by Lauren Rae, CPT at TRYM Fitness
Want the flattest tummy or the strongest six-pack? How about good posture and less low back pain? The key to a healthy you becomes possible with a healthy spine, and that begins with a strong core. Strengthening your obliques can help you achieve those goals. The external and internal oblique muscles are located on the sides and front of the abdomen. When both sides work together, they allow you to bend side to side and twist your torso. With strong obliques your posture can be improved and lower back issues can be alleviated. Suspending your feet in the TRX or any other suspension trainer strengthens your shoulders, low back, and thighs, in addition to your abdominal muscles.
Today I’m showing you four exercises that everyone from beginners to TRX experts can add into your regular core strengthening practice. Begin with the straps of the TRX lowered toward the floor about 8–12 inches up depending on your height. (The taller you are the higher it would be.) To easily place your feet to turn over, sit on your bottom with your legs crossed at the ankles and place your feet into the straps of the TRX. Turn yourself over into a kneeling position and place your palms beneath your shoulders. Keep your neck and head in line with your spine. Scoop your abdomen in and take your hip points towards your belly button to engage your pelvic floor. Extend your legs back to begin in the plank position.
- TRX PlankThe TRX Plank is a nice step up once you’ve mastered a modified and regular plank on the floor. The only difference here is your feet are suspended, which encourages your stabilizing muscles and core to engage to keep you lifted and still.
- TRX Single Leg Oblique CrunchA little more fun and a bit more challenging, single leg oblique crunches help to sculpt and strengthen. From the plank position, draw your left knee into your left shoulder being sure to pinch your hip bone and armpit together by engaging your oblique muscle. Extend your leg back to the plank position and repeat on the right side. Alternate left and right single leg oblique crunches for a total of 12–15 on each side.
- TRX Double Leg Oblique CrunchSame idea as the single leg crunch, this double leg oblique crunch is sure to fire up your core muscles even more. This time with legs sealed together by engaging your inner thighs, draw both knees up to your left shoulder while squeezing and engaging your obliques. To increase difficulty, place your leading arm a few inches up on the mat to increase the distance that you bring your knees in.
- TRX Oblique PikeThe most difficult and rewarding TRX oblique exercise is the pike. By keeping a distal position, your heart rate increases and helps you train and tone those core muscles. From the Plank position with legs sealed together by engaging your inner thighs, lift your hips to the ceiling as if a string was tied to your tailbone and lifting you up. Pinch your left oblique together and draw your feet as close to your left armpit as possible before lowering back into a plank and repeating 10 times. Then repeat on the right side!