Most people think of their obliques as the “side” abdominal muscles, on either side of the “six pack” (actually called the rectus abdominis). That’s sort of true – your obliques are visible on either side of the rectus abdominis. But they’re actually a deeper layer of muscle – two layers, in fact – situated underneath the rectus abdominis. And those two layers of muscle wrap around your waist, kind of like a corset.
Blah blah blah, but what does it all mean? Here’s the thing: as you tone and strengthen your obliques, they actually pull in, making your waist smaller. Like a corset! But without whalebone and pain. And because I don’t advocate pain or the killing of whales for their bones, here’s an oblique workout that will slim your waist the natural way.
You know this one! An oldie and a goodie. Lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor. Bend your right knee and twist your upper body toward it, then switch and twist toward the left leg. Repeat without stopping for one minute. Imagine pulling your bellybutton toward your spine the entire time, so your abdominals are scooping in, not bulging out.
2. Side Plank
Hold on the right side for 30 seconds, then switch and hold on the left. While this might feel like a big arm and back workout, your obliques are really what’s supporting you here. Think of the same idea – your bellybutton pulling in toward your spine – to maintain the alignment of your back.
Garnet is a student at Columbia University in New York City. She is “that person” who starts dancing at a party when everyone else is standing around, and if there were a Facebook stalking Olympics, she would be a gold medalist. She also loves cheesy 90s music, and almost died of happiness when Vanilla Ice retweeted her. Once. Follow her on Twitter @garnethenderson.