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Training the Internal Obliques with Water Fitness

The Internal Oblique, a muscle pair and part of the abdominal group, allows for lateral flexion (side bending), minimal rotation and assists with exhalation for breathing. Training this muscle group should be part of every workout since it works closely with other muscle groups to promote core and postural support for the body. The Internal Oblique lies below the External Oblique muscle pair and above the Transverse Abdominis.The muscle fibers run in a diagonal pattern upwards and downwards from the iliac crest on both sides of the body so that when one side is contracted(strengthened) the opposing side is expanded (stretched).  The functional Range of Motionis 30 degrees from the anatomical (upright) position of zero.

The Internal Oblique can be used in both cardio and strengthening segments of a regular work out at all levels. Cuing for good alignment and performance to bring the ribs to the hip is essential to allow everyone to work at their personal best to achieve good lateral movement.


At a beginner level a simple cardio move to introduce safely would be a side to side rockmovement using the arms for balance in opposition to the leg lift. This rocking movement helps develop muscle memory for maintaining a vertical position whenwalking or to assist recovery from a side slip to prevent a fall. For beginner strengthening, cue the participant to lean to one side to touch the hand down towards the ankle on the same side.

Add a noodle or dumbbell for extra resistance. This move brings the rib cage down in side flexion towards the hip bone. For optimal strengthening repeat the move for sufficient repetitions on one side to isolate the oblique on that side rather than swinging back and forth as for cardio. Repeat to the opposing side.

For an intermediate level  a side to side jump-kick can be used for cardio and heart rate elevation.

The jump move can remain on one side for strengthening in shallow water (stay in a neutral working position - or under the water) .

An Advanced Level Exercise   is to perform the  “pendulum prayer” (side to side) adding diamond legs to disengage the hip flexor.

External rotation of the hips (or putting the soles of the feet together in a diamond position) will disengage the strong hip flexors or the Iliopsoas muscles.

Be sure to control on the way down (against buoyancy) rather than just use momentum to initiate the action. To progress the movement stay on one side with this movement.

This movement may also be tried with a noodle or suspended ( shallow or deep water). 

Check out our DVDs click here

DVD039 – Awesome Abdominal DVD ( however, most WaterART Fitness Programs do review many ways to train posture, balance and abdominals)

Full Download PDF Article click here

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