Last updated on May 31, 2021
A strong core is crucial for everything you do in life—from walking to picking up a grocery bag to rocking a yoga flow. In order to build a truly strong core, it’s important to target each muscle group, including the obliques—those muscles that run along the sides of your torso. If you’re ready to mix up your go-to core routine, showing these oft-neglected muscles a little extra love is a great choice.
To help you out, I’ve put together a bodyweight workout that targets your entire core with an emphasis on obliques. All you’ll need to do it is a mat and a small amount of space to complete these 10 oblique exercises. Try it at home, or grab a friend and work your core outdoors in a park (socially distanced, of course), and feel the burn!
- Time: 15 to 30 minutes
- Equipment: yoga mat
- Instructions: For each exercise, do the indicated number of reps. Complete 2 to 3 rounds for each move, resting up to a minute in between each pair of sets.
1. Bent-Knee Windshield Wipers
How to: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your palms by your side. Engage your core and lower your knees to one side with control. Raise back up to the starting position, then lower to the other side. For an added challenge, straighten your legs. That’s one rep. Complete 10.
How to: Lie on your back with your arms straight above your head and your legs straight. Pull your belly button toward the floor, then raise your right leg as you reach both arms toward your right foot. Lower back down, then repeat on the left side. That’s one rep. Complete 10.
How to: Lie on your back with your arms and legs extended. Engage your core, then raise your legs and arms together simultaneously, ending in a knee tuck. That’s one rep. Complete 15.
How to: Get into a forearm plank with your shoulders directly over your elbows. Continue holding this position, then swivel your torso to one side, bringing your hip down until it touches the floor. Return to the top plank position, then swivel your torso to the opposite side. Make sure to keep your core engaged and your hips from piking up. That’s one rep. Complete 20.
How to: Get into a low side-plank position with one foot on top of the other, engaging your core and glutes. Bend your top arm, then bring your top knee toward your top arm into a side crunch. Return to the starting position and repeat. Work both sides. That’s one rep. Complete 10.
How to: Lie on your back with your arms straight out by your side and your legs in a wide straddle. Simultaneously raise your arms and legs together as you curl up toward the ceiling, engaging your core as you do so. Lower back down to the starting position. That’s one rep. Complete 10.
How to: Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent in a butterfly position. Do a situp as you throw a punch one time with each arm. Lower down and repeat. That’s one rep. Complete 15.
How to: Lie on your back with your legs straight up in the air and your hands flat on the floor by your sides. Lower your legs until they’re just above the floor, keeping your core engaged and lower back pressed down into the floor. Raise your legs back up, twisting up and to one side in a corkscrew motion. That’s one rep. Complete 10, alternating directions.
How to: Lie on your back with your arms and legs straight. Simultaneously raise your arms and legs as high as you can, keeping them as straight as possible. Try to touch your feet to your hands before lowering back down and repeating. To make this exercise easier, tuck your knees toward your chest instead. That’s one rep. Complete 10.
How to: Get into a plank position with your shoulders directly over your hands. Squeeze your abs and push through your shoulders. Lower down to your elbow on one side, then follow with the other side. Straighten one arm then the other until you’re back in the starting plank position. Switch starting arms and repeat. That’s one rep. Complete 10.