Down to the Core | Smaller Waist

Down to the Core | Smaller Waist

Building grit and finding inner lightness with core fitness training, the second of our 3 part series on training the core focuses on the obliques. 

In my 3rd trimester with baby 4 so I've left it to others to demonstrate these moves through the links embedded.  I've surrendered my core to this new gem for the time being.  

Twist, Turn and Lengthen

Most widely known as the waist trainers of the ab area,  accessing the obliques properly will also help maintain a strong lower back and take care of the much maligned ‘muffin top’ above your tush.  The obliques are often easiest to train in a twisting motion, however what often gets overlooked is the importance of lengthening the lower back and maintaining your core fitness strength so that the entire side area (front, side waist, ribs and lower back) is engaged. Our favorite 3 waist training exercises are :

    1. Side Plank Dips.
      Performing a side plank properly requires a great deal of strength in your shoulder area and obliques.  Initially the the focus should be on a held side plank ‘hollowing out’ the underarm area while keeping collarbones wide.  If this is not yet in reach rest your bottom knee on the ground for these exercises.  Its not worth hurting your shoulders to get through this whole series. The feet should be evenly stacked one on top of the other with the upper hip rotated slightly forward of square.  This will pull energy from the underside of the body up and around the front side.  Once you feel secure on your side, begin to lower your bottom hip toward the floor into sort of an L shape. As soon as the supporting shoulder can't remain hollow (or the shoulder blade flat on the back), you have reached your deepest point.  If you are able to engage the side ribs and shoulder strongly, use the lower obliques to lift your hips back up into a side plank position.  5-10 dips on each side will do!  Here’s how to do this exercise from the forearm instead of the hand.
  • Pro Tips
    • place your hand just slightly forward of  your shoulder.  This will move the shoulder into the socket as you lower down
    • Breath into the sides of your waist as you lower to keep is as long as possible.  I try to visualize keeping my tail bone straight back (not curved in either direction)
    • SQUEEZE your legs together and straight to engage the TVA and help carry the load of this pose

  • Side Plank Slides.   
    You will need a towel and a smooth floor for this one.  Don’t let the name fool you, this exercise is actually performed from a straight plank position.  Here's a visual- the 'plank to pike wheelbarrow'. Keep both arms on the floor in push up position, the twist is in the feet only.  Put a towel beneath your feet and then turn to the outer edges of one side. Press into the sides of your feet and lift your hips to slide your feet toward a twisted pike position.  This is a super tough exercise so only a few on each side are necessary.
  • Pro Tips
    • visualize this move as a pike with a twist. As with any plank slides there's a ton of shoulder strength required.  Try to lighten the load on your obliques and shoulders by shooting energy up to the sky through your tailbone, maintaining ab strength.
    • one foot slightly in front of the other makes this move slightly easier.

  • Side Bend or Standing Crescent. 
    Seen here, this seemingly simple yoga pose is actually very challenging.  Side bending properly requires a good base or and strength along the whole front chain of the body.   Everything needs to be squeezing toward the midline before any side bend actually begins.  Once the root is locked, the bend comes from lengthening and bending the obliques simultaneously.
  • Pro Tip
    • think about lengthening the low back side you are bending toward so that you know you are using strength rather to bend to the side rather than to collapsing  the waist to the side.  
    • breath is the key to this one.  You will feel tight and strained if you don't lengthen the obliques and low back.  Its not about how far over you go, its about how long and smooth the curve.

Share your favorite oblique exercises with us below to receive a 10% discount off your next order!

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