exercise will engage your midsection while keeping your heart rate up, helping you to burn calories and reveal that hard work. Make sure the movements are fairly slow, to target the obliques. To perform the cross-body mountain climber exercise:

1. Cross-Body Mountain Climber

If you’ve done this exercise before, you’ll know what we mean when we say it’s a killer for the obliques. It targets your centre core too- your whole stomach will feel like it’s on fire! Always remember, control is the key here. While it is easy to start slipping and sliding around on the floor, keep your core tight and try not to move from your base on the floor. To complete the bicycle crunch:

2. Bicycle Crunch

This one is another killer exercise designed to burn out the abs and the obliques. A favourite among crossfitters and HIIT athletes, the V-Up requires controlled movements up and down from both the upper and lower sections of your body. All this movement hinges on your core, forcing your obliques and abs to do the heavy lifting. To complete a V-Up:

3. V-Up

The hanging hurdle requires a bar and a bench. It’s a callisthenics exercise that mainly targets the obliques, but also targets the quads and abs. You will definitely see athletes at the gym making use of this exercise. The hanging component of the oblique exercise creates continuous tension on your core, increasing the severity and practicality of the workout. To complete a hanging hurdle:

4. Hanging Hurdle

While this may be a simple movement, it is one of the best oblique exercises to target the forgotten parts of our core. It is essentially a side crunch that sees you assume a familiar position. Throughout the movement, make sure to keep your shoulders off the floor, as this creates further tension on your oblique muscles. As a result, you’ll feel a far greater burn, indicating the exercise is doing its job. To complete heel taps:

5. Heel Taps

The humble mountain climber is a great exercise to strengthen the core and to work on cardiovascular endurance at the same time. Another high-intensity exercise, you want to get the heart rate up and a bit of a sweat on. Make sure that your back is parallel with the ground to maximise tension and stay controlled with your movements. To complete mountain climbers:

6. Mountain Climbers

A centred and strong core is key to mastering the Russian twist, one of our favourite oblique exercises if you’re looking to get shredded. There are two ways you can complete this oblique workout. The first sees you assume the sit-up position with feet on the ground. The anchor position of your feet will make the exercise slightly easier, however, will benefit you in your stability. The second option is to complete the Russian twists with you feet together and off the floor. Far more difficult, this movement requires you to steady and stabilise yourself using solely you core. To complete Russian twists:

7. Russian Twist

Kind of like chopping wood but with a weight, this move is an intense full-body exercise that also targets your delts and your quads. You can complete this exercise with a dumbbell or with the use of the cable machine, depending on the equipment you have on hand. As with all exercises on this list, it is important that you focus on keeping your back straight and body rigid. To complete the woodchop:

8. Woodchop

For all those newbies out there, this is a hard one so steer clear until you’ve built some oblique strength with the more simple exercises. You will need a bar to do this exercise, so it’s best to try this one in the gym. To complete the hanging oblique raise:

9. Hanging Oblique Raise

Mastering this oblique exercise may turn you into a real-life superhero, toning your muscles to such a degree you can scale walls! It is a great bodyweight workout that targets a few muscle groups. A compound movement, this variation of the traditional pushup requires far more lower body and core control. Keeping your body stable while in a crouched position is heavily reliant on your oblique muscles. Take it slow and focus on contracting your midsection. TO complete a Spiderman pushup:

10. Spiderman Pushup

This exercise is great for strength and power, and you can use different weights to adapt to your individual fitness goals. While you may recognise this movement as a great way to bulk up your chest, proper form will see you target your obliques as well. By contracting your shoulders and tightening your core during the push element of the lift, you will add tension to your midsection, helping to build strength and size in your stomach area. To complete a single-arm dumbbell bench press:

11. Single-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press

The rotational toss with a medicine ball may already be a staple in your exercise routine and if it isn’t, it should be. A high-intensity exercises, the turning movement as you pick up and throw the ball targets the side section of your stomach, building out your oblique muscles. The heavier you go, the better, however, consistency is key for this one. Try and go for a minute straight without stopping. To complete the medicine ball rotational toss:

12. Medicine-Ball Rotational Toss

Target all the right places with this exercise, which will have you looking firm and fit in no time. Remember to engage your whole body during this exercise and choose a weight that suits your training ability. To complete the offset dumbbell squat:

