Accessorized Abs

Photo Credit: Nicolas Smith
Tube and Bar Oblique Lunges
This exercise is absolute murder for your obliques, the muscles on the sides of your abs that wrap around to your back. To start out, use a light-resistance tube. You can work up to a medium-resistance tube, but should avoid using the heaviest tubes for this exercise.

Take a fitness tube and pass it around an upright post, one that will not move no matter how hard you pull on it, and that is tall enough that the tube won’t pop off the top. Put one of the tube’s handles through the other and slide tight, such that you have made a loop around the post and are now left with only one handle to hold. Slide that handle onto the end an Olympic bar. Facing away from the post and the tube, place the bar centered on your shoulders, such that the bar is resting on the slight dip between your deltoids and trapezius, on the back of your shoulders. Your hands should stabilize the bar just wide of your shoulders; under one hand you should also stabilize the tube handle, so that it won’t slide side to side. Note: while the bar is centered on your shoulders, the tube is not centered on the bar; it will be associated with one or the other side. From this position, perform forward lunges with alternating legs, stepping forward with one leg as you drop down through the back knee, staying upright through your shoulders and trying to keep the front knee no further forward than the front toe. Once the back knee is as low as you can control, rise back up and step your legs back together. Then repeat with the other leg. You will, of course, feel the tube pulling more on one side than the other—your goal is to remain straight through both sides as you lunge. Do not allow the bar to twist. Halfway through the set, switch the tube to the other side of the bar and repeat, continuing to alternate lunges. Do one set of 20 alternating lunges (10 with each leg) with the tube on one side, and then switch and do a second set of 20 alternating lunges with the tube on the other side. Switch the tube again and repeat another set of lunges with the tube on each side.

Step-Up Variation
You can also do this exercise with a step-up rather than a lunge. For this version, perform the exercise exactly as described above, but instead of lunging, step up with alternating feet onto a step or box in front of you. Again alternate legs for the entire set, and switch the tube to the other side of the bar halfway through.

Side Bar: Oblique Exercises
The obliques are among the hardest to train of the core muscles. Build your obliques by bringing some of these exercises into your core training:
Speed Hanging Side Twist Obliques
On-Side V Toe Tap Obliques
Stability Ball Center Oblique Situps

Accessorized Abs Quick Links
Abdominal Contractions Overview
Stability Ball Knee Lifts
Tube Crunches on Stability Ball
Tube and Bar Oblique Lunges
Medicine Ball Crunches on BOSU Ball