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Add a twist to your pullups to target your obliques.
A strong core is vital for almost any athletic movement, so if you're going to be active it's a good idea to strengthen the oblique muscles on the sides of your abdomen. The obliques assist in a variety of movements, typically helping twist or bend your torso independently of your legs -- when you swing a golf club or tennis racket, for example. Standard pullups aren't for the timid, but if you're up for a real challenge, add a twist to your pullups to strengthen your obliques.
Alternating Twist Pullup1.
Assume a standard pullup position by gripping a horizontal bar with your hands spread about shoulder-width apart, or a bit wider, and your palms facing forward. Extend your arms and legs completely.2.
Exhale as you pull your chin above the bar, without allowing your body to sway. Pull your knees up to about mid-chest level as you ascend. Twist as far as possible to your right at the peak of your pullup, keeping your knees bent, then twist as far as you can to the left.
Inhale as you lower yourself, under control, to the starting position.
Grasp the bar as you would for a standard pullup with your hands shoulder-width apart, or slightly wider, and your palms facing ahead. Hang straight down from the bar with your legs extended. This is the starting position.2.
Warm up by spreading your feet wide, then rotating your legs as far as possible in each direction. Keep your legs as straight as possible, maintain the original distance between your feet and move your upper chest as little as you can. Each foot should trace a circle around your body with every rep. Do two or three slow repetitions.3.
Perform the tornado pullup. As you start to pull up, rotate your legs as you did during your warm-up, but stop when each leg has moved about 180 degrees. If you rotate clockwise, for example, your left leg should be in front and to your right, the right leg trailing and to your left. Exhale as you pull your forehead up to the bar and simultaneously rotate your legs in opposite directions, bringing your left leg clockwise, forward and up. Bend your left knee as it ascends and try to touch your right elbow with your left knee.4.
Inhale as you lower yourself slowly to the starting position. Then, exhale again as you pull yourself up and rotate your legs counter-clockwise so your right knee touches your left elbow. Your elbows should be bent at right angles when your knees make contact.5.
Move smoothly through each step of the exercise, but pause for about one second when your knee touches your elbow.
- Warm up by performing five to 10 minutes of light cardio exercise, then stretch your obliques by doing some active side bends.
- Try to perform at least 10 reps in each direction for either exercise.
- Consult your physician before trying a new exercise routine, particularly if you've been inactive or your have any health concerns. Stop performing oblique pullups if you feel pain.