Your obliques run down the sides of your core. Working the area helps create a slimmer and more defined waist, something most women want. Your basic crunch routine, unfortunately, doesn't do much for your obliques, but adding leg raises can help you get the figure you want. Include leg raises in your strength training routine along with other core moves for a well-rounded workout that will have you back in your skinny jeans in no time.
You can do leg raises to target obliques without any equipment, which is ideal for busting them out whenever you have time. Hold the back of a chair or other piece of sturdy furniture for stability so you don't lose your balance while doing leg raises. As you get stronger, use a resistance band to increase the exercise's benefits to your obliques. Wear a pair of running shoes with plenty of traction to prevent slipping while you're standing on one leg. Wear snugly fitting clothing that isn't too loose or too tight and allows you free range of motion during leg raises.
To do a leg lift, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your arms placed loosely at your sides. Engage your abs and pull your shoulder blades down and back. Lift your left leg behind your by bending your knee to a 90-degree angle. Bring your leg to the front of your body, straightening your knee, and lift it as high as comfortable. Lower your left leg back to the starting position and repeat with your right leg. Keep your hands on your hips throughout the move and you'll feel your obliques activating with each leg raise. Raise your legs out to the side as well, which is a variation that also works the sides of your waist.
How They Work
Standing on one leg challenges your balance, which makes the muscles in your core work to prevent you from falling. Each time you balance on one leg, your obliques activate, which helps tone and define them. As this happens, you'll notice your waist getting more defined. When such exercises are part of a well-rounded fitness and diet plan, your health gains greater benefits. The more muscle mass your body develops, the more calories it burns even while resting.
As with any exercise, proper form is important while doing leg lifts. This helps prevent injuries and maximizes the benefit of leg raises for your obliques. Avoid arching your back during the move and never push your body to the point of pain. Allow a day of rest between each abdominal workout, which allows your obliques to repair and recover and cuts the risk of overuse injuries. In general, one set of 12 leg raises, done two or three times weekly, is enough to produce results in a few weeks.
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