The external obliques are a pair of abdominal muscles that lie superficial
to the internal obliques
. Where the fibers
of the internal obliques run in an inverted V position from the bottom of the ribs to the front of the pelvis, the external obliques run in a V. The line is similar to the direction of putting your hands in your pockets.
The external obliques affect the spine, ribs and pelvis. They do several things:
- flex the trunk forward
- support and contain the abdominal contents
- function during breathing, particularly exhale
- rotate the ribs and pelvis in opposite directions from one another
- tilt the pelvis
- laterally flex the spine.
For some of these actions, the external obliques work with other abdominal muscles. This is especially true of the rotation and lateral flexion motions.