Standing Oblique Crunches: How To, Benefits,…

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Even if you don’t want to lie down on the floor there are many core exercises. Find out how to do standing oblique crunches and their downsides.

Standing oblique crunches are a variation of regular standing crunches where you crunch downs sideways instead of forward. Additionally, you raise one leg and hip sideways and upward.

Similar to the regular version, the main downside of standing oblique crunches is that gravity helps you a lot with the movement of this crunch variation.

This makes standing oblique crunches relatively easy on your obliques which is the opposite of what you want when trying to build muscle.

In turn, standing oblique crunches are typically not recommended. Even though you could make them work with a resistance band or cable setup.

Other non-floor oblique exercise examples include side bends (with weights), captain’s chair exercises, and (side) plank variations.

How to do a standing oblique crunch

Take the following steps to do a standing oblique crunch:

  1. Stand up straight with your hands on the side of your head with your elbows flared outward.
  2. Slowly move one shoulder as far as comfortable toward the hip of the same side. At the same time, raise the knee and more importantly the hip on the same side.
  3. Return to starting position in a controlled motion.
  4. Complete your set and repeat the same number of repetitions with the shoulder and leg on the other side.
How to do a standing oblique crunch

When doing standing oblique crunches you want to make sure you don’t pull your neck into uncomfortable positions.

Your arms are mainly there to just do something with these body parts.

Muscles worked with standing oblique crunches

The main muscles worked in standing oblique crunches are your obliques and hip flexors.

Muscles like your glutes, hamstrings, abs, erector spinae, and quadriceps have to work to a small extent to keep your support leg and body straight.

To understand the downsides of standing oblique crunches, you need to know that training muscles requires you to work these with enough pressure.

However, when doing standing oblique crunches, gravity takes over a lot of the pressure of the obliques you would work in the regular oblique crunch.

You do work the obliques on the other side but the vertical position is not ideal for this unless you use extra weights.

On top of that, the extra balance challenge in standing oblique crunches could interfere with your core workout.

In short, bodyweight standing oblique crunches are not great for growing, strengthening, or endurance in your core muscles.

To achieve these goals, you would have to do standing oblique crunches with weights. Even then, you can likely find more effective movements to work similar muscles.

Standing oblique crunches benefits

It is still worth mentioning that doing standing oblique crunches will still offer more benefits than doing nothing. Especially if you add weights to the right places.

Some examples of these benefits include:

  1. Can improve muscle endurance: By adding weights in the right places, standing oblique crunches can help you improve muscle endurance or even grow and strengthen your obliques.
  2. May reduce or prevent back pain: Improving muscle endurance in your core with standing oblique crunches can help you reduce or prevent back pain (1, 2). People who already have issues in this area may want to talk to an expert before doing more standing oblique crunches.
  3. Balance and coordination: Standing oblique crunches can be somewhat challenging in terms of balance and coordination. This can be a benefit if it helps you improve your skills in these areas.

Standing oblique crunches are typically not the best option for these benefits but these effects are still welcome.

Standing oblique crunch alternatives

By now you may wonder what some of these more effective standing oblique crunch alternatives are. Some examples include:

  • Oblique crunches
  • Hanging sideways leg raises
  • Side plank variations
  • Ab wheel V-rolls
  • Side bends

What movements you are comfortable with and what exercise equipment you have available will play big roles in what standing oblique crunch alternatives you prefer.

Are standing oblique crunches a good exercise?

If you apply resistance in the right places, standing oblique crunches can offer some positive effects. At the same time, I would not call this a good exercise.

There are just so many core exercise alternatives, both standing and lying down, that will offer more positive effects than standing oblique crunches.

For example, something like a weighted side bend works basically the same muscles while standing but without the extra balance challenge that can interfere with the core workout.

If you absolutely love standing oblique crunches, you could still consider doing them more often.

However, even then, you likely want to implement other effective exercises to get a lot of training results too.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.