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The external obliques diagonal direction on the torso
2 Credits

External Obliques

Integrated functional anatomy of the external obliques. Attachments, nerves, palpation, joint actions, arthrokinematics, fascia, triggerpoints, and behavior in postural dysfunction. Common exercises and stretches for the core and oblique muscles.

Brent Brookbush

Brent Brookbush


Course Description: External Oblique

This course describes the anatomy and integrated function of the external oblique muscles (a.k.a. the obliques, external abdominal oblique, oblique muscle). The external oblique muscles originate on ribs 5-12 and insert into the abdominal fascia, linea alba, iliac crest, and inguinal ligament. This is the most superficial muscle on the lateral abdominal wall; the internal obliques and transverse abdominis lay beneath this muscle. Research is not available on the fiber type composition of the oblique muscles; however, it may be reasonable to suggest that the proportion of type I muscle fibers and type II muscle fibers is similar to the rectus abdominis and fairly even. The external oblique muscles cross the torso and pelvis, influencing motion of the pelvis, thoracic spine, lumbar spine, and ribs. The obliques are the primary rotators of the lumbar spine, will contribute to flexion and lateral flexion of the spine, as well as a posterior pelvic tilt, a lateral pelvic tilt, and increasing intra-abdominal pressure and spine/pelvis stability. This course also describes the role of the external obliques in facet joint arthrokinematics, fascial integration (integration of abdominal wall muscles), postural dysfunction, and subsystem integration. Sports medicine professionals (personal trainers, fitness instructors, physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, occupational therapists, athletic trainers, etc.) must be aware of the integrated function of the oblique muscles for the detailed analysis of human movement, and the development of sophisticated exercise programs and therapeutic (rehabilitation) interventions. Further, this course is essential knowledge for future courses discussing injury prevention and physical rehabilitation/physical therapy (e.g. “weak core,” abdominal wall pain, diastasis recti, hip flexor strain, sports hernias, groin injury, anterior pubic ligament injury, low back pain), the synergistic function of the external obliques (e.g. increased intra-abdominal pressure with the transverse abdominis, internal obliques, rectus abdominis, diaphragm, and pelvic floor muscles) and oblique muscle specific exercises and techniques for enhancing sports performance (e.g. ensuring ideal oblique length for optimal core stability, strength, power, hypertrophy, etc.).

Brookbush Institute’s most recommended techniques for the External Obliques (see videos below):

The external oblique muscle on the lateral side of the body
Caption: The external oblique muscle on the lateral side of the body

Introduction to the External Obliques

3 sub-categories

External Oblique Actions

1 sub-category

Fascial Integration

1 sub-category

Postural Dysfunction and the External Obliques

Exercises and Techniques for the External Obliques

2 sub-categories


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1. Introduction

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