The Best Ab Exercise for Obliques?
When most people think six pack abs, the best exercise for
obliques, and losing belly fat, they think about long boring cardio
workouts and hundreds of crunches. Fortunately, that isn't what it
takes to get a beach body belly and sexy oblique muscles.
In fact, there are many exercises better and safer than crunches.
After all, crunches involve spinal flexion (rounding forward), and
research shows spinal flexion can lead to herniated discs.
This information has lead me to a long and exhaustive search for
safe and effective ab training.
Last week I stumbled onto a new study supporting my "ab crunch ban"
and my preference for exercises such as the Side Plank. In this
study, researchers examined six common ab exercises performed by
120 subjects to see how hard the muscles were working.
J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2008 Oct;38(10):596-605.Related Articles
Changes in deep abdominal muscle thickness during common
trunk-strengthening exercises using ultrasound imaging.
When compared to other common ab exercises, the Side Plank and the
classic Abdominal Crunch exercises both resulted in the greatest
change in muscle thickness for the Transverse Abdominis and
Internal Oblique muscles, meaning they were contracting the muscle
more than the other exercises.
However, because the Side Plank does not involve spinal flexion and
because it builds abdominal endurance (previously found to be
associated with less low back pain), the Side Plank exercise wins
this head to head battle hands down and is the best exercise for
If you are looking for a new move to add to your total body fat
burning workout, do a 15 second Side Plank hold per side if you are
a beginner. For advanced core strength, hold for 45 seconds per
Click here to learn more about the best bodyweight abs exercises:
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training