When people think of abs, they think of the rectus abdominus, the muscle that, in combination with dieting and resistance training, creates the “six pack.” Much forgotten however are the oblique muscles, that run up and down our sides.

Obliques serve as stabilizers, and are engaged in almost every compound lifting movement, and almost every physical activity. It is extremely important that they are strong.There are strengthening exercises you can do that will not cause you to hypertrophy to a point where your obliques ruin your V-taper. So here are some great exercises to strengthen your obliques:

1.Push up to side plank:

Get into pushup position on the toes with your hands just outside of shoulder width.Perform a pushup by allowing the elbows to flex. As you descend, keep your body straight. Do one pushup and as you come up, shift your weight on the left side of the body, twist to the side while bringing the right arm up towards the ceiling in a side plank. Lower the arm back to the floor for another pushup and then twist to the other side.

2. Seated barbell twist:

Start out by sitting at the end of a flat bench with a barbell placed on top of your thighs. Your feet should be shoulder width apart from each other. Grip the bar with your palms facing down and make sure your hands are wider than shoulder width apart from each other. Begin to lift the barbell up over your head until your arms are fully extended. Now lower the barbell behind your head until it is resting along the base of your neck. This is the starting position. While keeping your feet and head stationary, move your waist from side to side so that your oblique muscles feel the contraction.