5 Best Oblique Exercises

In the last week I’ve been asked three times on Facebook for my top 3 oblique exercises…so today I’m going to give you my top 5.

Is that okay if I give you 5 cool exercises instead of 3? Oh, and none of them involve useless pain-in-the-neck crunches.

Here they are…

1) Cross-Body Mountain Climbers

One of my favorite ab exercises in general, this provides an intense contraction in those muscles that show up on the beach running down into your swimsuit. These are eye-catching muscles…as you can see in my “so famous it’s infamous” abs photo on my site.

2) KB or DB Renegade Rows

It doesn’t matter if you use a kettlebell or flat/hexagonal dumbbells for this one, the renegade row requires an intense ab contraction to maintain proper form.

You can do these exercises with me in the comfort of your own home.

3) Spiderman Pushups & Spiderman Climb Pushups

In the past 5 years I’ve made these two exercises extremely popular in the fitness world, and even though they are a push-up, they still both work your obliques extra hard.

These are hard to describe but I demonstrate in the Home Workout Revolution videos.

4) High Rep DB Rows

Another “non-ab exercise”, but high-rep dumbbell rows done with perfect form and a challenging weight will give you tremendous soreness the next day.

I should mention that all top trainers now understand that the purpose of your abs is NOT to violently twist and crunch your torso, but instead to hold it straight and stable, RESISTING the rotation that “out of touch” trainers are telling you to do.

So with these exercises, not only are you getting a set of amazing abs and obliques, but you’re also saving your back and neck from the pain that comes with crunches and situps.

5) Stability Ball Cross-Body Mountain Climbers

Finally, an advanced version of the regular cross-body mountain climber. This adds more upper body work but still does a number on your obliques and your six pack abs. This is another one you’ll need to do with me on video.

Honorable Mentions:

a) Planks, Stability Ball Planks, & Side Planks

Not exciting but quite effective…& if you think these are “too easy”, you ain’t doin’ them right. Research shows side planks to be more effective for your obliques than many traditional crunches.

b) Hanging leg raises & Chin-ups+Knee-ups

These are advanced movements, but they work your “lower abs”…and your lower abs are, as Dr. McGill explains, really just where your obliques insert onto the iliac crest…so that’s why these are great oblique exercises as well.

c) Stability Ball Jackknives & Stability Ball Jackknife Rotations

These are similar to the cross-body mountain climber variations, although both legs move up together.

You’re going to love the results!

Your abs will thank you for it.

To your lean sexy abs,

Craig Ballantyne, CTT

  • 2
  • Another awesome oblique exercise is the Stability Ball Break Dancer.

    It’s similar to the Stability Ball Cross Body Mountain Climber but you drive your knee up across your body and then extend your leg out to the side under your body.

    6-8 reps on each side of that and your obliques are toast!

    Clayton Beatty

  • Craig, have you ever tried the Stability Ball X-Body Mountain Climber with your hands on the ball and your legs elevated on a bench? Although it takes awhile to get the balance down, it’s a complete killer even before you start mountain climbing, especially when doing it in the Tabata protocol.

  • Andy


    I noticed you mention you don’t use protein powder any longer. Any particular reason?

    • Not needed. Except for a 6-week stint this year, I havent used protein powders in 3-4 years.

  • Dave Scott

    I think you left off my favorite, The one arm dumbbell chest press from a stability ball. This isnt a great exercise for chest hypertrophy, but it works you core and obliques specifically like few other exercises.