Exercises to Build Your V-lines
V-lines, also known as sex-lines or the adonis belt are rather sought after these days (maybe because of the arrow they form). Instead of being the main focus of a workout though, like chest or legs, they form as a side-effect of strong abdonimal muscles and good cardio.
As such, it’s best to add certain movements to your workouts to help build them — then they’ll just appear one day without you even noticing.
Anatomy of V-lines
Those sex lines are a product of strong obliques and hip-flexors. Your obliques are the muscles which line the sides of your 6-pack (you have one, even if you can’t see it) and it’s important to train them generally for core fitness.
Your core is the bridge between your lower and upper body; having a strong one is important for pretty much any exercise you do, whether you’re running, lifting weights or doing pilates.
V-lines are a side-effect of strong obliques. The exercises below focus mainly on your obliques and some include your hip-flexors.
Cardio and Diet
Having a 6 pack or visible V-lines comes from strengthening your abs, but they can’t be seen if there’s excess weight around your stomach — it’ll need to be stripped off for your V-lines or abs to be visible.
Stripping the fat from your midriff involves combining cardio workouts (workouts which get your heart pumping and body sweating) with effective dieting.
Both cardio and nutrition are a bit outside the scope of this piece. Have a look here for some general information on them, but it’s the best idea to consult a professional fitness trainer or nutritionist to get the best workout for your body and your goals.
How to Use the Exercises
This guide is not meant to be used to as a standalone workout.
Add these movements to your existing workout. Building your V-lines should be a part of your workout routine, not the focus of it. Add 1–4 exercises from the list below to the exercise regime you already do.
If you’re a complete beginner you can perform the first 4 exercises from the lists (numbers 1–4, below). This will give you a good base to strengthen your abs and build your V-lines. Perform them upto 4 times a week, but also consider adding some form of cardio-training to your regime.
If you’re a runner, for example, you’ll already be used to the knee/leg lift exercises and cardio, so it’d be an idea to add balance holds and strength based movements. You could add side planks, V-sits, bicyles and side-to-side push ups (numbers 4,5,9 and 10, below) to your workout.
If you mostly lift weights you can add cardio-based movements and balance holds. You could add high knee twists, side planks, switch kicks and bicycles (numbers 3,5,7 and 9 below) to your workout.
If you do a lot of yoga or pilates (chances are your V-lines will be coming through anyway), but because you’re used to balance holds you can use cardio and strength-based movements to build your V-lines. You could add mountain climbers, squat twists, push-up abs and side push ups (numbers 6,8,11 and 12 below) to your workout.
Beginner level V-line Exercises
It’s a good idea to start off with these if you’re knew to any of the movements detailed below.
The simple movements are often more effective then they’re given credit for, and these will help build a foundation of core strength in your abs generally, including the sides where your V-lines are.
1. Knee Lifts
Start simple. Stand-up straight, arms up by your sides, lift one leg off the ground, bending at the knee.
Focus on using your stomach muscles to lift your leg, not your leg muscles. Engage your core (tense your abs) as you lift. Do your best to keep the rest of your body as still as you can, don’t sway as you lift.
Perform the move continuously on one leg for 20–30 seconds, then do the other leg for the same time. Don’t alternate knee lifts — do one leg continuously then do the other.
This is the movement which’ll prep your side-abs and get them used to being worked, and it also works your hip-flexors.
2. Single Leg Kicks
The progression of the exercise above. Stand straight, arms up and perform single front kicks with one leg for 20–30 seconds, then move on to the other leg.
You don’t have to put force into the kick, you’re focusing on using your abs to lift, not your leg. Keep your stomach muscles tensed, your arms up and focus your attention on your core.
Try to keep your body as still and straight as possible, though you will move very slightly as you kick (as I’m doing in the pic). This is an upgrade to the knee lift and gives your hip-flexor more work.
3. High Knee Twists
More of an energetic movement getting cardio involved as well. Keeping your elbows up and twisting them side-to-side toward the lifted knee is what works your obliques and hip-flexors.
Again, keep your core tight and focus on using your abs to pull your legs up as you move. Perform this movement from anywhere between 20–60 seconds, depending on your fitness level. Stay on the lower end if you’re not used to regular exercise.
You can also decide the intensity — you can move at a regular pace or hit it as fast as you can if you want to ramp up your cardio as well. Just make sure you’re on even ground and your form stays correct.
4. V-sit Side-to-Side
Form is important for this simple movement. Sit on the floor (use a yoga mat if you’re on hard ground), keep your spine straight and lean back slightly. Keeping your stomach muscles tensed, ensuring you’re using your abs to hold yourself and not your back. Keep your back straight throughout, don’t slouch or bend your spine.
Move only your arms side to side, keep the rest of your body still as you can, your hands getting as close to the ground on each side (they don’t need to touch the ground if it isn’t comfortable).
This will work your main core muscles as well as your obliques. Perform for a minimum of 15 seconds upto as long as you can go (upto about a minute is a good workout for this movement).
5. Side plank
Strengthens your side abs and gives a good base for those V-lines.
Hold for upto a minute on each side. Keep your body as straight as possible, don’t let your hips dip toward the ground.
If you want more of a challenge hold the pose below, upto a minute each side.
Intermediate level V-line Exercises
If you’re already used to beginner level you can start with these, or graduate to them as you get used to the above movements. These ones work your obliques more and will give you a bit more of a burn.
