The external obliques are a group of muscles that make up the abdominals. They are located along the sides of the waist. Extra fat can build up around the waist to create what is known as ‘love handles’. There are several exercise machines that can help to strengthen the obliques. Having strong external oblique muscles is also important for good posture and balance.
The captain's chair is a piece of exercise equipment that is made up of a backrest, forearm rests and hand grips. To work the external obliques, stabilize the upper body against the back rest while holding the hand grips. Make sure the forearms are resting comfortably against the forearm rests. The starting position begins with legs hanging down. Bring your knees slowly to your chest in a controlled motion and return your legs back to the starting position.
Dual Cable Cross
The dual cable cross machine can be used to perform torso rotations or torso twists. To begin, make sure the cable handles are at chest height. Grip one cable handle that is on your right side with your right hand and make a fist. Then place your left hand over top of the gripped fist. Extend both arms out in front of you with slightly bent elbows. To begin, slowly rotate your extended arms from right to left and then back to the starting position. Remember to keep your pelvis facing foward throughout each rotation.
The ab coaster is similar to the the captain's chair in that it helps you perform knee raises, however, it takes extra pressure off of the upper body and back. To begin, kneel onto the machine while holding the hand grips. Make sure your forearms are lying comfortably on the forearm rests. With a sweeping motion, pull your knees up towards the chest with your abdominal muscles and gently lower yourself back to the starting position.
The torso track machine works the external obliques as are lying parallel to the floor. The lower body is stabilized while the upper body slides fowards and backwards on a stationary track. To begin, kneel onto the machine and lean foward to hold the handles. Make sure your forearms are resting comfortably on the forearm rests. Position the back so that it is parallel to the floor. Next, slide the handles forward all the way to the end of the track. Slide the handles back to the starting position to complete one slide.
Jennifer Sween resides in Washington, D.C., and has been writing since 2010. Her expertise is in exercise, fitness and cancer and she primarily writes for LIVESTRONG.COM. Sween is a clinical exercise physiologist and holds a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology from the University of Windsor, as well as a Master of Science in exercise physiology from Howard University.