February is the month of love. Love = Great! Love handles = Less great.
Earlier this month, we strengthened our core. Now, we’re toning our obliques. Obliques are the muscles along the sides of your core, which are important in bending side to side, twisting, and protecting your spine. To burn fat and banish love handles, we’re sharing five oblique exercises that precisely target and tone those muscles.
5 oblique workouts to lose your love handles
Remember competing in crab races during elementary school PE? This crab reach exercise is sure to evoke nostalgia alongside the burn.
Your body will form the letter M in crab position, with your fingertips pointing behind you, shoulders stacked over your hands, and your toes pointing away, with your bottom hovering over the ground.
From this position, bend your left arm to a 90° angle, with your fingertips pointing toward the ceiling. Begin your movement with a hip drive and focus your gaze on the thumb of your moving hand, as you draw a rainbow in the air until your fingertips are pointed toward the floor. Eyes are focused on the fingers of the arm that should now be framing your face.
Complete 5-10 reps on each side.
1/2 kneeling oblique lateral reach
This oblique workout may have the word “half” in the title, but we’re going all in! Each knee should be bent at a 90° angle, with your left knee on the floor and your right foot on the floor with your toes pointed forward. (1/2 kneeling position)
Begin with your arms at your sides of you at a 90° angle, biceps extended out, and your forearms in line with your shoulders
Lean your right hip towards the right wall, extend your arms into a T position, and bend to your left side until your left hand makes contact with the floor in line with the back knee. Once your palm is flat on the floor, control your body and lift back to your starting position. Maintain eye contact with the top or weighted hand at all times. (*start with no weight or a light weight until you master the form)
Complete 8-10 reps, then switch sides.
Bicycle with hip resistance
Are you a bicycle crunch pro? Let’s make it a little trickier with this modified exercise to tone your obliques.
You’ll “bicycle” your legs as normal, but instead of keeping your hand on the back of your head, connect your palm with the top of the thigh of your bent leg. Push with your hand while creating resistance with your leg. Once you feel that tension, add in a rotation from the opposite shoulder to the knee that is bent. Keep your hand behind your head as needed to support the neck.
To avoid neck and back pain, keep your back pressing down into the floor. Having trouble keeping it flat? Raise the extended leg a little higher or just bend the opposite knee and place the foot on the floor.
Complete 10 – 15 reps on each side.
Tabletop Torso Rotation
You wouldn’t try to do your eyeliner in a bouncy castle filled with kids, would you? No way! Stability for eyeliner and obliques are imperative. The tabletop torso rotation is a great way to build your oblique strength.
To start, get into tabletop position on your hands and knees. Your hands should be stacked under your shoulders and your knees should be directly under your hips. From here, put one hand behind your head and start your elbow pointing up to the ceiling before rotating to point the elbow toward the floor. You should feel this move in your lower rib cage.
Complete 10-15 reps, then repeat on the other side.
Side plank with opposite knee flexion
Are you ready to feel the burn? Get into a side plank on your elbow and be sure your body is in a straight line from your toes to the top of your head with your hips stacked on top of each other. Lift the foot closest to the floor and bring your knee forward until it’s parallel with your body and your thigh and shin make a 90° angle before returning to your starting position with the foot off the floor.
Shaking muscles? Good! Shaky plank? Let’s make some modifications. To make this move easier (but not easy!), extend the side plank onto your hand instead of your elbow.
Complete 10-15 reps on each side.
When you add these five oblique exercises into your routine, you’ll say goodbye to love handles and hello to a body that’s strong, stable, and toned!