How to Do Oblique Raises Properly

Oblique raises, also known as side planks, are bodyweight drills that involve lifting and holding your upper body off the floor in a straight line. The still drill engages many oblique muscle groups at the same time. Oblique raises prevent back pain and strengthen your core, consequently relieving your backpressure.

It is a great exercise routine and since it is a Calisthenics workout, the only thing you need to perform is your body. Performing this drill seems relatively easy, but maintaining the plank posture and stability might be a little challenging.

Also known as Side plank.

Targeted muscles: Obliques

Level: Beginner.

Difficulty Level: Intermediate.

Steps:

  • Get a mat or a soft surface to use for this workout to minimize stress on your feet and arms.
  • Lie on the mat on your side and stack your feet on each other. Ensure your legs are straight. Put your elbow directly under your shoulder. Aim your forearm away from you and ball your hand into a fist.
  • Keep your neck in a neutral position. Exhale and engage your core.
  • Raise your hips from the mat and support the weight of your body using your elbow and foot. Keep a straight posture from your head to your ankles.
  • Maintain this position for a few seconds. Aim to hold the plank between 30-60 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other side.

TIPS:

  • You may find it strenuous to hold the plank, and that’s okay. You can begin by performing this exercise from your knees as you gradually perfect your technique.
  • Avoid swinging your body. Be sure to keep your hips stacked throughout the workout.
  • Do not sag your hips when working out. If holding the position is a little challenging, try reducing the duration of holding the plank.
  • Relax the bottom of your hand and your face.
  • If you feel any pain when executing the drill, stop immediately.

You can elevate your plank game by raising the top of your arm if you’ve mastered the technique and you’re comfortable holding it. Doing this will put more tension on your wrist and work more muscles in your forearm. See also: Side plank pose.

MUSCLES WORKED BY OBLIQUE RAISES

Oblique raises primarily work the core muscles. This exercise aims to strengthen your back and abdominal muscles, specifically the transversus abdominis, obliques, rectus abdominis, and glutes.

Oblique raises engage many other muscles that provide additional stability as you hold the plank. These muscles are the Hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes.

BENEFITS OF OBLIQUE RAISES

CORE STRENGTH

Oblique raises work your core to a huge extent. You notice you have to maximize the engagement of your abdominal muscles to maintain the upright position.

You’ll feel your core work later. Oblique raises strengthen your core without putting so much pressure on your back and generally improve your balance, coordination, and core strength.

STRONGER ARMS AND WRISTS

Oblique raises require you to balance on one arm. This is a great posture if you’re looking to develop stronger arms and wrists.

When performing the drill, make sure you don’t sink into your shoulders or lock your elbows.

IMPROVED BALANCE

The balancing pose in this drill is not easy to attain. The challenge this pose offers helps to build arm and wrist strength, making it a great warmup drill for other arm exercises.

Likewise, oblique raises will significantly improve your overall balance and coordination

ALTERNATIVES TO OBLIQUE RAISES

BODY SAW

Body saw is a great alternative to oblique raises that offers dynamic motion. These movements take the drill past an isometric tightening to stimulate the muscles through their motion range.

Muscles Worked: Obliques.

Equipment needed: Gliders

Steps:

  • Lie facing the floor in a plank position, with your and put your feet on a pair of gliders. Ensure your elbows are directly under your shoulders.
  • Pull your torso from the ground. ensure you don’t move your forearms.
  • Repeat and do the desired set of reps.

 

SIDE PLANK ROTATIONS

  • Begin with the usual side plank position
  • Lift your top arm straight above you
  • Slowly lower your arm and swing your core as you swing your top arm under you.
  • When your shoulders are almost parallel to the floor, stop. Return your upper arm and resume the starting position.
  • Repeat until you get the desired set of reps. Aim for one set for each side and gradually move to work 3 sets as you perfect your technique.

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN PERFORMING OBLIQUE RAISES

To get the most benefits out of oblique raises, avoid these mistakes.

SAGGING HIPS

Avoid sagging your hips towards the floor when performing this workout. The main goal of doing this drill is to strengthen your core, but when you don’t keep your hips in the right posture you miss out on the full capacity of this workout. Focus the tension on your oblique muscles and lift your hips. This will make the workout more effective.

WRONG ALIGNMENT OF THE NECK AND THE HEAD

When you begin to get tired of holding the plank position, you begin to sag your head forward or turn to face upward. Deviations like these can cause many problems. Drooping your head and letting your neck come out of alignment will strain your neck and the muscles surrounding it. When this happens over a long time, you may get neck injuries.

PLACING YOUR ELBOW AWAY FROM YOUR BODY

Wrong elbow placement is another mistake people often make. Placing the elbow far away from your body in an attempt to get better stability puts unnecessary tension on your shoulders and elbows. Doing this makes you depend on your arm to steady and hold your body instead of the obliques. Before you raise your side to the plank position, ensure you place your elbows directly beneath your shoulders.

 CONCLUSION

Oblique raises are an excellent strength exercise to add to your daily routine. There are many oblique raise variations that you can choose from depending on that which is convenient for you. You can challenge yourself often as you perfect your technique. If you have experienced shoulder pains before, ensure you consult your physician before starting this workout.