What Are Obliques? There are two different types of obliques — internal and external — and both are part of our core musculature.

Internal obliques

What They Are: Muscles that run from your lower ribs down to your hip and pubis.

What They Do: Help rotate and bend the torso in concert with the external obliques. They can also assist in breathing during exhalation.

Why They’re Important: In addition to rotating your torso, the internal obliques help to stabilise your body, keeping you balanced while you walk, run, throw a ball, or pick something up off the floor. The more stable you are, the more strength and power you can generate and apply to the movement.

External obliques

What They Are: A thin layer of muscle that runs across your internal obliques, extending from the middle of your rib cage down to your pelvis.

What They Do: Each one works in conjunction with the internal oblique on the opposite side of your body to rotate and bend the torso sideways, as well as with the rectus abdominis (the six-pack muscles) to flex the trunk forward.

Why They’re Important: These muscles work cooperatively with your internal obliques, so if your internal obliques are stabilising and bracing your core before you swing a baseball bat, it’s your external obliques that take advantage of that stability to bring the bat around with as much power as possible.

Here are go-to moves for stomach-sculpting and getting strong all over. Below are 15 favourite moves—many of which have helped totally transform the core. Just pick a few abs exercises from the list below and start toning.

Time: 15 minutes

Equipment: None

Good for: Abs, core

Instructions: Choose three moves below. For each move, do 15 reps, then continue to the next move. Repeat the entire three-move circuit two to three times.

1. Assisted Reverse Side Sit-up

How to: 

  • Lie on your side, resting most of your weight in your left hip.
  • Place your left forearm on the ground for support.
  • Bend your knees as you bring them toward your chest, and lift your chest to meet them.
  • Lower back to start.
  • That’s one rep.
  • Do 15 reps on each side.

2. Bent Leg V-Up


How to: 

  • Lie faceup on the floor with your hands folded, arms in front of your face.
  • Your knees are bent, and hovering above your chest.
  • In one movement, straighten your legs and lift your torso up, as if you’re trying to touch your toes.
  • Lower your body back down to start.
  • That’s one rep.
  • Do 15 reps.

Related article: Bodyweight Test to Help You Find and Fix Your Weak Spots And Symmetry

3. Alternating Toe Reach

How to: 

  • Lie on your back with your arms to the side, and legs raised at a 45-degree angle with the floor.
  • At the same time, raise your right leg up and lift your torso.
  • Reach your left hand toward your right leg, as if you’re trying to touch your toe.
  • Return to start and repeat on the other side.
  • That’s one rep.
  • Do 15 reps.

4. Leg Raise and Reach Clap

How to: 

  • Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, palms facing up.
  • Inhale and lift your legs off the floor as high as you can; at the same time, bring your chin as close to your chest as possible and clap your hands behind your legs.
  • Keep your legs straight and your feet flexed.
  • Exhale as you return to start.
  • That’s one rep.
  • Do 15 reps.

Related article: 9 Non-Boring Butt Exercises To Enhance And Shape Your Butt

5. Lying Windshield Wipers


How to: 

  • Lie face up on floor, arms forming 90-degree angles on your sides.
  • Lift your legs so they’re hovering above the ground.
  • Slowly lower the legs to one side, going as low as you can control.
  • Raise the legs back up through center and down to the other side in one fluid motion.
  • That’s one rep.
  • Do 15 reps.

6. Russian Twist


How to: 

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet elevated.
  • Lean back so that your torso is at 45-degree angle to the floor, back straight.
  • Turn your torso to the left, pause, and squeeze your abs muscles.
  • Return to center.
  • Repeat to the right side, and return to center.
  • That’s one rep.
  • Do 15 reps.

Related article: The 30 Day Plank Challenge That Will Tone And Strengthen Your Core

7. Side-To-Side Crunch

How to: 

  • Lie down on your back, knees bent, feet placed on the ground.
  • Slowly lift your torso off the ground, and reach your right hand to your right foot.
  • Keeping your chest lifted, reach your left hand to your left foot.
  • That’s one rep.
  • Do 15 reps.

8. Side Plank Dips


How to: 

  • Lie on your left side with your legs straight and your right leg stacked on your left.
  • Position yourself so your weight is resting on your left forearm and the outside edge of your left foot.
  • Your elbow should be directly beneath your shoulder, and your upper arm should be perpendicular to the floor.
  • Align your body so it forms a straight line from your neck to your ankles, and place your right hand on your hip.
  • Lower your hips toward the ground a couple inches, then come back up to start.
  • That’s one rep.
  •  Do 15 reps on each side.

Related article: Yoga Exercises To Strengthen Impingement Shoulder & Rotator Cuff

9. Side Plank and Reach Through


How to: 

  • Lie on your left side with your legs straight and your right leg stacked on your left.
  • Position yourself so your weight is resting on your left forearm and the outside edge of your left foot.
  • Your elbow should be directly beneath your shoulder, and your upper arm should be perpendicular to the floor.
  • Align your body so it forms a straight line from your neck to your ankles, and place your right hand in the air.
  • Engage your core, and slowly twist your chest left, until it’s parallel to the ground.
  • As you do this, thread your right arm through the space between your body and the floor.
  • Raise back to start.
  • That’s one rep.
  • Do 15 reps on each side.

10. Toe Reach


How to: 

  • Lie on your back, with your feet raised in the air.
  • Your legs should form a 90-degree angle with your torso.
  • Using your lower abs, lift your torso off the ground and reach your hands toward your toes.
  • Lower back to start.
  • That’s one rep.
  • Do 15 reps.

Related article: 4 Exercises To Lose Belly Fat In 1 Week Within The Space Of Your Own Home

11. Plank

How to: 

  • Start on the floor on your hands and knees.
  • Lower your forearms to the floor with elbows positioned under your shoulders and your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Your arms should form a 90-degree angle.
  • Maintain a straight line from heels through the top of your head, looking down at the floor, with gaze slightly in front of your face.
  • Tighten your abs and hold.
  • Do 15 reps.

12. Plank With Hip Dip

How to: 

  • Start in a forearm plank position.
  • Make sure your abs are tight and you’re squeezing your butt.
  • Slowly dip right hip to right side until hips are about one inch off the ground.
  • Return to center, then repeat on the other side.
  • That’s one rep.
  • Do 15 reps.

Related article: 15-Minute Arm Workout To Get Rid Of Flabby Arms And Sculpt Them To A Perfect Size

13. Cross Mountain Climbers

How to: 

  • Get into a pushup position with your arms straight and your body in a straight line from your head to your ankles.
  • Bring your right knee toward the left side of your chest.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat with your left leg.
  • That’s one rep.
  • Do 15 reps.

14. Bicycle Crunch

How to: 

  • Lie flat on back, legs bent at 90 degrees, arms behind head.
  • Bring opposite knee to opposite elbow.
  • Then rotate to other side, making sure not to push your head with your hands.
  • That’s one rep.
  • Do 15 reps.

Related article: A Heart-Pumping HIIT Plan for All Fitness Goers Who Are Ready To Take On The Staircase Workout

15. Deadbug

How to: 

  • Lie faceup on floor with arms and legs in the air, knees bent 90 degrees.
  • Maintaining contact between low back and floor, brace core, then slowly and simultaneously lower right leg until heel nearly touches floor and left arm until hand nearly touches floor overhead.
  • Pause, then return to start and repeat on the opposite side.
  • That’s one rep.
  • Do 15 reps.