13. Offset Dumbbell Squat

If you want to target your core and your arm muscles, this move will do both at the same time. Save time and get stronger all at once! Similar to the bench press, this compound movement relies on continuous tension across large sections of the body. Tightening your core at the top of this exercise will allow you to strengthen your core muscles whilst also hitting the shoulder, chest and deltoid areas of your upper body. To complete the singe-arm overheard press:

14. Single-Arm Overhead Press

The single-arm farmers carry is a great exercise that can be used to strengthen the core and quads. It’s also a great one for alleviating low back pain! To complete the single-arm farmer’s carry:

15. Single-Arm Farmer’s Carry

The exercise that everyone loves to hate- the side plank! This move seriously targets the side abs and your upper body, which is why it isn’t easy but has to be done. Different to the traditional plank in that it forces you to stabilise your body using the outer sections of your stomach region, the side plank is hugely beneficial when it comes to building you oblique muscles. To complete the side plank:

16. Side Plank

If you want to take your plank to the next level, try balancing on one leg. The movement is similar to the aforementioned side plank, albeit with far greater tension on your mid-section: To complete the single-leg side plank:

17. Single-Leg Side Plank

In one of the more challenging oblique exercises, try the side plank and add a row for some extra oomph. This variation of the oblique exercises requires you to tighten and contract your core muscles in a compound movement. Be warned, this exercise does require some coordination. To complete the side plank and row:

18. Side Plank and Row

Once you’ve nailed the wood chop exercise, it’s time to give this variation a try- the stance and movement target the obliques like no other! Dropping down to a slightly lower level allows you to maximise your upper obliques. To perform the half-kneeling cable chop:

19. Half-Kneeling Cable Chop

This is a classic oblique exercise you can do with just your body weight, perfect for any time of the day no matter where you are. Once again, focus on stability throughout this movement. The less your rock form side to side, the more effective the oblique exercise will be. To perform the T-rotation:

20. T-Rotation

This is one of the best oblique exercises if you’re looking to increase strength and stability, as well as helping with your balance. Another compound movement, this exercise targets upper and lower body muscle groups at the same time. By keeping your core tight and your movements controlled, you can hit the obliques easily. Make sure you hold at the top of the movement to maximise overload. To perform the single-arm reverse lunge and press:

21. Single-Arm Reverse Lunge and Press

Don’t let the name fool you, this oblique exercise is one of the most serious core-killers out there. This yoga-based movement may seem simple at first, but the slower and more controlled you take, the more effective it will be. Try to reach out as far as humanly possible without losing your form and the straightness of your back. To complete the bird dog:

22. Bird Dog

Time to bring your oblique muscles out from hibernation with the bear crunch, one of the best exercises to attack all parts of your core. This can be quite a tricky movement to master, so take your time and focus on the contraction of your midsection and obliques. To complete the bear crunch:

 23. Bear Crunch

The hip-up or the hip-lift is one of the best oblique exercises if you’re looking to put the pressure on and get the most out of your workout. You may also see a similar exercise performed with a barbell or heavyweight, however, for beginners, the simple movement can be enough. You will also find that this oblique exercise targets your upper legs and quads. To perform the hip-up:

 24. Hip-Thrust

This exercise is just as it sounds, an interesting variation of the exercise ball plank and ideal for challenging core stability. If you are having trouble keeping your body stable, try spreading your feet further apart to creating a wider base of support. The slower you move with this exercise, the more effective it will be, so take your time and focus on core stability. To perform the Swiss ball stir the pot:

 25. Swiss-Ball Stir-the-Pot

Utilising a TRX machine can also be a great way to improve your oblique strength. The banded instrument allows you to rely on your own bodyweight for movements, with severity and difficulty dictates by your overall stance. The pendulum swing is one method for improve core strength. To complete:

 26. TRX Pendulum Swing

For an exercise that will undoubtedly refine and sculpt your obliques, try the TRX oblique rollout next time you’re at the gym. Similar to a regular rollout, this variation requires more control, increasing the rate of oblique tension and improving overall strength. To complete the TRX oblique rollout:

 27. TRX oblique rollout

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