Everybody wants a nice 6-pack, but what about your obliques? Shredding enough fat from your midsection is enough to get you some definition, but having some fish gill obliques is what will set you apart from everyone else.

The obliques are a functional part of your body and they are one of the most under-trained muscle groups. In order to get fish gills, you’ll need to train consistently and, most importantly, eat right.

While maintaining a relatively low body fat percentage is one of the key components of having fish gills, you won’t be able to see them if you don’t have any.

So let’s get into the exercises first, and then below that is a bonus obliques workout that you can add into your current routine.

shredded abs

5 Exercises For Fish Gill Obliques

There are a lot of exercises that work the obliques, but there are only a handful that are really worth doing. While most are not very functional like a machine specifically targeting your obliques, these 5 exercises will not only give you the fish gills you want, but will improve your strength in all lifts.

Weighted Side Bends

Weighted side bends are a great way to unevenly load your body. You know how difficult it is to carry something heavy on one side, right? This is the same principle.

Using a dumbbell or a barbell overhead, this exercise will really increase your oblique’s strength and will help build up those fish gills.

weighted side bends

Stand with your feet about shoulder width and let your body pivot just above your hips. Keep your hips and legs steady as you bend to one side.

If you want to practice without weight, keep your hands to your sides and try to bend just your upper body and slide your hand down the side of your body. You do not need to bend so much that you cause an injury, just treat them like a side crunch.

For side bends, you want to keep a medium-high intensity and volume here. Since you have to maintain good form so you don’t throw your back out, you hammer them with reps.

Weighted Decline Oblique Crunches

Find your nearest decline bench and start doing oblique crunches.

For this exercise, brace your abs and maintain a nice contraction throughout the exercise. When doing the crunch, be sure to slowly twist and point your elbow at the opposite knee. This twist will give you the definition and help build a more athletic physique.

If you cannot complete many decline oblique crunches, start off on a flat surface until you get your strength and endurance up.

Russian Twists

This exercise goes by many names, hated by many, and often forgotten.

Sit in a crunch position, with or without your legs elevated. Take a dumbbell, weight plate, or even a medicine ball and twist side to side.

russian twist

Please don’t blame me when you feel like puking.

Standing Barbell Twists

Standing barbell twists require a landmine attachment or a way to secure one end of a barbell.

You will want to start in an upright position with the bar directly over you. Holding the bar end with both hands, slowly twist one way, lowering the weight as far as possible without losing form.

Swing the weight back to your starting position and repeat for the other side.

Side Jackknifes

This exercise is great because you don’t have to have gym equipment to do them.

Lay on your side and use your hand for balance. Lift your top leg up, and perform an oblique crunch. This exercise is a bodybuilding staple and should be added to your arsenal immediately.

This exercise is one you go until you cannot anymore, rest, and go again. Think of this as your “finisher” exercise.

Sample Obliques Workout

Below is a sample obliques workout you could add in on your accessories day, or your leg day. (do you even leg day?)

Fish Gill Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Weighted Side Bends 3 12
Weighted Decline Oblique Crunches 2 20
Russian Twists 3 15
Standing Barbell Twists 2 15
Side Jackknifes 2 AMAP
Planks 2 ALAP

Workout Tips

  • AMAP – As many as possible
  • ALAP – As long as possible
  • Form is everything – don’t be lazy

Check out this video of some insane calisthenics:

Wrapping It Up

The key to getting a nice midsection is to eat right. You can have the best looking set of obliques, but if they are lined in body fat then you will never see it.

Check out these 3 nutrition related articles for help on tightening up your diet:

Try this workout and modify if needed. The main idea here is to really tighten up on your diet and use effective exercises like the ones listed above.

Let me know if you’ve tried this out and let me know your progress.

Check out these related articles:

3 Day Powerbuilding Workout Routine

Get Fit or Die Tryin: 12 Week Cardio and Weight Training Program

6 Best Assistance Exercises To Build a Big Barbell Squat