T Nation

Tips for Obliques


I am trying to add some size to my obliques, my abs are all out of proportion to them. I'm struggling a bit with exercise selection.

side bends don't seem to do anything. I've been doing an exercise where I grab a cable at about shoulder height then twist my hips as far as I can to the side, then slowly return to the start position. It's worked a bit but my progress on it is starting to plateau.

Also it seems to be hitting my abs more than my obliques (at least it's my abs where I 'feel' it working) which is what I want to avoid.

I already squat and deadlift and I know some people think that's enough for your midsection but I don't really agree with that. If you can get a decent midsection just from those then I'm jealous of you.

So if anyone can advice of good exercises to target the obliques I would appreciat it.



Heavy over head barbell press
Dumbbell shoulder press-one arm at a time.
Lay on your back on a swiss ball or bosu. Grab a 25 lb plate, hold it straight out in front of you (vertical), and rotate it side to side.
Over head squat (I think that's what it's called)


the hardest exercise i've done for obliques is shovel lifts...

you load one end of a barbell and pick the bar up by lifting from the opposite end like you would a shovel...

however, i should also tell you that the appearance of one's abs is mainly genetic...so even if you worked your obliques extremly hard...you may still not like how your abs look afterwards....


one armed farmers walk. take a heavy dumbell and walk with it.


diet :slightly_smiling:


OP: are you doing side bends correctly? i.e. using one DB only?


I don't get it... what's wrong with 2 dumbells?


Lol, well atleast using two would be easier easier, might as well use no weight!


Saxon Dumbbell Side Bend
Vacuum Breathing Exercises


I avoid training my obliques like the plague. Nothing is worse for a bodybuilder than huge obliques IMO. Once I started squatting heavy, they exploded anyways (unfortunately).


Seriously, why would a BBer want to train their obliques? Are you trying to be square?! DO NOT WANT!


Hahaha I see people doing this all the time at my gym, you can't tell people though. Maybe a visual aid like that pic would help them understand lol


Forget it...


thanks for the advice there guys, I already do one armed overhead press and I do feel that a bit in my 'core' i guess but I would like to isolate my obliques if I could. Overhead stuff I feel in my abs as well and I'd like to take them out of the movement.

I don't really understand what you mean about the shovel lifts, I like the name though.

I'm a long way away from ever looking like a bodybuilder, I know a lot of folk think bodybuilders shouldn't train their obliques or they'll look bulky, but that doesn't really apply to me, I'm a right skinny fuck.

My diet is alright I think, it's not perfect but it's pretty good.

And as for doing side bends correctly I only do them with one dumbell at a time, and yeah I've never really understood what that was all about when folk use 2 and just kind of rock sideways. It's pretty weird, anyway the dumbells in my gym go up to 40k and I can do loads of side bends with those and I'm not strong at all, those 40k dumbells are the heaviest I can press and I could only maybe manage them for 1 or 2. It's my grip that gets it more than anything else when I do sidebends.

Just want a movement that isolates the obliques but it sounds like it's hard as hell to isolate them!


oh yeah and I don't have a protruding gut, or a problem with my transverse abdominus or any of that shit.

I don't know where all that's come from.


suitcase deadlifts


I assumed this was the case. Obliques are really the last thing you should ever worry about. If you want to do some ab work that's fine (I think it's a waste of time TBH though) but your core will thicken up and strengthen enough on it's own as you add mass all over. As long as you are doing heavy barbell work; squats, deadlift, rows, whatever, that's the most oblique and IMO ab work (aside from precontest) that you'll ever need.


you mean there's no quick fix? Why is there never a quick fix?

I think deep down I probably knew that already, I do incorporate heavy barbell stuff, and I'm going to do all my overhead stuff one arm at a time. I was just hoping there was some magic exercise that would bring out my obliques - they seem to be lagging behind my abs in terms of development.


Amen to that. I avoid training my waist like the plague just to keep it as small as humanly possible.


It's funny.. I agree with what you are saying but Arnold did zillion rep ab workouts. Yet he had a very aethsetic waist. So how to classify that correctly... Don't do them or overtrain the shit of of them? ha ha ha