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Oblique exercises contribute to a toned waistline.
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The obliques are often targeted in exercise programs, since they sit right at the waistline and help support the body's core. While oblique exercises will help shape your waistline, slimming your waistline involves more than oblique exercises alone. A combination of regular cardiovascular activity and a healthy diet, in conjunction with regular oblique toning exercises, can yield a slimmer waist.
The obliques make up part of the lateral abdominal wall on either side of the lower torso. The external obliques are the largest of the lateral muscles and are most obvious at the surface of the waist. The interior obliques rest directly underneath the external obliques. Both sets of obliques function to assist the rectus abdominis in flexing the spine and tensing the abdominal muscles. They are also key muscles in allowing the trunk to rotate and flex from side to side.
Slimming the waistline can be achieved through a combination of regular cardiovascular, or cardio, exercise, proper diet and consistent core and abdominal toning. According to Michael Lagomarsine, Boston University's head strength and conditioning coach at the Athletic Enhancement Center, spot toning a single area with isolated exercises will not effectively reduce fat. Fat does not convert to muscle, so performing oblique exercises alone will not result in a reduced waistline. Consistent cardio will, most likely, yield the most successful fat loss resulting in a slimmer waistline.
Oblique exercises can, however, help enhance the definition of the waistline as you slim down with regular cardio and dieting. Core exercises including balance ball crunches, cable twists, cable wood chops, medicine ball Russian twists, planks and side planks all help develop strength and muscle tone in the exterior and interior obliques. Enhanced tone provides visible muscle definition, and toning yields strength. Stronger obliques contribute to abdominal and spinal stability and can help prevent injury.
Always consult with a health care provider before beginning any sort of exercise program. Start conservative with both your cardio program and your oblique exercise program if you're just starting out. Work toward a goal of three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions per exercise. Keep your movement slow and controlled to make sure you're using your obliques for the exercises rather than relying on momentum. Allow your obliques at least one day of rest between toning sessions, and gently stretch to reduce soreness. If any muscle soreness persists for more than two or three days, consult a health care professional to rule out the possibility of injury.