You can change the crunch exercise in many ways. Discover how to do oblique crunches, what their benefits are, and what alternatives are available.
Oblique crunches are a crunch variation where you start lying slightly tilted sideways on your back with your legs turned completely sideways.
After that, you raise your shoulders as far as comfortable.
Oblique crunches are a good exercise for working your oblique muscles. In combination with enough repetitions and resistance, you can grow and strengthen these muscles.
One thing to note is that some people will find the spine twisting in oblique crunches uncomfortable. These individuals likely want to choose more static oblique exercises.
How to do an oblique crunch
Something like a yoga mat can make oblique crunches more comfortable to do. That aside, take the following steps to do this exercise:
- Lie down with your legs completely sideways. Rotate your upper body a small amount so you face a bit more upward.
- Slowly raise your shoulders as much as comfortably possible. Keep your lower back against the ground and your neck in one line with your upper body.
- Lower your shoulders and head to the ground in a controlled motion.
- Complete your set and do the same number of repetitions on the other side.
There are three main things to keep in mind during oblique crunches.
First of all, you don’t want to twist your body too far for your capabilities. You can either twist your hips or shoulders less if needed.
Besides that, you want to keep your neck in line with your upper body to avoid discomfort in this area.
Lastly, make sure you work each side with about the same reps and resistance. This is important for avoiding muscle imbalances.
Muscles worked with oblique crunches
The main muscles worked with oblique crunches are your obliques.
Your abs will likely work to some extent too but you should not expect too much training progress in this area.
Something important to keep in mind is that just doing oblique crunches a few times every now and then will likely not offer too many results.
Instead, make sure you implement the right sets and reps for your training goals and use enough weight to make these challenging.
People who are more advanced with oblique training may need to do weighted oblique crunches with equipment options like dumbbells to reach their training goals.
Oblique crunch benefits
Doing oblique crunches in a smart way can offer valuable effects. A few benefits of this exercise are:
- Stronger muscles: Resistance training exercises like oblique crunches can help you grow and strengthen muscles if you approach them the right way.
- Helps you avoid muscle asymmetries: Oblique crunches work one side at a time. This makes it easier to work your obliques to about the same extent. In turn, this can help you avoid muscle asymmetries.
- No equipment or location required: While some individuals may need some extra weight, many people can see great results from bodyweight oblique crunches. This can save you money and time.
- May prevent back pain: You can typically prevent back pain by strengthening your obliques with an exercise like oblique crunches (1, 2).
You don’t have to stick to oblique crunches to get these benefits but they can still convince you to do exercises like this more often.
Oblique crunch alternatives
You may like the benefits of oblique crunches but decide they are not perfect for you. If that is the case, you can still consider some of the oblique crunch alternatives below.
These work different parts of your obliques, work different muscles, and/or work your muscles in different ways.
- Side bends
- Bicycle crunches
- Side plank dips
- Hanging sideways knee raises
- Side planks
- Ab wheel V-rolls
You can choose between these oblique crunch alternatives by thinking about what your training goals are and trying out a few options to see what you like the most.
Are oblique crunches a good exercise?
Oblique crunches can be a good exercise for working your oblique muscles.
If you do this exercise in a good workout routine and with enough weight, you can grow and strengthen these oblique muscles.
One thing to note is that some people will find oblique crunches too uncomfortable around their lower backs.
If you are in this category, you likely want to choose one or more of the oblique crunch alternatives instead.
Even if you do find oblique crunches comfortable, you can consider these other exercises if you like doing them more. Enjoying your exercise makes it easier to stay consistent.
What do oblique crunches do?
Oblique crunches make it easy to work your oblique muscles in a nice range of motion. This can lead to growth and strength progress if you approach it right.
Are oblique crunches effective?
Yes, oblique crunches are effective for working your obliques. In combination with a good training plan, this can lead to nice results.
Do oblique crunches widen your waist?
Yes, with enough repetitions and weight, oblique crunches widen your waist to a tiny extent. That being said, you should not expect too much in this area either.