It is common knowledge that we need to keep our core strong in order to protect our spines however a lot of people seem to focus on the superficial core layer, rectus abdominis (RA) and forget about the lateral stabilisers, the internal and external obliques!
The external oblique is a superficial muscle and is visible running from ribs to the front of the pelvis. This muscle is important for bending and rotating the trunk as well as stabilising the torso.The internal oblique is a deep muscle so isn’t visible but it is one of the main stabilisers of the trunk.
Due to the linear nature of our day to day lives most of us will rarely recruit the obliques. It is also interesting for me as a chiropractor based in a gym within the CBD as I see a lot of really fit, well trained gym goers who will only focus on training the superficial core muscles and rarely include any oblique exercises into their training. When tested for oblique strength they will be weak and obviously missing out on oblique recruitment which will impact on their major strength lifts. The main message is if you aren’t doing any specific oblique training then you are missing out on vital core and spinal stability which can leave you vulnerable to low back pain, instability or injury.
Below are two of my favourite exercises that you can do a couple of times a week either to help get those obliques firing and strong.
- Wood-chops- You can do this exercise using cables or a medicine ball. This adds some rotation into your training and will help strengthen the lateral stabilisers.
If you need any extra help with ideas or tips on how to strengthen your core and obliqes or if you have any other exercise related questions please get in touch. In addition to my chiropractic degree I also have a Bachelor of Physical Education majoring in Exercise Prescription and I love helping people with their training.