Oblique exercises are each 60 seconds and completed on left and right side equally. Moves can be on 1 yellow, 2 yellow, or 3 yellow springs depending on the exercise.
CORE STABILIZING OBLIQUE MOVES
Body Position –Table top position on the carriage facing the back and spine aligns with center white line. Primary foot to black strap, body on the carriage facing back of the room primary leg low to start in line with primary hip.
Movement – Primary leg starts low and sweeps up and back until it’s parallel with hip. Upper body stays stationary and opposite hip pulls in to center line. The spine must be stabilized with no lateral movement.
Muscles – Oblique’s, glutes, hamstrings
Range of Motion – Primary foot hovers over floor and sweeps back to align with hip for full range. Range of motion can be lessened to a few inches for modification. Height of foot and range will depend on hip flexibility.
- Lift opposite hand to challenge center core and obliques more,
- Add circles or isometric holds
- Adjust body position on carriage
- Flying Scrambled Eggs: stationary knee lifts from carriage, same movement applies.
Modifications (easier) –
- No strap or leg sweeps
General Notes – Leg stays straight, think down and back rather than out and around, needs to be done on both oblique sides, constant tension in cable whole time. There should be no twisting or torqueing through the lower back. Be aware that the hips and shoulders should be square to the carriage and not leaning to one side. The height of the primary leg will be dependent on the hip flexibility.
KNEELING TORSO TWIST
Body Position – Stand on the knees on the center of the carriage facing the side of the working oblique. Long black strap comes to both hands in the center of the chest. Kneeling on the carriage facing the side with the long black cable of that same side. Spine is long with shoulders directly above the hips. Both hands are on the handle with hands directly in front of the chest. Do not continue rotating towards the back of the machine.
Movement – Using the obliques, rotate the torso and arms towards the front of the machine, keeping the hands directly in front of the chest throughout the movement and hips stay stationary. Primary Mover is the oblique that is closest to the back of the machine. Keep the tension constant on the cable. Spine is stable throughout the entire movement. The head and neck follows the alignment of the spine.
Muscles – Obliques, shoulders
Range of Motion – Pulling exercise, torso rotates and twists as hips stay stationary and elbows/hands do not past mid-line.
- Extend hands out further from body
- Body can move closer to line 1
- One hand on black handle instead of both
Modifications (easier) –
- Hands closer to chest
- Hands on strap rather than cable,
- Body moves closer to line 3
- Lighten spring load
General Notes – Hips square and rotate only through torso, hold onto a beach ball, do not twist back past midline, elbows in line with armpits.
TAILBONE TORSO TWIST
Body Position – Sit on tailbone facing the same side as the working oblique. Long black cable in both hands in front of chest. Feet can remain down or lift for variation. Sitting on the carriage facing the side with the long cable on that same side. Balancing on the tailbone with knees bent, lean the torso back to engage the abdominals.
Movement - Primary Mover is the oblique that is towards the back of the machine. Torso rotates towards the front of the room without moving the hips or low spine. Hands stay extended out as torso returns to starting position, no further than centered between hips.
Muscles – Obliques, arms
Range of Motion – Shoulders and torso rotate towards the front and return to centered between hips for full range. Shoulders and arms stay in one line and hips stay stationary.
- Legs can lift from carriage as body twists
- Add a yellow spring
- Hands move further from body
Modifications (easier) -
- Lower feet to carriage
- Hands to strap rather than cable
- Lighten spring load
General Notes – Do both side of obliques, think boat pose rotations/twists, keep chest up/open, think of holding a beach ball. Keep the tension constant on the cable.
Body Position – Hands on front handle bars, knife edges of feet on the carriage crossed heel-to-toe with the foot of the working oblique on top of the opposite food (left over right targets left oblique, right over left targets right oblique). Shoulders above or slightly behind the wrists, lats engaged.
Movement – Legs remain straight and start extended out, hips lift to bring carriage towards platform as hips turn towards the floor slightly. Both heels remain down and shoulders stay behind wrists for core engagement. Weight stays in upper body and working oblique moves carriage (rather than legs). Side bodies are long instead of crunching.
