Tip: The Forgotten Part of Ab Training

You know what makes your abs look great? Muscular obliques. Here's how to complete your core workout.


Lateral flexion is one of the movements people forget to do when training abs. And since core training is an afterthought for many, lateral flexion exercises are like the afterthought of the afterthought.

But well-developed obliques are an essential part of any physique, so including some lateral flexion exercises will help you get a step closer. Common exercises include dumbbell and cable side bends.

Tate side bends were popularized by Dave Tate and allow you to use a respectable amount of cable weight while also helping you feel locked in. All of this makes it easy to focus on the area you're trying to target.

  1. Get a height-adjustable cable. This is so you can start and finish close to your side. Alternatively, you'd need to muscle down the handle with both hands before setting yourself in position.
  2. Keep it close. The cable should stay close to your arm so that the resistance is being directed in both a safe and effective direction. The handle should also be relatively close to your thigh throughout the side bend.
  3. Remember, it's a side bend. It's easy to want to flex forward a little. But remember to focus on lateral flexion. Imagine a pane of glass directly in front of you. Now, don't headbutt it! Laterally flex your spine only, squeeze your obliques hard on the way down, then stretch a little as you come back to the top.
Gareth Sapstead is a leading strength and physique coach from the UK. He specializes in problem solving and breakthrough training techniques.

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