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Working the Obliques

Posted Jun 17 2009 6:04pm
"Hi James,

"Nice site. I noticed you had posted an ab workout for football, and I had been reading about ice hockey workouts for one of my fave players. In addition to doing interval workouts, this article mentioned this player doing a drill called 'landmines' that is supposed to be good for the core, especially obliques, to help strengthen the hip rotations.

"What's your take on this exercise? Is this an advanced type of core exercise that one should build up to? Are there safer exercises instead? I've seen a few videos on it, but I haven't found anyone talking about the form you're suppose to use when hoisting the barbell in that twisting kind of fashion. I've had some lower back problems and don't want to exacerbate it by using wrong form or powering the bar up incorrectly."

Mojo Rider

My Answer: Twisting motions can exacerbate lower back problems, but it is usually when you twist and bend at the same time. Anyway landmines are simply full contact twists done on a special apparatus. Here's the poor man's version:

I'll be honest with you: I don't feel a damn thing with that exercise. The obliques are very difficult to activate and develop. In fact, of all the muscle groups, the obliques have the lowest potential for growth and strength gains.

You'll activate the obliques better if you have to maintain an upright with a weight pulling on one side. If you want to strengthen your obliques, then try some one-arm kettlebell swings and suitcase deadlifts:

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