How to Flex the Obliques

Tone your obliques using flexion and extension exercises.
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The obliques are part of a series of external and deep internal muscles that form your core. According to the Mayo Clinic, developing a strong core is instrumental in maintaining good posture, balance and stability. In order to flex your obliques, you'll need to reduce the distance between the hip and shoulder joints. Flexion of the obliques is always paired with extension -- increasing the distance between two joints-- of the other set of obliques. For example, when you bend sideways at the waist, as if you were picking up a suitcase next to your feet -- one side of your waist will flex, while the other side extends.

Standing Oblique Flexion

    Stand with your feet hip-distance apart.

    Press your palms together and raise your arms to the sky.

    Shift your left hip out to the left.

    Lengthen through your spine, as you curl your torso toward the right. Imagine that you are making a large "C" shape with your spine.

    Return to center and repeat on the opposite side.

Gate Pose

    Kneel on a yoga mat or folded blanket. Use a folded blanket to pad your knees if you experience any knee discomfort.

    Extend your right leg out to the right and turn the toes to face the ceiling. The knee should also be facing the ceiling.

    Position your arms out to your sides and drop your right hand to the right shin or all the way to the floor.

    Drop the right side of the torso toward your right leg.

    Sweep your left arm up and over to the right side, as you stretch along the left side of the waist.

    Return to center and repeat on the opposite side.

Side Plank Pose

    Come to a table top position on all fours. Pad your knees with a folded blanket if necessary.

    Plant the left palm firmly and roll to the outer edge of your left foot.

    Open the torso toward the sky, as you stack the hips and legs on top of each other. At this point the only body parts touching the floor are the left hand and outside of the left foot. If this position feels very challenging, bend the right knee and place the right foot on the floor in front of your left thigh, for extra balance.

    Stretch the right arm up over your head, extending the right obliques. Press your hips further away from the floor to flex the left side of the obliques.


    • The exercises listed above are structured in order of their difficulty. If you start with a standing flexion exercise and find it challenging, practice only this exercise for several weeks. Side plank pose is a challenging pose that requires strong oblique muscles.


    • Stop any of the exercises above if you feel any pain in your hips or lower back.

      Always speak to your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.

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