Muscles – Obliques
Range of Motion – Hips pike up as far as possible while maintaining core engagement and little weight in legs. Hips can lift a few inches for modification. Carriage stops when feet are under or slightly behind hips before sending legs back out to starting position.
- Shorten range of motion and shift shoulders further behind shoulders
- Add pushups when legs are extended
- Knee to tricep pulses
- Platform Teaser: Same motion but hands are on platform instead of handle bars. Range of motion naturally shortens.
- Carriage Teaser: Same motion but hands are on the carriage at line 1 and feet on the platform (reverse). Upper body is moving rather than legs.
- Giant Carriage Teaser: Same motion, but on feet are on the back of the machine and hands on the carriage facing the front.
- Forearm Teaser: Same motion but forearms are on the front platform. VERY small range of motion possible and only for advanced students.
- Feet move to the hash mark
- Twisted Wheel Barrow
- Forearms for wrist injury
General Notes – Perform on each side for oblique; keep legs straight and feet flat!
Body Position – Hands on the back handle bars, feet crossed with the leg of the working oblique over the opposite under the “S” strap. Shoulders over or slightly behind wrists, legs remain straight and hips stay lifted/in line with shoulders.
*Same key notes as teaser, on back, turn handlebars in to make move easer
Body Position – Hands to outside of front platform, toes at line 1 in high plank position. Foot of working oblique stays on the carriage and opposite leg lifts. Isolate primary oblique with toes to red line. Hips stay in line with shoulders, spine is neutral and heels stay high.
Movement – From single leg high plank, primary oblique knee bends until under hips and extends back to plank. Secondary leg bends in under hips while primary leg is extended, simulating a “running” motion.
Muscles – Obliques, quads are engaged, hip flexors relaxed, lower abdominals targeted
Range of motion – Primary oblique leg draws in under hip and extends back out. Shoulders and torso stay stable over wrists and spine is neutral throughout.
- Shoulders behind wrists
- Add a pushup
- Giant/Giant Reverse/Reverse Running Bear: Same motion but facing the back or on the back with toes under the “S” strap or back platform.
- Twisting bear or hold high plank
- Add a yellow spring
General Notes – Stress table top position, watch for hips higher than shoulders, knees coming in too close to chest, legs hip width distance apart; watch people shifting weight back into heal, if people have low back issues bring knees.
*VARIATIONS FOR OBLIQUES – DANCING AND TWISTED BEAR
(targets both obliques equally, used for transition between or warm up)
Body Position: High plank with hands on front platform and feet on line 1. Hips stay in line with shoulders and heels are high.
Movement: From plank knees bend in towards opposite elbow, stopping under hips. Return to plank and bend knees towards the other elbow.
Range of Motion: Knees bend under hips without hips lifting and extend back out until straight. Obliques and core initiate motion and weight stays in upper body. Shoulders stack over or slightly behind wrists to keep engagement.
- Feet move back to line 2
- Reverse/Giant Reverse/Giant Dancing Bear: Same motion, different body position/direction.
- Reduce range of motion
- Hands can come to handle bars for less weight in shoulders
- Forearms for wrist injury (makes move more challenging in full range of motion)
General notes- Watch for: hips lifting, weight moving into low body, knees coming past hips, low back sinking in extension, shoulders coming past wrists.
OBLIQUE CRUNCH MOVES
Body Position – Sit on the back platform facing the direction opposite of the working oblique (left oblique, face towards the right. Right oblique face towards the left side). Leg on the side of the working oblique is straight and hooks under the “X” strap and opposite leg curls under sit bones. Top hand reaches up and bottom hand wraps around core. Shoulders and hips are stacked and torso leans back slightly for core engagement.
Movement – Torso starts at 45-degree angle and lifts towards ceiling (rather than front of the room), keeping tension on the obliques the whole time. Neck stays neutral and spine maintains length throughout the range of motion.
Muscles – Obliques
Range of Motion – Torso lifts and lowers 6-8 inches for full range and does not come past point of disengagement (different for everyone).
