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Oblique-tober

Updated: Oct 7, 2023



For a lot of us, October is the greatest time of year! From pumpkin spice everything to Halloween to just not being too hot, October is the hallmark of the amazing season we call Fall. For us at SolPop Pilates, October means one, er, four things, our obliques! The obliques are a phenomenal muscle group. They are mobilizers and stabilizers and make up 2/3 of our core. We have external obliques and internal obliques, each on both sides, so four in total. Sometimes they work together bilaterally (both sides) to flex our trunk (think of an ab curl); unilaterally (one side) to laterally flex our trunk (think of a side bend); and contralaterally (opposite sides) to rotate our trunk (think of a twist). These are movements we do every day, and they are quite important!

Another way the obliques work in our favor is as stabilizers. They work to avoid movement or prevent twisting. This can be felt when you are moving just one limb and trying to stay stable in your torso. Our obliques are also important to increase our power, agility and strength in sports and activities such as running and jumping. Strengthening the obliques has been proven to reduce back pain. In short, the obliques are a really big deal. One of my favorite ways to train the obliques is through the arms. If you look closely at a superhero in a comic book, you will see 3 serrated lines right under their armpits that then disappear into their core and six-pack. This is the connection of the arms to the core.

The obliques interdigitate with the serratus anterior, a major protractor of the scapula (think armpit muscle). We worked the serratus anterior a lot last month with Scap-tember by doing a lot of protraction, overhead work, quadruped (hands and knees) and plank work. This month, we can use that awareness to strengthen and deepen our core muscles. Aren’t themes great?!

Another awesome thing about your obliques is that they are part of a really important myofascial system called your anterior oblique sling. Knowing the oblique sling system has been the secret sauce of core training for years. In a nutshell, imagine a Miss America beauty pageant sash that goes from your armpit across your torso and then hangs in front of your opposite hip. This “sling” connects your serratus anterior to your obliques to your opposite inner thigh or adductor muscle (remember July inner thigh?). And it is a huge deal when trying to functionally train the obliques. The body does not move in isolation; rather as a whole system and the obliques are an amazing example of this. Hop into a class this month to strengthen your obliques and allow this to transform the way you move, think and feel!

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