One of the best exercises available for forging strong, prominent oblique muscles and eliminating love handles is the dumbbell side bend. As with other exercises however, it’s only really truly effective and efficient when performed correctly.
Despite being relatively straight forward in its prescription, the dumbbell side bend is an exercise which is consistently performed badly, in a lacklustre manner – or a combination of the two! This article aims to highlight some common technique flaws with this exercise, so that whilst others around you fail, you can ensure that you are exercising correctly.
You only need one dumbbell to perform this exercise. This should be placed into the hand of the opposing side you are looking to work.
By holding two dumbbells, one in each hand, you are significantly reducing the effectiveness of the exercise and cancelling out its benefits. This is because the second dumbbell creates a counterweight and ultimately creates an unwanted rocking motion. You can only work one side at a time.
This exercise requires you to be strict with your form. There should be no forwards or backwards movement or swaying whatsoever as this will only reduce the exercise intensity and may result in injury.
You need to imagine that you have an invisible line running through your body, separating you from front to back. This is known as the frontal plane and should be the only plane in which you move during this exercise.
Your oblique muscles are no different to any other muscles in your body in that they need a suitable resistance in order to develop and grow. You wouldn’t pick a weight where you could complete 100 reps for your chest, so why would you assume this would be beneficial to your torso?
Select a suitable resistance that challenges you whilst allowing you to complete the movement with strict form.
Those of you that are imaginative within the gym and like to push your body to the limits will enjoy this. Always look to enhance the difficulty in more ways than simply adding more resistance.
For the dumbbell side bend this might include moving your support arm over your head, balancing on a single leg or completing the required repetitions whilst standing on a wobble board. Your options are endless.
Here at FitnessBeans, we are a firm believer that if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it properly. This saying rings especially true for exercise technique and form. Simply by ensuring the above four exercise guidelines are incorporated into your dumbbell side bends, you can guarantee that the obliques will be worked fully and your love handles will never rear their ugly head again!