Oblique Crunch Adominal Exercise

How to Get more out of the basic abdominal crunch exercise

How to do the oblique crunch
How to do the oblique crunch. E. Quinn

Abdominal crunches are a good way to improve the tone and strength of your core muscles but this slight variation can help work the entire core through a different range of motion. By dropping the legs off to one side and creating a twist in the torso, you can target muscles the basic crunch misses.  The oblique crunch targets the rectus abdominis, the external obliques, and internal obliques which are responsible for not only contracting the abdomen, but they also help with lateral rotation of the core or twisting during contraction.

The external obliques are located along the sides of the torso and run downward on a diagonal from the lower ribs to the pelvis, a form a "V" shape. To feel the external obliques, place your hands on your sides as though you are putting them into the pockets of a jacket.

The internal obliques are a pair of muscles that are just below the external obliques. They are also perpendicular to the external obliques. Because of the way these two sets of  muscle groups line up, they work together to help contract and rotate the torso and cause spinal flexion. Because they are so deep, it's much more difficult to feel the internal obliques during movement.

The obliques contract to support stability during movement used in activity that requires the trunk and torso to point in one direction while the legs and feet are pointing in another. Almost all field and court sports require this type of motion, as do sports such as gymnastics, skiing, diving, surfing, skateboarding, and climbing.

To get the most out of the oblique crunch exercise movement, start with small, gentle and control contractions using your body weight to create the resistance. You don't need to lift yourself very ra off the ground to get benefits, simply lift slowly and contract your torso while your legs are dropped off to  drop one side as shown in the picture.

Here are a few additional tips and reminders for safe exercise

How to do the basic oblique crunch

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Slowly drop your legs to the left and let your knees rest near the floor.
  • Place your fingertips on the sides of your head just behind your ears.
  • Push your lower back into the floor flattening the arch and hold.
  • Curl up slowly so both your shoulders lift off the floor a few inches.
  • Hold for a count of 2 and return to the start position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps and switch to the other side.

To increase the intensity of the oblique crunch or to just add more variety you can hold the up position for a 10 count and slowly lower your torso back to the ground in a 5 count. To make sure you are targeting the right muscles, you can place one hand on your side, just above and to the front of your hip bone. As you left up during the exercise, you should feel the muscles engage and contract. By pressing into this area with you fingers, you may be better able to target the obliques. 

Use this exercise as a part of a comprehensive abdominal workout routine that includes exercising the entire core through a full range of motion. Other helpful exercises include 

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