T Nation

Intense Oblique W/O's, Exercises


Any thoughts on intense oblique work, this seems to an area that I am lacking in



Any kind of overhead lifting.

Any kind of 1-arm lifting.

Any kind of 1-arm overhead lifting.

Full Contact Twists.

Lying Leg Arcs (or "Rainbows").

Good old-fashioned side bends. (though, it's almost a 50-50 split between people who love it or hate it).

That should be a decent start. I'm sure you can search the archives for more detailed descriptions.


I like overhead carries. just pick up something heavy, lift it over your head and carry it around for as long as you can. It can be a couple of DBs, a heavy rock, sandbags, KB, whatever. Just make sure your posture is good and you have proper footwear, especially if you're walking around outdoors on a potentially uneven surface (i.e. my backyard). It's a helluva lot more enjoyable than rep after rep, set after set of different angled crunches and other gym exercises. If you've never done this type of work before, you will feel your obliques the next couple of days, which is a feeling I enjoy.

Oblique work doesn't have to be monotonous.

Good luck,


Deadlifts, press, overhead carry, lockouts, hacklifts...mostly standing weighted exercises.

Side bend, overhead side bend, suitcase lift, side or bent press, russian twist in a hyperextension or decline...weighted unilateral moves.


Suitcase deadlifts. Try an EZ bar.

Why do you think you are lacking there?


dollarbill44, it sounds like you know what you're talking about. Only someone who has actually done overhead carries would know what you do about it. Uneven ground adds a whole new dimension and so does going up stairs.I also have to throw in farmers walks and 1 arm farmers walks. Windsheild wipers are also pretty brutal. Reps are boring. Do carries.



windmills have worked wonders for me, and although I am relatively weak by most guy's standards I have worked up to 5 x 5 with a 70lb dumbell and my obliques have come a long way. as a bonus, my shoulder strength has gone up
considerably along with it.


I have about a 75lb rock that I like to press overhead and walk around with. I also finished demolishing my basement, which meant carrying a lot of debris to the curb, which is about a 75 yard walk. I had some fun cleaning and pressing cabinets and such and overhead carrying them to the curb, which included down stairs and over a side-angled hill.

I'm sure I looked like a dufus to my neighbors, but it took away the drudgery of carrying everything the old fashioned way (carried in front), which would have made my low-back sore. While I can't yet put up some of the numbers a lot of folks on this site can, I've done enough to know that rolling your ankle with unusually shaped objects overhead doesn't feel great.



I was carrying a door overhead a while back because it was honestly the easiest way for me to carry the thing. Worked out great until that gust of wind hit me...


Agreed. Try doing suticase deadlift holds for max time. Works grip, obliques, and traps all at once. I can only get up tp 200 lbs for any appreciable amount of time.


Saxon Side Bends, you don't know true humility until you have tried them....


Is the suitcase lift be the same as the trap bar deadlift with a diferent title?

any pics or descriptions of saxon side bends? I'll give the archives a try as well

I feel like I am lacking in this area mainly from an aesthetic point of view, but also to develope "core strength" for athletics purposes


There are pics of several exercises in my article here:


Stay strong


Saxon Side Bends: Grab two dumbells (start off very light, you have been warned!). Stand up and put them overhead as though you had finished a rep of military presses. Now, holding the arms straight bend to one side making sure your body stays in a straight line. Return to the upright position, bend to the other side. I did 6kg dumbells last night and couldn't get much more than 6-8 reps per side. Now I don't have the strongest obliques in the world but I ain't the weakest either!

There are articles in the archives you should be able to find.


I agree with most that has been posted here-- I too am curious why you think they are lacking. Is it because you can't see muscle there? Don't make the mistake of thinking that "love handles" means you need to work your obliques more. This is just the result of a higher than desirable bodyfat percentage.

Sprinting is great for the obliques, but I agree wholeheartedly with the different types of carries.

You want to be careful not to hypertrophy the obliques to a great extent as it will give you a blocky appearance-- another reason why I favor carries over side crunches/etc.


hahaha i know exactly what you're talking about. except with a kayak.


Sorry, but I had to laugh at the visual of that one.