Good Moves

Hate Side Planks? Try These Pilates-Inspired Obliques Moves Instead

Allie Flinn

Obliques have a reputation for being difficult to target. To fire them up, they usually need special attention—which is why peppering some oblique-specific workouts into your routine is beneficial. These side-core muscles are responsible for all of the pivoting and rotating movements you make on a daily basis, and because they're so closely connected to your back, keeping them strong can help you avoid injury and improve your balance and posture. "These muscles help give us lots of that lateral stability and lateral support around our low backs, our spines, and also our pelvises," says Chloe de Winter of Go Chlo Pilates.

Though side planks tend to be the go-to move for keeping these muscles strong, suffering through them isn't the only way to get the job done. For the latest episode of  Good Moves, de Winter put together an 11-minute, oblique-focused Pilates workout without a single side plank in sight. And trust us—it will work those muscles deep down to their, well, core. 

You'll start on your knees with a series of side bends. In these exercises, you'll want to be sure to keep your pelvis tucked so that your core stays engaged as you lean and lift your upper body. "This gets such a good contraction into the side of your body into those obliques," says de Winter. "Nothing really works out my obliques like this exercise."

Once you're all leaned out, you'll lie down on your back for a series of twists. Since your obliques are the main drivers in any trunk-rotating movements you make throughout the day, working them with these types of exercises will allow you to move better off the mat.

To try it out for yourself, follow along with the video above.

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