THE FLAT-STOMACH WORK OUT
Domlur, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
Getting a flat stomach is the top priority for most fitness enthusiasts. The question is which are the muscles that need to be worked on to give you a “celebrity belly”? Here is where the external oblique muscles come to picture.
The external oblique muscles are a pair of broad, thin and superficial muscles present along the sides of your torso. These muscles perform lateral flexion and rotation of the trunk also known as a side bend. Strengthening these muscles strengthens the core region of your body, which means your abs and lower back are strengthened giving you the cherished tone and lean look.
Work out exercises for the External Obliques
Basic Oblique Exercises
• Lie on your right side on a gym mat or soft surface. Lift your body off the mat with only the right forearm and outer side of the right foot in contact with the ground. The right elbow should be directly under the right shoulder. Keep the body erect by drawing the shoulder blades downward and backward and squeezing the butt muscles together. The hips should not drop at any point of the exercise.
• Hold this position for 15 seconds. Continue breathing in a relaxed manner. Keep the body in a straight line at all times.
• Do 3 sets of 15 second hold with 15 second rest in between.
• Lie on your back with knees bent and hands placed at the back of the head. Aim to touch your right knee with your left elbow by lifting your upper back up and sideways from the ground. A common mistake for beginners is crunching the neck instead of the abdominal section. Fix this problem by touching the roof of the mouth with your tongue. This tenses the muscles around the neck and prevents misalignment of the cervical spine.
• There should be some burn felt in the left oblique area but there should never be an incidence of pain throughout the exercise.
• Return to the starting position. Do a side crunch towards the other side. This time try to touch the left knee with your right elbow. This counts as 1 repetition. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions with 1 minute rests in between.
• Stand tall with the feet hip-width apart. Draw your shoulder blades back and down. Clench your butt muscles together. Suck in your gut as if you are about to be punched. Make a double chin and look straight. This position should be maintained to ensure effectiveness of the workout.
• Bend sideways to the right. Bend as the body permits. Do not bend to the point of pain.
• Return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times. Bend sideways to the left for 10 repetitions. 3 sets of 10 repetitions with 30 seconds of rest in between are ideal.
Advanced Oblique Exercises
• Lie down on a mat with knees bent and hands behind the head. Press your lower back against the ground. Tighten the abdominal muscles while maintaining a relaxed breathing pattern.
• Raise both legs by straightening the right leg and drawing the bent left leg towards the torso. Simultaneously do a side crunch to the left with the aim of touching left knee with the right elbow. Exhale with every elbow to knee motion to prevent excessive rise in blood pressure. Pain should not be a part of the exercise.
• Immediately reverse the movement. Straighten the left leg and bend the right leg. Do a crunch to the right with the aim of touching the right knee with left elbow. This counts as a repetition. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions with 45 second rests in between.
2.Side plank with a knee pull:
Start by supporting your body with one arm. The other arm is raised straight up in the air (the obliques are stretched out and isolated). Sway the feet until the top foot is in front of the bottom foot. Bring the bottom foot as far as possible into the chest area. The body is kept straight. Hold the position where the knee is in the chest for 1 second and then repeat the movement. Perform 15 reps per side or as many as the body permits.