How to Do the Oblique V-Up

How to Do the Oblique V-Up

Want a convenient way to work some of the most neglected muscles in your core? Look no further than the oblique V-up.

Most exercisers think the core is another word for your rectus abdominis, the iconic sheet of nubby muscles on the front of your abdomen. Just as essential, however, are your obliques, the sheets of muscle flanking the sides of your waist that extend from the bottom of your rib cage to just above your hip bones.

These muscles help you twist, bend to the side, and stabilize your torso during athletic movement. Oblique V-ups target these muscles directly, helping to strengthen, tighten, and define them. Here’s how to do them right.

 

How to Do the Oblique V-Up

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• Lie on your left side with both legs extended, your feet stacked, your left palm on the floor and your right fingertips behind your right ear. This is the starting position.

• Lift both legs toward the ceiling as you draw your right elbow toward your right knee so that your torso and legs form a “V”.

• Pause, squeezing your obliques as hard as you can, and then slowly return to the starting position. Perform equal reps on both sides.

 

How to Make the Oblique V-Up Easier

Having a tough time with the oblique V-up? Don’t be discouraged: You’re lifting your torso and your legs with a relatively small set of muscles — repeatedly. That makes it an advanced-intermediate exercise — something few people can do on their first day in the gym. Here’s a step-by-step roadmap to the full move.

1. Perform oblique sit-ups

Set up by lying on your side with your knees bent and feet stacked. Keep your legs down and lift your upper body only.

2. Lift only your top leg

From the same set-up, lift your upper body and your top leg only, keeping it bent throughout. Once you’ve mastered that version, try it with your top leg straight, holding the top position for a one-count.

3. Perform partial reps

Got those techniques down? Try partial reps, lifting your legs just a few inches from the floor. Increase your range of motion over time.

 

How to Make the Oblique V-Up Harder

If you can pull off three sets of 15 perfect oblique V-ups, you’re in pretty rarified territory. But if you want to make the move even harder, here’s how.

  • Do ‘pulse’ reps: At the top of the move, lower your legs and upper body two inches, then squeeze again. Repeat three times each rep.
  • Perform ‘balance’ reps: Do the move without using your lower arm for balance. This is a huge stability challenge and will make the move much harder.
  • Add resistance. Place a light medicine ball — 4 pounds will be plenty at first — between your feet as you perform the move.

About

Andrew Heffernan, CSCS, GCFP is a fitness coach, Feldenkrais practitioner, and an award-winning health and fitness writer. His work appears regularly in Men's Health and Experience Life. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. Learn more at andrewheffernan.com.