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I've tried for a couple of months now and I just can't seem to build on my obliques.. I have minimal trouble getting and keeping my 6 pack, but I just can't get those darn obliques. It looks really awkward having a decent set of abs and then nothing to wrap them.

At the moment I work on these in the same sessions as my abs.. I figured this was ok as they're all part of my core. Maybe this is the problem?

At the moment I generally run my core workout like so:

  1. Standard crunches - 3x20.
  2. Floor oblique crunches - 5x20 each side.
  3. Reverse crunches - 2x60.
  4. Oblique dumbbell side lifts - 3x20 (20kg).
  5. Bicycle crunches - 3x10.

What can I do specifically to place more emphasis on my obliques and build them up? Should I break up my ab workout and my oblique workout?

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Are you in a gym? Do you have barbells? I found that after all my "abs" work, my obliques finally started showing after I started doing squats. Also, side planks are nice. –  VPeric Mar 15 '12 at 10:48
    
@VPeric I don't go to the gym but I have a lot of equipment around my place that I use - I'll give squats a go. –  Marty Mar 15 '12 at 10:50
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can try the hanging windshield wipers exercise. It targets include the obliques. Steps:

  1. start with hanging on a pullup bar
  2. raise you legs to your arms, keeping legs straight, so that you will look like a U
  3. then keeping your legs together, move them side to side like in a "wiping" motion.

Instructional videos can be found on Youtube:

If you have no place to hang on, you can also do floor wipers. Steps:

  1. lie flat on your back with your legs extended straight out.
  2. fan out your arms to use as support, and lift your legs up without bending your knees
  3. keep your legs together and move them side to side in a "wiping" motion.
  4. use a slow, controlled motion and vary the height of your legs to target the abs from different angles.

I got the above steps from Are Floor Wiper Exercises Good for Abs?
The article also presents a variation of the floor wipers the actors of the movie "300" used.

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There are three exercises in my ab routine that target the obliques:

  • Oblique v-up
  • Mason twist
  • Side planks

The oblique v-up is a lot like the floor oblique crunches, except you raise your legs in the air at the same time you do the oblique crunch. The mason twist is a great all-around ab exercise, especially if you incorporate a kettle/medicine ball into it. However, you may want to avoid the mason twist because it may place too much stress on your spine. Finally, there are the side planks, which you will really feel if you hold it long enough.

Like @VPeric said, squats are another good way to build the obliques, and I've personally noticed a big difference in my abs after adding in several squat routines into my workouts.

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