- Hold at point of greatest resistance
- Shorten range of motion to stay in engagement
- Bottom hand can come to hip or handle bar for support
General Notes – Chest lifted and open, keep tension in working side by not lifting too high or lowering too far to stay in engagement. Move needs to be done on both sides equally.
Body Position – Same set up as regular Mermaid, but hands come to heart or behind head.
Movement – Torso starts at an angle with working oblique engaged and slowly twists towards floor so shoulders are square. Twist back to starting position without lifting torso.
Muscles – Oblique
Range of Motion – Torso twists from middle spine with center core engaged throughout. Range of motion can be the rotation or a small lift when torso is square towards the side can be added for additional challenge. Avoid rotation towards the ceiling unless variation is called.
- Add hand weights
- Deeper range of motion
- Arms extend out when twisted to the floor
- Smaller range of motion
- Hands on hip or handle bar for assistance
General Notes – Maintain long spine and keep tension on working side. Extended leg should be as straight as possible to avoid pulling with hip flexors. Move needs to be done on both sides equally.
Body Position – Same set up as Super Crunch, but foot on the side of the working oblique is hooked under the “S” strap and opposite foot extends out at 45-degree angle. Hands draw to heart or behind head, feet are flexed and torso hinges back until core is engaged.
Movement – Foot in the “S” strap (working oblique side) bends in towards chest as torso twists towards knee. Rotate back to center and twist towards opposite side as “free” leg draws in (bicycle motion). Opposite elbow towards opposite knee with attention to working oblique.
Muscles – Obliques, abdominals
Range of Motion – Core initiates movement in torso AND low body. Twist can be fully to opposite side or reduce to a few inches on each side. Torso remains hinged back throughout the rotation. Spine stays stable with lower back in neutral position as rotation in torso twists.
- Slight hold on the rotation and slower movement
- Hinge torso further back
- Add hand weights
- Hands to handlebars or across the chest
- Torso can angle back less for more support through low back
- Reduce spring load
General Notes – Watch for too much tension in hip flexors with pulling of carriage on one leg. Move should be done on both sides.
Body Position – Same set up as Super Crunch, sit on the back platform with feet tucked under the “S” strap and knees bent. Hands across chest or at heart, torso hinges back with neutral spine and low core pulls in.
Movement – With torso hinging back slightly, rotate side to side while keeping hips stable and square to the front. Shoulders stay behind hips for tension through core.
Muscles – Obliques, abdominals
Range of Motion – Torso rotates side to side as far as spine and hip stability will allow. Movement can be fast or slow depending on variation. Range of motion shortens with faster rotation and lengthens with slower rotation.
- Upper body hinges back further
- Legs extend out and in with torso rotation.
- Add a yellow spring (only for VERY strong students. Be aware of hip flexor stress)
- Hands to back handle bar or under thighs for support
- Block between inner thighs if hip flexors pull during exercise
- Zero yellow springs
General Notes – Keep shoulders back at 45 degree angle, if shoulders stack over hips core disengages, keep chin lifted off chest, relax hip flexors. No movement in hips.
TWISTED SUPER CRUNCH
Body Position – Same set up as Super Crunch, but legs rotate to opposite side of working oblique. Sit fully on bottom hip, hook both feet under “S” strap, and draw knees together. Torso square towards the side of the room. Hands to heart or behind head.
Movement – With knees and torso square towards side wall, extend legs out and lower torso to maximum oblique engagement. Rotate torso towards ceiling and draw knees towards chest without losing the angle of the upper body. Top elbow lifts and rotates towards opposing wall and draw knees in while keeping the rotation.
Muscles – Oblique, abdominals
Range of Motion – Torso rotation can be fully towards opposite wall or only to center/ceiling. Keep upper body at an angle and shoulders behind hips throughout movement.
- Hinge further back at waist
- Add weights to hands at chest
- Hands to back handle bar or behind thighs for support,
- Move just legs or torso
General Notes – Keep shoulders back at about 45-degree angle, if shoulders stack over hips core disengages, keep chin lifted off chest, use block between inner thighs to relax hip flexors.