What do my oblique muscles do?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Your have external obliques and internal obliques.  The external oblique is the largest muscle closest to the surface on your side.  Its main job is to pull the chest downwards and compress the abdominal cavity.  The internal obliques, on the other hand, have two main jobs.  First, it counteracts the diaphragm (the muscle that contracts excessively when you hiccup) so that you can exhale. Second, it allows you to rotate and bend from your trunk.

Your oblique muscles help you bend from side to side and twist your torso.  If you obliques are strong the support the lower back and improve posture.

The abdominal obliques are made up of two different muscles: the internal obliques and external obliques.  Together, the obliques perform a variety of different functions including flexing/bending the torso forward and sideways, rotating the torso to both the right and left, and helping to provide stability to the hips and lower back.  

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.