Blog Fitness Workouts 10 Oblique Workouts With Weights To Strengthen Your Core

10 Oblique Workouts With Weights To Strengthen Your Core

The rectus abdominis (aka six-pack muscles or abs) get an unfair amount of attention when it comes to muscle-building goals. After all, they’re all you see in those shirtless fitness model ads. But targeting these muscles only is a mistake. To achieve a strong, lean physique, you need to target your oblique muscles as well. That’s because training the obliques is key to achieving the “v-taper” look that features a broad, powerful upper torso and a narrow waist. Training your obliques offers more than an aesthetically pleasing torso. It’s a crucial component of functional training (the kind of exercise that helps you perform everyday activities more easily). That’s because your obliques help you twist and turn your body when you need to pick something up, reach for something in a cupboard, or turn around to look behind you. If you’re looking to build strength and aesthetics, then here are ten of the best oblique workouts with weights that you can do to strengthen your core.


1. Cable Woodchoppers

Like their name suggests, cable woodchoppers involve starting with your hands together next to one hip, and then crossing over the opposite shoulder while contracting your obliques. Think of a wood chopper chopping wood but without having to lift a real ax! The cable machine provides the resistance for you to work with.

To perform cable woodchoppers:

  1. Select a cable machine with the point of movement just above your waist.
  2. Set the weight to a light or moderate resistance.
  3. Stand on one side of the machine with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  4. Grab the handle and lift it to one hip.
  5. Twist your body to the other side and at the same time bring your arms across to the opposite shoulder.
  6. Pause for a moment and then return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat on the other side of your body.

2. Weighted Russian Twists

Russian twists are a great way of strengthening the obliques, and adding weights to them ups the intensity. It’s also a great exercise for improving balance, coordination and core strength.

To perform weighted Russian twists: 

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground.
  2. Hold a weight in both hands and bring it up to your chest. 
  3. Lean back slightly while keeping your abdominals flexed.
  4. Twist your torso to one side, and then the other. 
  5. Keep going for a set number of repetitions or time. 
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3. Hanging Knee Raises

Hanging knee raises are an effective way of targeting the obliques. The exercise works your abdominal muscles as you bring your knees up towards your chest.

To perform hanging knee raises: 

  1. Hang from a pull-up bar with an overhand grip.
  2. Keep your arms straight and raise your legs up to the chest. 
  3. Flex your abs, pause at the top and then lower your legs back down. 
  4. Repeat for a set number of reps or time.

Read More: Side Plank Hip Lifts To Activate Your Obliques And Boost Your Core Strength

oblique workout with weights

4. Swiss Ball Jackknives

Swiss ball jackknives are an advanced exercise that works your obliques and abs. They get their name from the scissors-like movement, which involves you extending one leg and arm out while bringing the other in towards your chest.

 To perform Swiss ball jackknives: 

  1. Start in a plank position with your feet on the Swiss ball.
  2. While keeping your abdominals flexed, bring one knee towards your chest while extending the other leg and the opposite arm out. 
  3. Hold for a moment, return to the plank position and then repeat on the other side.

5. High Pulley Oblique Cable Crunch

The high pulley oblique cable crunch is an effective exercise for targeting your obliques. This exercise will help to build strength and stability, while sculpting the muscles on either side of your waist.

To perform a high pulley oblique cable crunch: 

  1. Attach a cable to a high pulley machine.
  2. Set the weight to a light or moderate resistance. 
  3. Kneel facing the machine and grab the cable with both hands.
  4. Pull the cable towards one side of your body while keeping your abs tight. 
  5. Return to the starting position and then repeat on the other side. 
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6. Side Bends With Dumbbells

Side bends with dumbbells are a great way to work your obliques and side abdominal muscles. This exercise can be done as part of your regular strength-training routine.

To perform side bends with dumbbells: 

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Bend your torso to one side while keeping your arms straight.
  3. Pause for a moment and then return to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat on the other side of your body.

oblique workout with weights

7. Farmer’s Carry

The farmer’s carry is an exercise that works your grip strength, core and oblique muscles. This exercise can be done with either one or two weights, and is great for improving muscular strength and endurance. 

To perform a farmer’s carry: 

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a weight in each hand.
  2. Brace your abs and engage your core muscles. 
  3. Keeping your arms straight, take small steps forward for a set number of reps or time.
  4. Make sure to maintain good posture throughout the exercise. 
  5. When you’ve completed the desired number of reps, stand still and hold the weights for a few seconds before lowering them to your sides.

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8. Barbell Rollouts

Barbell rollouts are an advanced exercise that target your core and oblique muscles. This exercise requires good balance, coordination and strength. 

To perform barbell rollouts: 

  1. Kneel on the floor with a barbell in front of you. 
  2. Grip the barbell with both hands and then extend your arms out in front of your body, keeping your back straight. 
  3. Roll the barbell out and away from you, keeping your arms extended.
  4. Pause for a moment and then roll the barbell back to the starting position. 
  5. Repeat for a set number of reps or time.


9. Medicine Ball Partner Twist

Working out alone can be boring and inefficient. Adding a partner to your workout can increase motivation and help you push yourself further. The medicine ball partner twist is a great exercise for targeting your obliques while also adding a fun and challenging element to your routine.

