The one exercise you should be doing to strengthen the obliques

Over the past few months I’ve been talking about back injuries in firefighters. First I cleared up a few myths about back injuries. Then I went over exercises that firefighters should AVOID because they can progressively cause damage to the spine – totally counterproductive.

Lastly, I’m going over some quick exercises you should be sure to include in your workout to avoid a back injury.

An exercise program to protect the back from pain and injury should a) improve back muscle endurance b) stretch the hamstrings, c) strengthen the anterior abdominals, and c) strengthen the side abdominals or obliques.

In earlier posts I addressed a, b and c. Below is a picture of a “side plank” to work the obliques. You may want to start out doing these on your knees if you’re too shaky on your feet. You can increase the intensity by balancing on your hand rather than your elbow.

side planks

The key to doing this exercise correctly is to think about a string pulling up on your hip from the ceiling. Try holding this on each side for as long as you can and hold longer as you get stronger.

This is the best exercise to do for your obliques because it does not involve twisting. In an earlier post, I explained why excessive twisting is so bad for your back.


Other exercises in this series:

Plank walk and elbow push-ups


hamstring door stretch


If you’re not on my list to get more health tips like these, enter your name and email below.

By | 2018-06-01T07:08:31+00:00 June 18th, 2014|Uncategorized|1 Comment

About the Author:

Dr. Karlie Moore has a PhD in Exercise Science and Nutrition and specializes in firefighter health. She has conducted fitness testing on hundreds of firefighters and has created the most comprehensive online wellness program for fire departments called the FitCulture program. Dr. Moore is also married to a firefighter and so understands their lifestyle and the health challenges associated with it.

One Comment

  1. Michael October 21, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Thank you. This is great stuff. Please keep it up!

Comments are closed.