6. Mountain Climbers
Lift the opposite knee to the opposite arm. This movement works your lower abs with your legs and your upper abs with your arms.
Try to lift your knees to the level of your hips, but not higher. Again, focus on keeping your core tight and using your abs to lift your knees, not your legs.
Perform for 20–60 seconds.
7. Switch Kicks
This one has ‘energy’ written all over it. Kick with one leg and jump into a kick with the other. This movement requires balance and control. Make sure you’re on stable ground and wear appropriate footwear.
This movement is more explosive and will burn more energy than any of the others above, and quite likely make you sweat. Keep your stomach muscles tight and lift with your abs.
Perform for 20–60 seconds (stay on the low end if you’re just starting with it). You can also choose to do this high intensity (as quick as you can) if you want an extra cardio workout and higher ab burn. This gives your obliques, abs and hip flexors a good bit of work.
8. Squat Twists
Specific focus on strengthening the oblique muscles (because of the twist) while adding in a workout for the legs. When you squat ensure your knees are behind your toes, your butt is pushed out and your back and neck remain as straight as possible as you go down and touch your fingertips to the opposite foot.
Popping back up/jumping back down into squat position adds the cardio element but if you want to do this movement less energetically you can just keep your feet planted wide, squat down and twist.
Again, perform for 20–60 seconds depending on your intensity, comfort and fitness level. Don’t push too hard, do what’s comfortable.
A classic but somewhat intense movement. Keep your back straight on the ground (use a yoga mat if on hard floor) and lift your neck. Touch your fingertips to your head. Touch opposite knee to opposite leg as you twist.
Don’t put your hands on the back of your neck or head in this movement — you’ll likely pull on your neck as you move which won’t do you any favours.
This one’s very good for an all around ab workout and really does focus on those obliques and hip-flexors — a surefire way to build your V-lines.
Perform for 15 seconds minimum. This one’s tough — going for a full minute is the domain of the beasts among you (I struggle with a full minute).
10. Push up side-to-side
A comination of push-ups and high side-plank holds, adds additional work to your chest and arms. Keep your core tight throughout the movement and control the twist in your body with your stomach muscles when you lift your arms.
Perform for 20–60 seconds. No need to count reps, just make sure you alternate your arms.
Advanced level V-line Exercises
For those who really want to give their side-abs a good burn.
11. Push up abs
Start in a wide push-up position, your hands further out than your shoulders. As you move down move one knee to meet your elbow (as close as you can get it). Alternate knees with each rep, keeping your core tight.
This will really work your obliques, hip-flexors and start sculpting those V-lines. Keep the movement controlled — the slower you go the more you’ll work your abs (and your arms and chest).
Perform for 30–60 seconds.
12. Side Push ups
Form is very important on this one. Your hands will be on each end of an imaginary L-shape (see the gif) and one foot will be on top of the other as you rest on the side of the other foot.
You’ll feel a twist in your body — you must keep your core tight at all times. Perform this movement slowly so you can control it. Don’t go for speed or most reps on this one. As with all the rest, the twist is what works your side-abs.
Perform upto 10 reps on each side. Start small, if it’s your first time, begin with 3–4 reps to get used to the movement. If you feel too much of a twist in your body and it feels a bit too uncomfortable, skip this one.
13. Hanging Knee Twists
You’ll need a bar for this one. Hang and hold yourself as straight and still as possible. Keep your core tight, your knees together and twist from side to side. Focus on moving your knees from one side to the other in an arched motion.
Working against gravity will really work every angle of your abs, especially the sides and your V-lines.
Perform 10–12 reps (5–6 each side), upto 4 sets.
14. Hanging Straight Leg Twists
Like above, but extending your legs puts more strain on your abs. Control the movement and perform 10–12 reps (5–6 each side), upto 4 sets.
15. The Pendulum
Using gravity to work your obliques even more. This requires you to already have the strength to hold yourself up on a bar.
Pull yourself up and hold with your arms at 90 degrees. Bring your legs up, your back as parallel to the ground as you can (you won’t be able to keep it perfectly parallel — it’s fine if you’re at an angle, like I am in the pic), keeo your knees together and move in an arch side to side.
Keep the movement slow, controlled and, as always, keep our abs tensed. This movement works your obliques and build your V-lines harder than any other movement, because everything is working against gravity.
There’s an even tougher way of doing this one, and that’s to hold your legs straight instead of bent at the knee and move them side-to-side in an arch, hence the name pendulum. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the ceiling height to demonstrate this variation.
There you have it — a few movements to choose from to build your V-lines. As I mentioned, add upto 4 of these to your existing workout. Don’t do all of the in a row to build your abs, it’ll be too much work in one go.
Make a few of these movements regular in your workout and change them up every now and then; you’ll notice your abs strengthening and eventually those sex-lines magically appearing.
Consider cardio as well to help strip excess fat around the stomach area and for general fitness. Consult a professional trainer or nutritionist to get an individual idea for what’s best for your body and goals. You won’t find a personalised plan from hearsay or articles like this one.
Happy working out :)
Disclaimer: This piece is for informational purposes only. The author does not accept any responsibility for any injury, damage or otherwise which may occur as a result of following any exercises or movements detailed in this piece or not. Anyone performing any kind of exercise does so by their own volition, their own responsibility and at their own risk.