Move of the Week: Oblique Reach

September 24, 2012 Updated: May 9, 2016


When asked which part of the body people would like to see with definition and less flab, they usually mention the abdominal area as a high priority. Exercise, albeit a crucial part of strengthening and toning the abdominals, needs to be teamed up with a healthy low-fat, high-nutrition diet.

If you are chasing a toned tummy, make sure you look at your food intake and the type of foods you are eating. Have a chat with a personal trainer or nutritionist for the best advice suited to you.

Also, add the following exercise to your daily abs routine to help tone your midsection.

This is a simple variation on the humble crunch. It focuses on engaging the oblique muscles as well as rectus abdominis—basically the external layer of abs.

To work your deep layer of abs, the transversus abdominis and pelvic floor, aim to work with your spine in a neutral position and to keep those deep core muscles engaged as you perform the oblique reaches.

Getting Started

Lie on your back with your feet about 16 inches away from your body. Start with your hands behind your head. Inhale to prepare for the crunch, exhale as you crunch up.

Avoid crunching too much, and aim to keep your pelvis still. Reach your right hand toward the side of your right shin. Repeat this movement 10 times. Then do another set on the other side.

Key Points

Once you have done a set as above, try having both hands by your side and reaching to the right and left back and forward 20 times before you put your head back on the floor.

It is very important that you do not feel this exercise in your neck. Make sure that when you crunch up initially, you contract your ribs to your hips and really squeeze your abs so your neck doesn’t do the work.

You can also try the exercise with your legs in a tabletop position while reaching your hands toward the outside of your ankles. Try either version for three sets of 30.

 Team this up with a plank and some toe taps for a complete abs workout. And remember, your diet plays a big role as well.

Emma-Kate Stampton certifies Pilates instructors and is a certified personal trainer. She is based in Brisbane, Australia.

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