The rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, external oblique and the internal oblique make up the abdominal muscles. The internal obliques are located just underneath the external obliques and allow you to bend from the side, as well as twist your torso. These muscles also aid in improving posture. Yoga, Pilates, balance ball workouts, and several core exercises tone and define the internal obliques.
Sit down on a fitness ball with feet shoulder-width apart. Walk your feet forward and lean back so that your shoulders and hips are comfortably resting on the fitness ball. Place your hands together and point them toward the ceiling, tighten your core and twist your arms 90 degrees to the left. As you are twisting, your right shoulder should come off the ball. Hold the position for two seconds and return to starting position. Do the same for the opposite side. Do as many as you can comfortably.
Bicycle crunches tone both the internal and external oblique muscles. Lie on your back and bend legs at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands behind your head and curl your body forward, like you would in a basic crunch. In this position bring your right knee toward your left elbow as you extend your left leg out at a 45-degree angle from the floor. Keep your shoulders lifted off the floor and repeat the crunch with the opposite elbow and knee. Continue alternating from left to right as many times as tolerable.
Side crunches target the internal and external obliques. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Rotate hips and knees until both knees are turned to the right side and touching the ground. Lift your shoulder blades off the floor and exhale as you come up. Hold the position for one second and lower your shoulders back to starting position. Repeat eight to 15 times, then switch to the opposite side.
Standing Side Bends
This exercise works the internal and external obliques. Adding weights to the side bend challenges the oblique muscles because the weights add resistance. Stand with your feet together, hold a dumbbell by your side in your left hand and place your right hand behind your head. Without twisting or turning your head, bend to the left side using your side abdominal muscles to stabilize yourself. Bend until feel a comfortable stretch in your opposite side. Hold this position for one to five seconds and slowly return to starting position. Do at least eight times, then repeat on the opposite side.
Crunches with Leg Raises
Lie on your back, stretch both arms overhead and straighten your left leg out. The right leg should be bent at the knee with foot on the floor. Exhale and bring your left leg up so your toes point to the ceiling; at the same time crunch forward with your upper body. Attempt to touch the toes of your left foot if you can. Hold the position for one second, then lower body to starting position. Do eight to 15 reps, then switch legs.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.