Obliques—aka your side-core muscles—are notoriously difficult to hit, but they're key in developing a strong core. And a strong core is key for, well, pretty much everything, from improving posture to preventing injury. "Abs are connected to every part of your body," says Sydney Lotuaco, a dancer and trainer. In this week's episode of Trainer of the Month Club, she takes us through a 10-minute oblique workout that will fire up your core and stabilize your waistline.
While twisting and turning is one way to fire up your obliques, there are other important things to consider when strengthening that side body. To target the area, be sure to be mindful about the way your muscles are moving, and really focus on engaging your obliques throughout each exercise. Watch the video above to get the full workout, and check out the moves below.
1. Curtsy lunge with twist (right): Start with your feet in a squat position. Bend your right knee back behind your left leg, like you're doing a curtsy. Engage your core and straighten your left leg as you lift pull your right knee to your chest. Twist your torso toward your right knee. Lower your leg back into the starting position and repeat.
2. Curtsy lunge side bend (right): Get to the starting position of your curtsy squat. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows out to the sides. Lift your right knee to your chest as you crunch toward your right knee.
3. Curtsy lunge with twist (left): Repeat the same movements with your left leg.
4. Curtsy lunge side bend (right): Repeat the same movements with your left leg.
5. Mountain climbers: Get into plank position, with your hands under your shoulders and your core engaged. Bring your opposite knee to opposite elbow slowly, and alternate from side to side.
6. Plank: Once you finish your mountain climbers, stop moving your legs and hold a static plank. Be sure to engage your core, and think about creating a straight line from the top of your head to your feet. Don't let those hips drop!
7. Side crunches (right): Sit down, then lean so that your left hip is on the ground and your right forearm creates a 90-degree angle with your body. (As if you were getting ready to do a side plank.) Bend your knees and place your right hand behind your head. Pull your knees in toward your chest and twist your torso so your elbow is reaching toward your knee. Return to the starting position.
8. Side crunches (left): Do the same movements on your left side.
9. Straight-leg crunches: Lay down on your back, with your legs straight out. Place your hands gently behind your head, and then crunch up focusing on your center not your hips.
10. Starfish: Lay down on your back with your arms and legs out, creating an "X" with your body. Lift your right leg up and twist your left arm to tap it. Make sure the movement is controlled (bend your knees if you need to scale). Switch sides.
11. Side bend: Stay on your back and bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the ground. Hold your arms off of the ground and parallel to your body. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground, like you're doing a crunch. Engage your core, then bend from side to side, reaching your hands toward your feet.
Scissor: Stay on your back and place your hands behind your head. Lift both legs so that they are straight up in the air. Lower your right leg down to the ground and lift it back up. Do the same with your left leg, and continue to alternate legs.
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