1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

External Obliques


Updated November 22, 2005

Definition: 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.
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Back & Neck Pain
  4. Chronic Back - Neck Pain
  5. Glossary
  6. E
  7. External Obliques

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.