Many people think training a muscle group in isolation, such as the obliques, will get them stronger or improve their performance. However, your brain recognizes movement patterns -- not muscles -- when you train, says Vern Gambetta, author of "Athletic Development." This is like having you squeeze a rubber ball repeatedly to strengthen your hand and finger muscles so you can play the piano better. Since your internal obliques lie deep in your abdominal cavity, they work with other muscles in your torso and hips to perform belly breathing and to stabilize your body during movement. Get your abs stronger by training your whole body. When you do so, you are also training your internal obliques.
Items you will need
- Cable column machine
- 6-pound medicine ball
Kneeling Cable Chop
Set the height of the handle of the cable column machine to the highest level. Grab the handle with both hands and kneel on the ground on your left knee with your right shoulder facing the handle. Keep your right leg bent at about 90 degrees.
Exhale and pull the handle down and across your body toward your left hip. Do not rotate your torso or move your lower body as you pull.
Hold this position for one second and gradually reverse the movement pattern to bring your arms back to the starting position. Perform two to three sets of eight to 12 reps. Switch your leg position and face the opposite direction when you chop from your left shoulder to your right hip.
Kneeling Cable Lift
Set the height of the handle of the cable column machine to the lowest level. Grab the handle with both hands and kneel on the ground on your right knee with your right shoulder facing the handle. Keep your left leg bent at about 90 degrees.
Exhale and pull the handle up and across your body from your right hip to your left shoulder. Do not rotate your torso and keep your lower body still.
Hold the end position for one second and gradually reverse the movement pattern to bring your arms back to the starting position. Perform two to three sets of eight to 12 reps. Switch your leg position and face the opposite direction when you lift from your left hip to your right shoulder.
Medicine Ball Push Pass
Stand in front of a sturdy wall about 8 to 10 feet away. Hold a 6-pound medicine ball near your chest like a basketball pass.
Exhale and step forward with your left foot and push the ball at the wall at the same time.
Catch the ball after it bounces off the wall and then on the ground once. Repeat the movement pattern as fast as you can. Perform two to four sets of 10 to 12 reps. Use your opposite leg to step forward on every other set.
Situp With Rotation
Lie on the ground on your back with your legs bent and your feet on the ground about hip-width apart. Extend your arms on the ground so your head is between your biceps.
Exhale and lift your shoulders off the ground. Reach your hands toward your left knee by turning your torso to your left as much as needed.
Inhale and lower your body back to the ground. Repeat the movement pattern on the opposite side. Alternate the rotation with each repetition. Do two to three sets of 10 to 16 reps total.
- In all exercises, perform an extra on the side that feels less coordinated or stable than the other side, suggests physical therapist Gray Cook, author of "Athletic Body in Balance." Continue to do so until both sides feel relatively equal.
- Athletic Body in Balance; Gray Cook
- Athletic Development; Vern Gambetta
- Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images