You’ve heard of oblique crunches, maybe you’ve even done them during a workout, but is the muscle group more of a mystery than you’d like to admit? Before we instruct you on how to use your obliques, let’s clear up any confusion right now so you know exactly what these muscles do.

What Are Obliques?
There are two different types of obliques — internal and external — and both are part of our core musculature.
Internal obliques
What They Are: Muscles that run from your lower ribs down to your hip and pubis.
What They Do: Help rotate and bend the torso in concert with the external obliques. They can also assist in breathing during exhalation.
Why They’re Important: In addition to rotating your torso, the internal obliques help to stabilize your body, keeping you balanced while you walk, run, throw a ball, or pick something up off the floor. The more stable you are, the more strength and power you can generate and apply to the movement.

External obliques
What They Are: A thin layer of muscle that runs across your internal obliques, extending from the middle of your rib cage down to your pelvis.
What They Do: Each one works in conjunction with the internal oblique on the opposite side of your body to rotate and bend the torso sideways, as well as with the rectus abdominis (the six-pack muscles) to flex the trunk forward.
Why They’re Important: These muscles work cooperatively with your internal obliques, so if your internal obliques are stabilizing and bracing your core before you swing a baseball bat, it’s your external obliques that take advantage of that stability to bring the bat around with as much power as possible.

The Pilates Oblique Crunch with Leg Raises targets the obliques and outer thighs.
The focus here is on side flexion of the obliques, and on going as far into the end range of motion as you can.

Training your core is vital for overall stability, as well as for transferring power throughout your body.

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