Oblique Crunches for Big Gains

Oblique Crunches for Big Gains

To get a stronger core and chiseled abs, there are a number of exercises you can perform. A very effective tool to achieve this is the oblique crunche

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To get a stronger core and chiseled abs, there are a number of exercises you can perform. A very effective tool to achieve this is the oblique crunches. Whether you are looking to get six-pack abs, get healthier, build lean muscle, or burn fat, you can utilize the oblique crunches.

Understanding the obliques

The obliques are divided into two types, which include the external and internal obliques, and they make up the core musculature.

Internal obliques

The internal obliques are the muscles that run along your lower ribs to the pubis and hips. They are responsible for the rotating and bending of your torso in hand with your external obliques. While you are exhaling, they also provide support for breathing. They are important because they help provide stability when you are walking, running, picking an item from the ground, or even throwing a ball. When you have more stability, you will be able to generate more power and strength to apply to the movement you will be performing.

External obliques

This is a thin layer of muscle that runs across the internal obliques as it extends from the midpoint of the rib cage all the way to the pelvis. They work hand in hand with your internal obliques to give your torso the rotating and bending movement. They also work in conjunction with the rectus abdominis for the flexing forward of the trunk. They are important because they work in a cooperative manner with the internal obliques so that when your internal obliques provide stability, they would utilize that stability and turn it into power.

Mistakes when doing oblique crunches

These are the mistakes you should avoid when doing oblique crunches to avoid injuries and also reap maximum benefits.

Not maintaining a neutral back

One thing you should avoid when performing oblique crunches is straining your back as it means you would not gain maximum benefits. You should also keep a neutral spine. You will not be able to put enough pressure on your core muscles if you arch your back.

Lifting your shoulder blades too high

When performing the oblique crunches, your shoulder should be lifted about 2-3 inches above the ground. It is a very wrong move to raise your shoulders very high when doing this exercise. When your body is pushed too high, the effectiveness of the workout is reduced.

Going too fast

It is best for you that you don’t go too fast when doing the oblique crunches. The popular saying “slow and steady wins the race” is what you should apply when doing this exercise. When you get to the top of the movement, you should maintain the position for a while, likewise when you get to the bottom of the move. You are not going to get any benefit from this exercise if you are in a hurry to finish. Your movement should be controlled. It is the same rule with other exercises; rushing through it will not give you a sculpted and toned body.

Pulling your neck with your hands

You will place a lot of pressure on your neck if you pull it with your hand as you come up, and this would eventually lead to neck ache. In addition to that, you will also not be able to place enough pressure on your abs. It is vital that you engage your core muscles as this exercise is particularly for your abs. Instead of lifting your neck, you should try to lift your chest.

Not breathing properly

When you are performing the oblique crunches, ensure that you do not hold your breath. Sufficient oxygen will not get to your muscles if you hold your breath, and this would result in muscle pain and cramps. It is advisable that you inhale deeply when you get to the bottom of the move, and breathe out through your mouth when you roll your body.

Performing the oblique crunches correctly

It is imperative that you maintain the correct form when you are performing the oblique crunches, as that is when you will get maximum benefits. For that to happen, ensure that you roll your knees from side to side, keep your fingertips on the back of your head, and focus on your abs while performing the movement. These are the steps for performing the oblique crunches;

  • Assume a standard crunch position on the ground. You have to keep your feet flat on the ground and also lie down with your back making contact with the floor. For your feet to remain flat on the ground, your knees have to be bent.
  • Next, you roll onto your side and have your lower arm extended away from your body, as this would help you be comfortable and maintain balance. Then, open up your trunk a bit by rotating it slightly back.
  • You should now be getting ready to do the crunch, but before that, place your lower arm inward to make your hand rest on your abs. The essence of this is to enable you to feel it moving when you are performing the exercise.
  • Before you start, ensure that you are comfortable and your upper hand should be placed behind your head as this allows your body to follow the correct line while providing support.
  • Start lowering your head until it has almost made contact with the ground. Ensure your chin is up and also try to imagine keeping it in a line that runs through your legs.
  • When your head has almost made contact with the floor, bring it to the initial position. Ensure that the move starts in your abs. The aim of the exercise is not just to raise your head up and down.
  • You should also note that the move can be small. When performing the oblique crunch, make sure you engage your core. When you are lifting your body and head enough, you will feel your stomach muscles working.
  • When you have completed the reps on one side, turn over to your other side, and repeat the movement. The reason is that you will be able to work all your muscles in the same way.

The oblique crunch is an exercise that does not require a lot of movement, so it would be best that you performed about three sets of 20 – 30 reps. If you are a beginner, you can start with fewer reps and then increase it slowly as you get used to the movement. As time goes on, you can work your abs more and make them stronger by adding weights.

It is recommended that you perform the oblique crunches as the last exercise after you must have finished your other core-strengthening workouts. The reason is that it targets your obliques after you have given your core a workout.

Variations of the oblique crunches

Bicycle crunch

If you can perform this exercise with correct form, it would maximize the recruitment of muscles all through your core. Your obliques are emphasized thanks to the rotational action. These are the steps to perform the bicycle crunch;

  • Get down on the floor on your back and keep your knees and hips bent at a 90-degree angle. Also, place your fingertips at the back of your ear
  • Lift your shoulders and head off the ground, and bring your left armpit and right knee towards themselves while extending your left leg.
  • Then, you bring your right armpit and left knee towards themselves while extending your right leg.
  • Keep switching between the two sides, ensuring that you perform the same number of reps on both sides.

Bear crunch

In addition to emphasizing the rotational function of your obliques, this move also targets your chest, shoulders, and arms. These are the steps to perform the bear crunch;

  • Get down on your knees and arms, and keep your arms extended. Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle below your hips, and your hands should be below your shoulders. The only parts of your body that should make contact with the ground are your toes and hands.
  • As you keep your left foot and right hand on the ground, rotate your torso to the left while bringing your right knee and left elbow together.
  • Then revert to the initial position and perform the move on your opposite side.
  • Keep switching between the two sides, ensuring that you perform the same number of reps on both sides.

Oblique V-up

The side flexion of your obliques should be your main focus here, and also the depth you can attain when approaching the end of the move. These are the steps to perform the Oblique V-up;

  • Lie down on your left side and extend your legs, stack your feet and extend your left arm in front of your chest on the floor. Then, have your fingertips placed at the back of your right ear.
  • Brace your core and straighten your legs, then form the V-shape by raising your legs and torso off the ground and bring them towards themselves.
  • Use a controlled movement to revert to the initial position. Ensure you do the same number of reps on each side.