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To perform a medicine ball partner twist: 

  1. Stand facing your partner with a medicine ball in between you. 
  2. Reach forwards and grab the ball with both hands while keeping your abdominals flexed. 
  3. Twist your torso away from your partner while keeping the ball close to your body. 
  4. Pause for a moment and then return to the starting position. 
  5. Repeat on the other side of your body. 

10. Swiss Ball Stir-The-Pot

The Swiss ball stir-the-pot exercise is a great way to target your abs and obliques while also challenging your balance. This exercise is a great addition to any workout routine.

To perform the Swiss ball stir-the-pot: 

  1. Begin by kneeling in front of a Swiss ball. 
  2. Place your hands on top of the ball and engage your abdominal muscles.  
  3. Move the Swiss ball around in a circular motion for a set number of reps or time. 
  4. Make sure to keep your core tight and your body in good alignment throughout the exercise. 
  5. When you’ve completed the desired number of reps, stand up and stretch your abdominals.

Read More: Oblique Stretches To Guard Yourself From Back Injuries

oblique workout with weights

 How To Perform Oblique Exercises Safely And Effectively

Like most exercises, weighted oblique exercises should be done with proper form and technique in order to avoid injury. Here are some tips for performing oblique exercises safely and effectively: 

Choosing A Weight

Isolating your obliques means you don’t need a lot of weight. Unlike compound exercises that involve multiple muscle groups, oblique exercises require you to work only one side of your body at a time. The strength of the muscles involved is much less than other exercises.

Choose a weight that will challenge your muscles without putting too much strain on them. Ego lifting, which means using more weight than you can safely handle just to show off, can result in serious injury.

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A good way to determine the right weight is to perform a few reps using a lighter weight. If you can perform 12 reps with good form, then you can increase the weight.


Proper breathing is essential for any exercise (3), including oblique exercises. It’s important to maintain a steady rhythm of inhaling and exhaling as you move through the exercise. Inhale when you are contracting the muscle and exhale when you are extending. Doing this helps to maximize your performance while avoiding any potential hyperventilation issues.

Don’t fall into the trap of bracing by holding your breath, as this can cause an increase in blood pressure and put unnecessary strain on your body. 

Building A Mind-Muscle Connection

Building a mind-muscle connection is an important part of any exercise routine (4), and oblique exercises are no exception. 

Here’s how to do this: 

  1. Visualize the muscle you are targeting 
  2. Focus on contracting the muscle while performing the exercise 
  3. Breathe evenly, maintaining the connection between your breath and movement 
  4. Feel the muscle working as you move through each rep. 
  5. By becoming aware of how your body moves and feels during oblique exercises, you will be able to focus on proper form while engaging the right muscles. 

Rest And Recovery

Doing 100 sit ups and crunches every day won’t give you the best results. Like any other muscle group, your obliques need rest and recovery in order to grow. Your risk overuse injuries if you don’t allow your muscles enough time to rest. Aim for at least 48 hours of rest between oblique workouts and make sure that you’re getting plenty of sleep and eating a balanced diet.

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oblique workout with weights

The Role Of Diet

No amount of exercise will give you abs if your diet isn’t on point. Everyone has abs; whether they are visible or not depends on your body composition. When you have a higher percentage of body fat, your abs will be less visible. The best way to reduce body fat is through proper nutrition and regular exercise.

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The link between diet and abdominal muscles is complex. However, research has shown that eating a diet low in sugar and processed foods, as well as one rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help reduce body fat (6).

With a lower body fat percentage, your abs will be more visible. Adding weighted oblique and ab exercises to a healthy diet can help further tone and define your abdominal muscles. 

The Role Of Lifestyle Factors

Certain lifestyles contribute to a higher percentage of body fat, and a higher waist circumference.  These lifestyle factors include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and not getting enough sleep. 

Here’s how:

  • Smoking –  Smoking can lead to an increase in appetite and lower metabolism, both of which can contribute to weight gain (2).
  • Alcohol Consumption – Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to an increase in calories and cause weight gain (1). Furthermore, you’re more likely to make unhealthy food choices when you are under the influence of alcohol.
  • Lack of Sleep – Not getting enough sleep can have a negative effect on both physical and mental health. Not getting enough sleep can increase your cortisol levels, which can lead to an increase in appetite and cause weight gain (5). When you’re fatigued because of poor sleep quality, you’re less likely to exercise.

By managing these lifestyle factors, you can help reduce your body fat percentage and make your abs more visible. Limit your alcohol intake, don’t smoke, and get seven to eight hours of restful sleep every night.


Oblique exercises can help strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles. Make sure to use proper form and technique while performing these exercises, and be mindful of your breathing. Additionally, take time to rest between workouts and eat a balanced diet. With dedication and consistency, you’ll be able to tone your abdominals in no time!



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Alcohol Consumption and Obesity: An Update (2015,
  2. Cigarette Smoking, Nicotine, and Body Weight (2011,
  3. Impact of a Breathing Intervention on Engagement of Abdominal, Thoracic, and Subclavian Musculature during Exercise, a Randomized Trial (2021,
  4. Mind-muscle connection: effects of verbal instructions on muscle activity during bench press exercise (2019,
  5. Molecular ties between lack of sleep and weight gain  (2016,
  6. Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance (2021,
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