There’s nothing sexier than six-pack abs. Yet a strong, toned midsection is also important because it helps to anchor your lower back. Exercises like crunches and leg raises are essential to developing killer abs and a healthy lower back, but that’s not all you need. The oblique’s (although they’re so deep that you’ll never see them even on the leanest physique) are also an important part of your core as they girdle the abdomen on both sides of the body. As such, toning and strengthening oblique’s requires a program of their own.
“Love handles” are the term “affectionately” used to describe those problem areas where fat accumulates around the waist and oblique areas. To avoid these unwanted and unsightly inches you’ve got to stay on track with your nutrition. In addition, you must keep these muscles strong and toned with such movements as twists, bends, and lunges. The following exercises employ a broom handle, kettle bell or a smaller weight-free barbell. Add 2 or 3 of these exercises into your ab routine and complete 25 to 50 reps on each side and you’ll see and feel the difference.
Standing twists are the most basic. Stand grasping a bar behind your head on the upper traps, with feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping the lower body stationary, proceed to twist to the right, pause, then twist to the left.
For variation, try bent-over twists. Stand grasping a bar behind your head on the upper traps, with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend over carefully until your torso is parallel to the floor, then proceed to twist to the right, pause, then twist to the left.
Seated twists help to isolate the oblique’s a little better than the above. Sit on a bench or better yet, an exercise ball. Grasp a bar behind your head on the upper traps with legs together. Keeping the lower body stationary, proceed to twist to the right, pause, then twist to the left. You can also do these holding a medicine ball in front of you. From the same position, twist your torso as you pass the ball rapidly from one side to the other side.
Twisting lunges allow you to put your ass (more technically, your glutes) to work as well as your oblique’s. Stand grasping a bar on the upper back, with feet wide apart. Proceed to bend the left knee and twist down that side. Pause, then rise to starting position and perform the next repetition to the right.
Twisting waves get your upper body more involved. Stand grasping a bar out in front of you with feet wide apart. Proceed to bend the right knee and simultaneously lower the left hand across your body while raising the right hand. Pause, then rise to starting position and perform the next rep to the left.