Strong obliques are, first and foremost, key to a strong and functional core that will power you through everything from moving heavy furniture to finishing a triathlon or getting through a TRX class.
They also happen to look good when they're defined. So today's move zeroes in on the obliques, and without ever doing side crunches on a floor mat. The Ab Pulley is one of my favorite core moves.
You will feel this working right away, and if you incorporate this into a routine that includes cardio for calorie burn and fat loss, what emerges as the fat melts away will be ripped obliques worthy of Spring Break.
Muscles worked: Obliques, lower abdominals
The technique: Attach a hand grip to the universal weight machine at your gym. Don't go heavy with weight - you want to tone and strengthen the obliques, but bulging bulked-up obliques aren't so hot.So start with 10 to 30 pounds and gauge how challenging it is.
Start by grabbing the pulley with your right hand. Now pull down the pulley at a slight angle, into your right obliques, as you lift the right heel and crunch in, squeezing for a second before you slowly go back to the starting position. Do 15 to 20 reps. Switch to the left side, gripping the pulley with the left hand.
Incorporating it: Pair three sets of 15-20 ab pulleys on the right and left sides with three sets of side crunches (20 reps on each side) and three sets of oblique crunches (20 reps on each side).
Coming this week: A Butts and Guts routine, mid-week Music, and a Badass recipe.