Side Bend Flexibility and Strength

November 14, 2016 by VAHVA Fitness

Side bend exercises to build flexibility and strength in your obliques and hips. Your shoulder stability and strength will also improve!

Side bend mobility is one of the most overlooked areas because most people have almost nonexistent side bend flexibility and strength.

A lot of people never work on this area, because it's hard to see the benefit of it and many conventional gym exercises don't require much side bending strength.

However, all sports, martial arts, movement and dance require an immense amount of strength, stability and mobility in the side bend in order for the practitioner to move well.

Obliques is one of the most important muscle groups to generate power for all movements where you rotate, bend and twist: punches, kicks, cartwheels, hitting with a bat and so on.

You also need side bend stability for handstands and for all rapid and explosive movements.

Working on your side bend muscles like obliques also will allow you to reach your ultimate potential in aesthetics, bodybuilding and general fitness. Obliques that stick out of your body also look pretty amazing.

If your training is versatile like you do movement, or you play lots of sports, your obliques might already be in a good shape. These exercise will make your obliques even stronger and more capable.

Side Bend Stretches

1. Lying Side Stretch

oblique stretch

Lie on the floor and bend from the side. Focus on stretching the outer side and use your supporting arm to produce a greater stretch.

2. Standing Side Stretch

side bend stretch

Raise your arms overhead and bend from the side with your hips and obliques. 

3. Hanging Side Stretch

oblique stretch side bend

You can use a bar, a rope or a ring to hang from. Move your legs away and bend from the side.

Side Bend Strengthening Exercises

1. Oblique Press

bend press exercise
bend press

Keep your hips and legs tight so they only provide support. Bend solely from the trunk (obliques), first to the other side and then to another while pressing the weight up. 

Oblique press will heavily work the obliques, but your shoulder and tricep strength is also developed thanks to pressing the weight up.

2. Bent Press

db side press
dumbbell windmill

At the same time when you press the weight up, you bend from the hips, trunk and the knees. The movement should be as simultaneous as possible.

The bent press will build shoulder stability and improve your strength in the core and the lower back.

Bent press was the favorite exercise of the many old school bodybuilders and weightlifters.

You can use a lot of weight with this exercise and as a result use it as a real strength builder. It can produce great results in core and pressing strength.

3. Dumbbell Windmill

db windmill

Your weight supporting arm stays straight the entire duration of the dumbbell windmill. Bend from the hips and keep your legs straight until your assisting arm touches the floor.

There are two ways to do the dumbbell windmill: your toes can point forward and you will bend more to the front side. Or your toes can point more sideways and you then will bend more in sideways.

This exercise will tremendously improve your shoulder stability while also working the hamstrings and the lower back.

Train hard, stay safe.


samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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