How to Recover the Obliques

Muscular torso of young woman

Your oblique muscles are part of your core, or midsection. The internal obliques lie below the external obliques to the sides of your rectus abdominis. In general, the muscles of your core are resistant to fatigue, so you can train them more than you do other muscles such as your biceps or triceps. However, if you train with high intensity and/or volume and your obliques become sore, you need to allow them sufficient time to recover for maximum benefits from your training.

Stretching and Rest

Stretch your obliques at the end of your workout. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds without bouncing. Stretch to the point where you feel a slight pulling sensation but no pain. You can perform each stretch two to three times.

Target the obliques by stretching in different directions. Include a side-bending stretch, spinal rotation and spinal extension. Use an exercise mat for rotation and extension so you can relax into the stretch.

Rest at least 48 hours between oblique workouts to allow muscles to heal from the microscopic damage caused by training. If your obliques are still sore after 48 hours, rest them another 24 hours. Exercise them again once soreness is gone.

Post-Workout Nutrition

Consume a post-workout recovery drink or food within 45 minutes of completing your oblique workout. This can be a recovery sports drink or a smoothie with fruit and yogurt or milk. Whatever your choice, combine carbohydrate and protein for optimal recovery of your obliques.

Eat or drink adequate amounts of lean protein throughout the day to rebuild the damaged tissue of the obliques. Aim for .7 to .9 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

Drink at least 64 oz. of water each day. If your workouts are strenuous and you sweat a lot, increase the amount of water you consume. Your muscle tissue is approximately 70 percent water, and fluids can be lost during exercise.


Always use proper form when training to minimize soreness. Take the time to warm up before an oblique workout. Drink water before, during and after your workout.


If oblique soreness continues more than 72 hours without relief, consider contacting your doctor. Do not do heavy oblique training without proper preparation. Avoid excessive range of motion when training your obliques.