Before you perform any exercises, prime your body with a five-minute warm-up routine. Perform activities to increase your circulation, loosen your muscles and increase your flexibility. High-knee marching, jumping jacks, burpees, riding a stationary bike or any combination of these activities can effectively prepare you for your workout and help prevent muscle strains or pulls.
Obtaining V-shaped obliques or V-line abs requires lower-abs exercises, notes AFPA certified personal trainer Davey Wavey. Include exercises such as leg scissors and ins-and-outs. After assuming a position lying face up on an exercise mat, lift just your head and shoulder blades off the mat and raise your legs a couple of inches off the floor. Crisscross your legs, side to side, alternately one over the other and after 10 crisscrosses, perform 10 up-and-down scissors. Move right into 10 ins-and-outs to complete one set. Start with your legs together and extended straight in front of you. Bend your knees, draw your legs in toward your chest and then extend them back out. Your shoulder blades and legs remain off the mat throughout. Perform two to three sets.
Add Some Twists
The main job of your obliques is to help rotate your torso. To define these muscles, perform twisting exercises such as hanging oblique twists or twisting crunches. Hang from a chin-up bar, bend your knees and, as you pull your knees up as high as you can, twist to one side. Lower your legs and repeat toward the other side. Complete a set of five twists to each side and then perform another set. For twisting crunches, lie on the floor and put your feet up on a bench. Put your hands behind your ears and point your elbows out to the sides. Lift your head, shoulders and upper chest off the floor, and twist your torso to one side. Reverse your movements and repeat, twisting to the other side to complete one rep. Perform 10 to 12 reps or until fatigued.
Ramp It Up with Resistance
To add more challenge, perform weighted Russian oblique twists on a decline bench set at a 45-degree angle. Hold a medicine ball and sit at the high end of the bench with your torso perpendicular to the bench. Slide your ankles under the pads, hold the ball just in front of your chest, and rotate or twist your torso as far as you can to the left and then to the right. Continue this back-and-forth twisting movement until fatigued.
Beyond the Exercises
While three-days-per-week workouts with obliques and lower abs exercises can help you achieve the "V" look, they can only do so much. You also need a finely tuned diet and an effort to trim down and lose any extra fat around your waist. To help burn the fat, engage in daily cardio activities and reduce your daily caloric intake. High-intensity interval training works effectively to reduce abdominal fat, notes the American Council on Exercise. HIIT workouts alternate short, high-intensity intervals with recovery.