Dumbbell Lateral Flexion
The Dumbbell Lateral Flexion / Extension, also known as Side Bends, works your abs as you move from side to side. The great thing about the dumbbell lateral flexion exercise is that you get to work your abs without doing a crunch! This exercise especially targets the obliques and lower abs.
By bending at your hip joints, resulting in a a decreased angle from your spine to pelvis, you are creating a “flexion” exercise. Your obliques are associated with your hips and waist, so that area will get some work as well.
Celebrity fitness trainer, Harley Pasternack, likes his clients to do Dumbbell Lateral Flexions on Tuesdays. This allows your upper abs to recover from the workout you did the day before. This is also a hips and core exercise, as the hips and core play a vital role in the strength and safety of this exercise.
Dumbbell Lateral Flexion Mental Cue
There is a mental cue that Harley Pasternack wants you to have through this exercise. He says that when doing the Dumbbell Lateral Flexion and you are going from side-to-side, you want to:
Imagine that you are pivoting around your belly button.
To perform the Dumbbell Lateral Flexion, aka Side Bends:
- With a slight bend in your knees, stand feet shoulder width apart.
- Place a dumbbell in your right hand and hold it by your right thigh.
- Slide the dumbbell down your leg until you go as far as you can go.
- Keeping your hips still, come back up to starting position.
- Switch sides, using your left arm and oblique to do the exercise.
As shown in the video below, you can use a single dumbbell and use the other hand to do the Dumbbell Lateral Flexion / Extension:
Popular Dumbbell Lateral Flexion Workouts
- The Lady Gaga workout uses the Dumbbell Lateral Flexion.
- The Megan Fox workout uses the Dumbbell Lateral Flexion.
- The Halle Berry workout uses the Dumbbell Lateral Flexion.
- The Katy Perry workout uses the Dumbbell Lateral Flexion.
- The Eva Mendez workout uses the Dumbbell Lateral Flexion.
- The Patrick Willis Workout uses this exercise. He calls them Oblique Crunches.
- The Miranda Kerr workout featuring the Victoria’s Secret model uses Side Bends. She uses them during her weight workouts. On other days, she uses total body circuits designed by her trainer, Justin Gelband.
- The Miranda Lambert Workout uses a variation of this exercise, with resistance bands.
Dumbbell Lateral Flexion Video
This video shows how to do Dumbbell Lateral Flexions using a slight variation. Here, you can see that it is possible to use two dumbbells. This allows for faster reps, but may put strain on your back. It is up to you, see how you feel:
Dumbbell Lateral Flexion Safety:
It’s important to keep your hips still during this exercise. Doing the Dumbbell Lateral Flexion, you may be tempted to move your hips, but this is improper form. You may cause back injury if you swing your hips. You may want to start with a light weight, to ensure proper form.
Five Factor Fitness Workouts
You can learn more about the Dumbbell Lateral Flexion, aka Side Bend, by reading about the Five Factor Fitness Workouts. Harley Pasternack, personal trainer to the stars, wrote this book to show you the routines he uses to work with celebrities:
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