When trying to build a polished physique, there are so many muscles that seem to get neglected even though they dramatically affect the performance and look of your body. The adductors and abductors on our legs, the erector spinae in our back and the rear deltoid are just a few muscles you might not hear about too often. Since summer is approaching fast, we’re gonna’ talk about our abdominals today and specifically, your obliques. The obliques are two muscles (internal and external obliques) on the side of our midsection that make our trunk rotate and flex side to side. Think about the obliques as a frame around our 6 pack painting we’ve been working on. Because your obliques are so important in most of your body’s movements, it’s so important not to neglect them and to incorporate them into our workouts. Below are 3 exercises that give you a variety of functions to help build a strong, effective and wicked looking midsection.
1. Suitcase Walk or Suitcase Deadlift
These two are great for fixing imbalances and to make sure when you are carrying awkward loads, our spine is being held up in a safe position. With the suitcase walk, simply hold weight with one hand and walk a specific distance or time (start with 30 seconds each side) Make sure your hips and shoulders stay aligned and that your shoulders are both level with each other. Similar principals with the deadlift, just make sure you aren’t leaning to one side to compensate. Perform it in front of a mirror to keep yourself honest.
Simply standing with your feet shoulder width, put on hand on your chest or head and the other arm at the side of your body. With the hanging arm, bend to the side and bring your hand to just above your knee. Too much of a bend and you could be asking your lower spine to do a little too much moving. Make sure you don’t bend forward, only to the side. Keep your entire core engaged and maintain a neutral pelvis. Be sure not to rock your hips back and forth to compensate for the movement. Hold a little bit of weight if you need a bit more of a challenge.
3. Cable Woodchoppers
Set the cable at chest height with a single handle. Stand 90 degrees to the cable machine and grab the handle with both hands. Take a step from the cable and keep your feet about shoulder width. Holding your arms straight away from your body, rotate all the way to one side without any bending of our trunk. Be sure to start far enough so that you can get about 130 degrees of rotation. Make sure to always keep your spine neutral during this. Imagine if you were in an xray, you would just see your spine rotating with very little bending.
Try mixing those into your ab routine and you’ll find your midsection will start to become a stronger, more athletic and chiseled mid-section. But hey, always remember, that you need to keep your nutrition in check and stay lean if you want anyone to see your hard work!
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