Our man on the move, Simon Duberley, takes a look at training the oblique’s. Even when your schedule is packed he shows us where there is a will, there is a way.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Social media seems to be awash with images of individuals showing off what they can do in the gym, together with the physical transformations that come with their efforts. But what about the functionality that having a fitter body can give you in your everyday life. Isn’t that just as, if not more, important.

You might be a busy executive, or just trying to utilise what little time you have between your daily chores. Whatever your situation, tasks are a lot easier if we add a bit of functionality to our fitness using the tools nature has given us. The tools I refer to of course are our muscles. Wouldn’t it be great if there were exercises to effect these muscles and make these tasks just that little bit easier? Well there is – there always is.

One great example is when you walk with a heavy bag or suitcase in one hand. So that you maintain an upright stance, the muscles on the opposite side of the body next to the abdomen are engaged, Underdeveloped obliques make this task much harder and put the integrity of your spine at risk.

In this edition of fit for business, we are going to look at the functionality of the obliques – some would say the poor relation of the six-pack. These important muscles that sit either side of the abdominal wall and promote resilience to back injury by working in concert with other core muscles to ensure the protection of our spine during movement.  We use them to twist our torso or to laterally bend down from one side or the other. The later movement I’m often reminded of when I pull my baggage from the carousel at the airport.

So how are we going to train them? One of the best exercises to start with is the side plank. It needs no equipment and can be done anywhere so long as you have a space big enough in which to lie down.

  •  Start on your side with your feet resting on top of each other and your forearm below your shoulder.


  •  Engage your core and raise your hips until your body is in a straight line from head to heel.


  • Hold this straight line position for 30 seconds or more, then repeat on the other side.


Done correctly this exercise will not only work your obliques but will extend benefits to your shoulders and hips too. As you become more proficient you can extend the time period up to a minute. Another progression is to utilise the core ball. Do the same as the side plank but with your forearm resting on the ball and place your feet on a chair just like in the picture. Control the wobble and your core will be nicely fatigued the next day, signifying that you will soon see the results of your efforts.

Trust me, you might even want to Instagram your new look so that others can admire your results and maybe become inspired themselves.