Standing Oblique Crunches – How to, Benefits, Muscles worked, Alternative Exercises
Who is ready for a well-rounded exercise that will not only activate most of the muscles in your body but will also not waste your time?
With this exercise, you will feel immediately energized and if you’ve been sitting all day you will get rid of the laziness that comes with that. We’re talking about the standing oblique crunch exercise.
What Are Standing Oblique Crunches?
Standing oblique crunches are a relatively easy exercise where you stand upright and then put your hands on the back of your head and bend to the left while raising your knee until it makes contact with your elbow – be wary though that this exercise is different from the standard oblique crunch;
How To Do Standing Oblique Crunches?
To do the standing oblique crunches exercise you need to stand straight and widen your shoulders, put your hands on the back of your head and then start moving by balancing your body’s weight on your right foot while also lifting your left leg out to your side.
Bend to the left side and lift your left leg until your elbow connects with your left knee now go back to your original position.
This is the pattern that you should follow to do this exercise correctly. Repeat that pattern until you’ve completed the desired number of reps (when doing single set training) or sets, then start working on the other side.
The exercise is shown here in this illustration
Pretty simple, right? You should do this exercise in the form of 3 to 4 sets, each with 10 to 12 reps.
This means you should repeat the pattern of movement 10 to 12 times (1 set) and then rest for 45 to 90 seconds and do the exercise again for 10 to 12 times and rest and so on until you completed 3 or 4 sets.
Some extra advice we can give you to make the best of this exercise is to maintain your back straight throughout the whole thing and to pause or slow down for a couple of seconds when you connect your elbow to your knee – this will add more pressure on the muscles you move and will help you get better results.
Standing Oblique Crunches Alternative Exercises
Now we’re going to discuss some variations of this exercise that are somewhat advanced, as they need equipment and are generally harder to perform, but they will yield you more benefits in the long run.
1. Standing Oblique Cable Crunches
We start with the standing oblique cable crunch exercise which is very similar to the standard cable crunch exercise. And as the name suggests in this exercise you are going to need a gym cable machine.
This exercise is pretty effective in activating your abdominal muscles (especially oblique muscles), and also on working your arms – those of you with skinny arms, this one should help.
Here is how to do the standing oblique cable crunch exercise
- Step 1 – You start by setting up the cable machine with the appropriate weights.
- Step 2 – Then while standing up straight you grab the handle with an underhand grip and position your body a 90-degree angle from the cable machine.
- Step 3 – While keeping your back straight, and the machine grip at the level of your forearm, pull down the weight in a straight line using your left oblique muscle.
- Step 4 – Pull it down until your hand is on a level between your nose and your shoulders, all the while keeping the other hand on your hip.
- Step 5 – Pause there for a second and then go back to your starting position.
- Step 6 – After you have finished the desired reps, change to the other side.
This is an illustration of this exercise
Ideally, you would want to do this exercise in the form of two to three sets each with 8 to 12 reps.
2. Dumbbell Side Bends
The second variation we have is the dumbbell side bends exercise, this variation uses dumbbells to achieve the desired results. What makes the dumbbell variation a favorite for many is the availability of the necessary equipment.
You can find budget dumbbells rather easily, provided you know the best place to buy dumbbells that are actually worth the money. And yes, there are some specific dumbbells for women too, for those ladies with small hands.
Need I mention that you can also use the same set for other workouts like dumbbell pullover, dumbbell floor press or underhand dumbbell row?
Now, just as the previous exercise, in addition to working you are abdominal and oblique muscles they also work your arms.
Here is how you do this exercise
- Step 1 – You start by grabbing the dumbbell with your right hand using a neutral grip (if you’ve ever performed neutral grip pull-ups you know what I’m talking about) and place it to your side while also holding your waist with your other hand.
- Step 2 – While keeping your body straight and your back upright bend to the left as far as you can and stay there for a second and then go back to your initial position.
- Step 3 – Then move to the right side and wait there for a second then go back to your original position.
- Step 4 – Repeat this pattern until you complete the desired reps and then change the weights to the other hand.
You would want to do this exercise for 2 to 3 sets each with 6 to 10 reps.
You can also add another dumbbell to the mix; so you hold one dumbbell in each hand and you bend to your left side then back to your initial position and then to the right, following the same pattern.
3. Barbell Side Bend
And the final variation we have is the barbell side bend exercise, in this variation we use a barbell – can be a short barbell, or a standard one depending on the one you have or how tall (or short) you are yourself – to perform the exercise, which helps oblique, abdominal, and back muscles.
Here are the steps to complete this exercise
- Step 1 – You begin by standing upright and placing the barbell behind your head using both of your hands at a level slightly below your neck.
- Step 2 – Now while keeping your head up straight, bend over to your left side as far as you can and then go back to your original position.
- Step 3 – Then move to the right as far as you can and then go back to the original position.
- Step 4 – Repeat this pattern for the desired number of reps.
This is a visual illustration of this exercise
You should complete this exercise in the form of 2 to 3 sets with 8 to 10 reps each.
Standing Oblique Crunches – Muscles Worked
The exercises we explained above mainly target the abdominal area, specifically the oblique muscles area, and your front abs.
1. Oblique Muscles
The oblique muscle group is one of the main four muscle groups that make up the abdominal muscles. They are comprised of internal and external oblique muscles, and without getting into a lot of details we will briefly mention some of their benefits to your body:
- They help tremendously with your spine as the external oblique muscles pull the spine forward.
- Also, the external oblique muscles help in stabilizing your core and help you move your spine in any direction.
- The internal oblique muscles have a different job but not in any way less important; they help you pull your chest downwards and compress your abs.
As you see keeping these muscles active and healthy is very important for building core strength and for your body in general.
2. Front abs
The rectus abdominal muscle, or as its more commonly known “abs”, Is one of the muscles we target with the exercises we explained above, the main function of this muscle is to move the body parts situated between your ribcage and your pelvic area.
The other great benefit of having a strong rectus abdominal muscle Is that it looks really good, you will always be better off with a nice looking set of abs.
If you have a set of 6, 8, or more rarely 10-pack abs, this exercise will help you show these off. You can also do double crunches, cable crunches, or enough number of sit ups each day to activiate these areas.
Benefits of Standing Oblique Crunches
To conclude we are going to leave you with other great benefits of doing the standing oblique crunches and it’s variations:
1. It’s Generally Simple And Easy To Perform
The first exercise we mentioned is pretty easy to do, you don’t need any equipment to perform it and you can do it anywhere.
Even the other variations are relatively easy to perform in a gym setting.
2. It Activates A Lot Of Your muscle Areas
Doing these crunches will activate most of the muscle areas in your body this will energize you, keep you active and put you on the right path to maintaining a healthy body.
3. Any Kind Of exercise Is Better Than Nothing
As we mentioned previously these exercises are relatively easy to perform, they don’t consume a lot of time and you don’t need a lot of equipment to perform them.
We live in a busy world; taking some time out of your day to exercise on a regular basis may not be an option for you, these exercises help you with that. You can add them to your daily schedule and pretty much feel no impact on your usual everyday activity.
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- Rear Delt Flys
- Underhand Front Raise
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Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at Fitlifefanatics.com. I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now.
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I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics.
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