When we think of core training, the first thing that crops to mind is 6-pack abs; however, many individuals neglect those important muscles at either side… the obliques! The obliques work as stabilziers and are involved in all major compound movements to some degree, not only will training these muscles allow you to increase the amount of weight that you lift in squat and dead lift variations, but also improve the aesthetics of your abdominal region dramatically. So, if you’re looking to develop a narrow waste or a v-shaped body, focusing on the obliques is a great place to start!

Research has shown that training the obliques directly through crunch variations  is actually quite ineffective. To strengthen, build muscle, or tone the obliques, you will receive far better results, utalizing the 3 exercises below:

– The front squat


– Olympic lift variations, particullary the hang clean

– Russian Twists- Insert Russian

The best oblique exercises and diet for lean abs

Oblique muscle fibres are mainly fast twitch, this means that they prefer and respond better to heavy weights and low rep training. You can achieve the same results by doing 1000s of crunshes, but it will take up a lot more of your prescious time. The three exercises below, if perfromed correctly create amazing obliques, I can always tell on a beach who uses front squats and olympic lifting variations in their training.

The best oblique exercises for visible results:

The front squat

Preperation- Rest the barbell across your shoulders, pull the elbows high and to the front to create a groove on the shoulder where the bar can sit, bend the elbows so you can grab the bar over the top.

Execution- Break at the knees first, while allowing hips to bend back behind and down, keep the back straight and allow the knees to travel in line with the toes. Descend as low as possible while mainitnaing a striaght back, reutrn and repeat.

Tip- Keep the elbows high to ensure the torso is as horizontal as possible

The Hang Clean

Preparation – Stand with the barbell with an over hand grip slightly wider than shoulder width. Feet should be hip’s width apart or slightly wider. Bend the knees and hips so the barbell sits mid-thigh. The shoulders sit over the bar with a neutral spine. Arms are straight with the elbows pointed along bar.

Execution- Jump upward extending the body. Shrug shoulders and pull barbell upward with arms allowing elbows to flex out to sides, keeping bar close to body. Quickly pull the body under the bar, rotating elbows around bar. Catch bar on shoulders just before the knees bend to 90 degrees and then assume the front squat position above


Tip – The key is to keep the bar as close as possible to the body

young woman doing a front squat to train the obliques and get lean abs

Russian Twists

Preperation – Sit on the floor with your knees and hips bent at 90 degrees, hold the weight out in front of the body, the spine should be neutral and the body at 45 degrees from the floor.

Execution –  Aggresivly twist your torso to the left as far as possible, keeping the lower body in position, then reverse the motion to the right

Tip- Form is key on this exercise, so start with a light weight and build up slowly

The Program

To get the most out of these lifts try intergrating the following session plan into your training routine.

Phase 1- accumulation phase

This phases last 4 weeks and should be completed every fifth day.

program to follow and integrate the best oblique exercises into your workout

Phase 2- Intensification phase

This phases lasts 4 weeks and should be completed every seventh day

– As the reps per set are reduced, you need to increase the weight from your 6 to 8 rep max by around 10%+

advanced program with the best 4 oblique exercises

The Six-pack Diet Plan

Now that you’re training effectively, there is one other critical element… your nutrition. If you eat the wrong food at the wrong time, those obliques will be permanently covered in a layer of fat. So here is a great outline that will have you stripping fat in no time. Follow the guidelines for 8 weeks and watch those obliques come to life.

diet plan to achieve lean abs


Good luck and let me know how your obliques look after 8 weeks!

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


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Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans