Show your sides some love! All about obliques

By Physiotherapist, Nate Chan

The Importance of Obliques

Many of you know but our muscles are designed to be challenged. Our obliques (side core muscles) are built to resist spinal and pelvic rotation. Due to this reason, it is pivotal for athletes to challenge our obliques either under load, tension or velocity (speed). For field athletes, we use the ground to push off and generate power and speed. This transfers energy up the kinetic chain (our body) from the lower extremities to our torso and upper body. However, if we lose stability in our torso/trunk there will be an energy leakage in the kinetic chain, our body.

Our core muscles, including the oblique muscles stabilise the midsection of the body, allowing our upper and lower extremity muscles to move (lengthen), in turn generate force/power. For field athletes we can increase our cadence (amount of steps per minute). However, we change many other factors to improve your speed, running time or agility. By working on our core strength, we will be better able to keep upright, reduce knee valgus (knees caving inwards) and ultimately increase speed whilst mitigating the risk of injury.

No matter if we are attempting to change direction, sprint towards the ball, or prepare for a jump, improving core stability and running/jumping techniques is mandatory to optimising our performance. Incorporating various core exercises will help achieve personal bests and a deciding factor in games.

All these exercises have several benefits other than just working out the core. These are great for unilateral (one sided) abdominal work. Working on one side of the body can help address any muscular imbalances in your muscles, joints and tendons. It’s the same as any other exercises, with lunges primarily working on one side as opposed to a standard squat. All three can be used as a movement preparation/warm up drills, anti-rotation core stability work, and sports specific movement sequencing

1. Side planks (progression: hip dip, rotation)

2. Woodchoppers (progression: tall kneeling,½ kneeling)

3. Pallof Press (progression: tall kneeling,½ kneeling)

4. KB walks unilateral (progression lunges)

5. Bird dog +/- band (progression: standing

6. Med ball rotation toss (progression: plyos)

7. Oblique side crunch (progression: standing w/ wt)

Need more exercise ideas? Follow along with Barangaroo Physio on Instagram and Facebook (@barangarooclinic)! We post TONS of workout tips and we host live workouts 5 days a week.