It’s time you should face the truth: You are not giving your love handles much love by performing side bends.
No matter how much you think you are feeling the burn by only bending an just inch or two to either side with a plate or dumbbell in one hand, it is time to call it quits on this uselessly praised exercise. Mathew Forzaglia and Ebenezer Samuel are convinced that you’re not just wasting your time—you might be putting yourself in perilous circumstances.
“This is one of those workouts that you wonder, “Why are they doing it?” Forzaglia says. “It is just one of those types of movements that you can look at or do, and it doesn’t feel good for your spine.”
Why You Should Stop Doing Side Bends
The side bend’s main goal is to move from side to side while you’re holding a weight, but eventually the weight will slide forward, pulling you right out of alignment and pushing your shoulders backward. The load places an unpleasant and maybe dangerous strain on the lower back after the shift. “What happens once we’ve pulled forward, our lower back isn’t in that normal deadlift posture where everything is nice and tight, but rather out of position,” Samuel explains. “So it’s difficult to find that balance, and you’re opening yourself up to a lot of risk for harm, which is something you don’t want.”
Alternatives to the Side Bend for Strengthening Your Obliques
3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions per side
The Paloff press is a much more efficient method of targeting your obliques abs. Here, the emphasis is on anti-rotation—securing the weight in front of the chest and avoiding side-to-side rotation—but we’ll have no trouble finding that muscle group and target much easier than just pulling sides.
Single-Arm Farmers Carry (Suitcase Carry)
3 sets of 40 sec marches per side
Carrying a heavy load is more functional than any other exercise. Obliques are strengthened by using just one arm to carry weight, and you’ll burn some calories while doing so. Consider holding a kettlebell or dumbbell as a replica exercise for those bags of groceries you’ll need to carry from your vehicle to your kitchen after your workout.
3 sets of 4 to 6 repetitions per side
While you’re getting a lot of upper-body work and body awareness, this sophisticated activity includes an overhead element and a lot of technicality. The overhead windmill activates your hips by utilizing your hinge motions. You’ll twist the torso as you descend—that’s three planes of movement all in one exercise. That is about how you maneuver in reality. Isn’t it a lot more reasonable than simply bending from side to side?