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How to Do Simple Side Bends with Perfect Form

Published January 12, 2018
KC Clements

Written By: KC Clements, MS

KC holds a Master of Arts in Gender Politics from New York University

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<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context":"http://schema.org", "@type":"BlogPosting", "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "Elisa Silva" }, "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Warrior Made", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.warriormade.com", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-2.jpg" } }, "headline":"How to Do Simple Side Bends with Perfect Form", "datePublished":"2018-01-12", "dateModified": "2019-10-26", "description":"Learn how to do Simple Side Bends with perfect form.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-2.jpg" } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">Instructions</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">Things To Keep In Mind</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">Conclusion</a></li> </a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>When it comes to training your core, you’ll find an incredible variety of exercises. There are some that will strengthen your spine, some that will help you achieve a flat, toned core and still others to reveal those strong ab muscles lying in wait under your belly. One of the most common areas people tend to target are the obliques. These are the abdominal muscles that run along the sides of your core where the fat we refer to as “love handles” tends to accumulate. Here we’ll teach you a simple exercise you can do almost anywhere to work your obliques: <i>the simple side bend.</i></p> <p>The simple side bend is as easy as its name indicates. Begin in a standing position with your hands on your hips then drop your torso to your right side. Squeeze your ab muscles hard to pull yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat the move on your left side. This is a great exercise not only for working your obliques, but also for strengthening and mobilizing your spine. Strengthening this area can prevent back pain and improve resilience in your spine which is important for all of us and especially those who are aging.</p> <p>When you’re comfortable with the simple side bend and ready for something more challenging, try the one arm simple side bend. Do everything just the same as you did for the side bend, but this time place your left hand on your hip and extend your right arm all the way up like you’re raising your hand. Drop your torso to the left to, then squeeze back up to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side. The one arm variation is going to give you an incredible stretch throughout the side of the body from the shoulders and lats all the way down to your toes. </p> <p>Finally, you can move on to the advanced two arm simple side bend. Again, this move builds on the simple side bend. Bring both hands over your head and interlace your fingers, then perform the side bend, first on your left, then on the right. Because you’re not stabilizing yourself with your arms, you’re going to have to really work those oblique muscles to pull yourself up, helping you build strength and stability in your core.</p> <p>As with all of the exercises we show you, it’s important not to push yourself so hard that you feel discomfort or pain. If you’re struggling to perform the movement at first, reduce the range of motion to a point that feels good. You can always work your way up to a larger movement over time.</p> <p>Let’s get started by learning how to do the perfect simple side bend.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section1"> <h2>Instructions:</h2> <ol> <li>Start in a standing position with your hands on your hips and your elbows pulled back so your chest is nice and open.</li> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-1.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-1.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-1.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-LR-1.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="simple-side-bends-1"> </picture> <li>Squeeze your glutes and abdominal muscles, then lean your torso to your right side.</li> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-2.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-2.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-2.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-LR-2.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="simple-side-bends-2"> </picture> <li>Press yourself back up to the starting position, then repeat the movement on your left side.</li> <li>Continue alternating until you’ve reached the desired number of repetitions.</li> </ol> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section2"> <h2>Things to keep in mind:</h2> <ul> <li>Inhale as you drop yourself down, then exhale as you press back up to the starting position. This will keep you focused on your form and rhythm while getting the blood pumping to your muscles.</li> <li>Stay nice and tall in your spine as you dip your body to the side, making sure not to slouch. You should feel like you’re actively pulling your body to the side, not relying on gravity to drop you down.</li> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-3.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-3.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-3.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-LR-3.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="simple-side-bends-3"> </picture> <li>Focus on squeezing those glutes and ab muscles, staying active through the movement. Keep your pelvis tucked. You should feel the movement in your ab muscles.</li> <li>Make sure that your body isn’t moving forward or backward while you’re performing the movement. Imagine that you’re standing between two walls—one right in front of you and one behind—and you need to keep yourself between them.</li> </ul> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-4.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-4.jp2" type="image/jp2"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-4.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/simple-side-bends-LR-4.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="simple-side-bends-4"> </picture> <section id="section3"> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>In the world of core exercises, you won’t find much easier than the simple side bend. Despite the ease of this move, as long as you follow the form cues here and stay active throughout, it’s going to work your obliques hard. Added benefits include: strengthening your spine, and improving both your mobility and flexibility.</p> <p>Again, there’s no need to push yourself too hard. If you’re finding that the exercise is too difficult for you when you’re starting out, simply reduce your range of motion. With time, you’ll definitely be able to drop further and further down until you can complete the full movement.</p> <p>From the simple side bend, you can move to the one arm side bend and, eventually, the two arm side bend. This is a great progression of moves, with each step helping you to build a little more core strength, flexibility, and more mobility. </p> <p>Another great benefit of the simple side bend? You can do this move anywhere that you can stand up. Try adding some sets to your next workout or do a few repetitions in your kitchen while you’re waiting for your coffee to brew.</p> <p>If this exercise is too easy, try <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-one-arm-side-bend/">One Arm Side Bends</a>.</p> </section> </article>

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