➡️ Abs workout
✅ The best abs exercises are ones that work more than just one part of your abdominal muscles. Yes, there are multiple layers of muscles (plus soft tissue, nerves, and blood vessels) that make up the full abdominal wall. And even though you can’t see or really feel them all, they’re really important for keeping your entire body strong and stable.
✅ The rectus abdominis is the muscle you think of when you think “abs.” It’s the outermost abdominal muscle, and runs vertically along each side of your abdominal wall.
✅ The transverse abdominis is the deepest muscle of the abdominal wall, which means it’s closest to your spine, and basically wraps around your torso between your ribs and your hips. The ✅
oblique muscles run along the sides of your torso, and there are two sets: internal and external. The internal obliques lie above the transverse abdominis, and then the external obliques are on top of those (they’re the most superficial of the bunch). There’s also a handful of other smaller muscles in this area—what we call the core—that work to stabilize the spine and allow us to bent and twist and lift without hurting ourselves.
When training for a killer midsection, one area most guys forget to train is their obliques. These long muscles—when well trained, and when your overall body fat is low—fully frame your rectus abdominis (aka your six-pack) and give your waist a more tapered look. They are the aesthetic finish that separate great midsections from average ones.
But how are you meant to train your obliques? If you said, “More side crunches,” then we weep for you. There are actually many exercises you can use. Here are seven of our favorites, based on overall effectiveness.
🚨 Cable woodchop
Obliques against resistance, baby. Your unweighted side crunches are a fine move to create some engagement with your obliques but if you always train them that way, then chances are they stopped responding long ago. The addition of some weight will help you reinvigorate these muscles. And before you say it, no…resistance training your for your abs will not result in a thick, blocky middle.
✅ Do it Right: Attach a rope to a cable tower, and move the cable to the highest pulley position. Grab both handles of the rope and then kneel down onto one knee, your shoulders perpendicular to the stack. With arms extended over the opposite shoulder, look straight ahead and pull the rope across your body finishing the movement at waist level. Slowly bring the weight back to the start position and repeat movement. Be sure to keep your core and abs tight at all times. Try 3-4 sets of 8-10 controlled reps followed immediately by a single, lighter set of 20-25.
🚨 Hanging Knee Raise Oblique Crunch
Hanging knee raises suck. It’s murder on your hard-earned callouses, it strains your shoulders and it’s tough to eliminate sway. But for those willing to master hanging abdominal work, great rewards await. By bringing your pelvis toward your rib cage, you emphasize the lower half of your abs. And when you add the slight twist that’s called for on this oblique move, you truly get to experience what advanced oblique work should feel like.
✅ Do it Right: Use the same starting position as the tried-and-true hanging knee raise. With your knees bent, bring your legs up toward your right underarm and hold the contraction. Go back to the start position and then repeat the movement to the other side. Try alternating sides for a set of 10-12 total reps for 3-4 sets.
🚨 High-Pulley Oblique Cable Crunch
Again, side crunches on the floor will only get you so far. You can replicate that motion from a standing position with this exercise…and against resistance, which is likely a missing element of your obliques training.
✅ Do it Right: Set up the high-pulley cable machine by attaching a D-handle and selecting the weight you want to use. Starting on your right side, grasp the handle slightly behind your head, feet shoulder-width apart. Crunch your right obliques hard to pull the weight down and hold for a peak contraction before resisting the weight back up. Do all reps for one side before switching. Perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.