More experienced lifters may need to add resistance to achieve their training goals. Find out what some good weight oblique exercises are.
Something that is worth noting is that the obliques are relatively weak muscles. Lifting more weight does not always lead to more results if you are not able to complete enough repetitions.
At the same time, adding these weighted oblique exercises at the right points in your training journey can still speed up your muscle growth and strength progress.
1. Dumbbell overhead side bends
Side bends mainly work the oblique muscles that are responsible for tilting your upper body side to side. You get a tiny amount of ab muscle engagement too.
Take the following steps to do an overhead side bend with a dumbbell:
- Stand up straight with your arms slightly less than stretched and pointing upward. Hold one dumbbell in your hands.
- Slowly tilt your body sideways as far as you comfortably can.
- Return your body to starting position in a controlled motion and repeat for the other side.
The overhead version of side bends makes the movement a bit more versatile in terms of what equipment you can use.
More specifically, two-handed weights like medicine balls and certain weight plates also become equipment options.
At the same time, you can also still use one-handed free weights like dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbags, and wrist weights. For both the regular and overhead side bend.
2. Kettlebell tabletop crunch side reaches
Take the following steps to do two tabletop crunch side reaches with a kettlebell:
- Lie on your back with your knees and hips at 90-degree angles. Stretch your arms upward with a kettlebell or two in your hands.
- Raise your head and shoulders from the ground as much as possible while keeping your lower back on the floor. Reach to the left of your legs with your arms. Make sure you don’t use your arms but your core muscles to do this movement.
- Lower your head and shoulders until you are back in the starting position.
- Repeat the same movement but this time reach to the right of your legs.
- Return to starting position in a controlled motion.
By modifying the regular crunch a good amount, you can make the movement work your oblique muscles a lot more.
One thing to keep in mind is that it can be tempting to swing your arms around. This is something you want to avoid if you want to keep this movement a weighted oblique exercise.
Moving more slowly can help with this.
That aside, you again don’t have to stick to the kettlebell used in the walkthrough. There are plenty of other tools that can serve as resistance.
3. Dumbbell side plank dips
Take the following steps to do a side plank dip with a dumbbell:
- Sit sideways on the ground leaning on one of your lower arms with the upper arm of that arm vertical to support your upper body.
- Walk away from your upper body with your feet until you can put your body in a straight side plank. Hold a dumbbell on your hip with your free arm during the exercise.
- Move your hips as far down as comfortable.
- Move your hips as far up as comfortable.
- Return your body into the position of step 2 in a controlled motion.
- Repeat the same number of repetitions while leaning on your other arm.
If the ground stops you from bending down further you can consider doing side plank dips with your arm on an elevated object like for example a weight bench.
Due to their shape dumbbells are a great piece of fitness equipment to make side plank dips weighted. You can also try to wrap ankle weights around your upper thighs.
A weight plate can also work great because it is flat. More rounded weights like a medicine ball and kettlebell are less ideal for this exercise.
4. Kneeling kettlebell Russian twists
Besides your obliques, this next exercise also engages other core muscles like your abs. Take the following steps to do a kneeling kettlebell Russian twist:
- Sit on your knees with your hands holding one or two weights in front of your chest. Tilt your upper body backward until comfortable and at an angle where you can still do the rest of the exercise.
- Slightly twist your upper body to one side and then the other.
- Return to starting position.
Similar to the regular Russian twist, you don’t want to twist too far. If you have a history of back, neck, or shoulder issues you likely want to skip this exercise.
Compared to the regular Russian twists it is somewhat easier to keep a good posture during the kneeling version.
Another benefit of kneeling Russian twists is that you can basically use most of the oblique workout equipment options that are easy to carry to make this a weighted oblique exercise.
5. Ankle weight side knee raises
For the next exercise, you will also need equipment like a pull-up bar or a gym machine called the captain’s chair. You basically need to get in a position where your legs hang freely.
You preferably want to use the captain’s chair since your grip strength may fatigue faster than your obliques and abs if you use a pull-up bar.
Take the following steps to do a sideways knee raise on a captain’s chair with ankle weights:
- Strap on ankle weights.
- Grip the captain’s chair handles and rest your forearms on the padding. Your back should be against the back padding and your legs hanging, not resisting gravity yet.
- Raise your knees held together upwards. Slightly tilt your hips to the left or the right so that the knee of that side is in a higher position than the other knee. Let gravity do its work on your lower legs throughout the exercise.
- Raise your knees to at least hip height. Once you are at the highest you can hold for a second or less.
- Lower your knees until your legs are back into starting position.
- Repeat but with the other knee in the higher position.
A good pair of ankle weights is the preferred resistance choice for this weighted oblique exercise.
You could also use a dumbbell but the downside of this is that it is easy to drop. Especially when you are tired at the end of a challenging workout.
6. Medicine ball windshield wipers
The windshield wiper is another exercise that can be helpful for implementing weighted oblique exercises in your routine.
Take the following steps to do one windshield wiper repetition with a medicine ball:
- Lie down on your back with your legs right next to each other. Both your hips and knees should be at a 90-degree angle. Your arms start resting on the ground at 90 degrees out from your shoulders for stability. Clamp a medicine ball between your ankles.
- Slowly lower your feet and legs to one side until just above the ground while keeping your hips and knees at a 90-degree angle.
- Slowly return your legs back to starting position and repeat for the other side.
In the standard version of the windshield wiper, you put your legs straight up. Keeping your knees at 90-degree angles is somewhat safer as an oblique exercise with weights.
If you drop the weight it falls on the ground instead of on your body.
Besides a medicine ball, ankle weights and a dumbbell are again the preferred external weights. Other weights can work as well but they are generally less safe.
7. Weighted vest ab wheel V-rolls
The ab wheel is a small and inexpensive piece of fitness equipment that is a wheel with two handles. It may not look like much but ab wheel exercises can offer a great ab and oblique workout.
Take the following steps to do an ab wheel knee V-roll with a weighted vest:
- Strap on the weighted vest.
- Sit on your knees with the ab wheel in front of you on the ground and your hands on the handles.
- Stretch your hips so that your body is in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
- Roll forward and to one side in a controlled motion, preferably until your stomach is right above the ground.
- Slowly roll back into the position of step 2.
- Roll forward and to the opposite side as step 3.
If you do this exercise right the ab wheel should draw an imaginary V-shape on the ground. By using the ab wheel this way you target your oblique muscles more than in regular knee roll-outs.
The most convenient way to make ab wheel V-rolls weighted is by wearing a quality weighted vest. However, if you give this exercise a try you will notice it is very challenging even with just your body weight.