Obliques strengtheners, standing

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basics here

What it’s good for Abdominal obliques are multi-​purpose trunk muscles, used for twist­ing, side-​bending and core sta­bil­ity (hold­ing the body steady). Everyday bene­fits include:

  • turn­ing to reach for a seat-​belt or to look behind you in a car
  • shower­ing, wash­ing, dry­ing your own body
  • mov­ing things from one side to the other, when, eg, sit­ting at a desk or stand­ing at a work-​surface
How often to do it Three times a week (not every day, see below)
Equipment you’ll need 2 bottles of water (50cl)
2 cans of baked beans (400g)
2 dumb­bells (eg, 1kg)

Note: Because this exer­cise uses res­ist­ance objects (bottles, cans, dumb­bells) to build strength, you must give your muscles time to rest between ses­sions, so don’t do this one every day. Read up on strength train­ing here

Standing, legs wide, dumbell in each hand at start of exerciseBending sideways for boliques strengthener

  • Stand with feet shoulder-​width apart, hold­ing a weight/​bottle in each hand
  • Draw in your lower abs muscle gently and slide one arm down the side of your body, bend­ing side­ways as it goes
  • Hold for 3, then smoothly draw your body back to upright
  • Renew the pull on your lower abs muscle and slide the other arm down on that side of the body, bend­ing side­ways as it goes
  • Hold for 3, then smoothly return to your start point, ready to repeat

Both sides of the body = 1 repeat. Aim for 12 repeats without rest

♦ Try to avoid drop­ping your chin, as this will encour­age you to bend over for­wards instead of side­ways. Find some­thing at eye level to fex your gaze on as you bend side­ways
♦ Another way to think of your sideways-​only bend is to ima­gine you are stand­ing between two sheets of glass, one imme­di­ately in front, the other behind you. If you move even a bit for­wards or lean back­wards, you will bump your head
♦ As you bend, keep your legs straight: you should feel the scrunch through your waist and your hips should stay still

Varying the exer­cise for more chal­lenge

When you can man­age 12 side-​bends with smooth con­trol, you need to move on to a harder chal­lenge. Try these options.

The pro­gres­sions

1. Longer holds
Hold for 5 at the bot­tom of each bend

2. Heavier weights
Swap bottles for heav­ier dumb­bells

3. The lying ver­sion
If you can safely do them, try Obliques strengthen­ers, lying

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