Why You Shouldn't Do Side Bends
Many people are familiar with the side bend workout, which involves shifting from a standing position to a side bend, sometimes with weights. While you might have heard side bends strengthen the obliques, you limit your core-training abilities and can cause side bend pain. You might feel a burning sensation and feel like side bends work for you, believing it is effective, but this is incorrect.
The targeted area for side bends is your hips, and the exercise only uses a small range of motion. You are not achieving your desired results with side bends, and other alternatives are safer and better for improved core strength. Side bends can also limit and harm your body, so let’s explore three alternatives that deliver the core strength you want.
Why Your Position Matters
Your body’s core stabilizes you. Repeatedly bending the body to the side is ineffective because it is unnatural, and we do not expect it to move this way. Sharp angle moves in side bends can cause back and knee pain, and adding weights can worsen the problem.
Spinal disc herniations are one of the most severe results of improper positioning. Overall, side bends create unusual body movements that can do more harm than good. Fortunately, REACH Rehab + Chiropractic offers three practical and safer alternative exercises to avoid side bend pain.
Alternative One: The Suitcase Carry
One alternative to side bend exercises is “the suitcase carry.” Lift a weight in one hand while maintaining a straight posture without bending forward or backward. Walk in a straight line across the room slowly, and avoid bending or rotating to the side.
Keeping straight during this exercise trains your core and obliques without pain from improper movement. You can also walk backward during the suitcase carry. Find a weight that is not too heavy (that you will be leaning to one side) or too light (so it becomes a non-productive workout).
Once you feel comfortable with the exercise, you can modify the time and weights.
Alternative Two: Split Stance Pendulum Swing
The split stance pendulum swing is a more challenging but effective alternative to side bends. To begin this exercise, stand straight and place your left leg forward and your right leg back. Taking a weight in your right hand, you should keep your shoulder neat and tight, not allowing it to hang loosely.
The object of this exercise is to swing the weight naturally like a pendulum, but the challenge lies in keeping steady and straight throughout the workout session. You must avoid falling backward or forward from the swinging and keep your shoulders aligned with your back. Do not step into position each time; instead, focus on your swing while maintaining a firm stance.
This alternative is excellent for training your core and won’t cause side bend pain like standard side bend exercises.
Alternative Three: Around the Worlds
The third and most advanced of the alternative exercises to avoid side bend pain are the “Around the Worlds.” Start this exercise slowly and gradually improve your speed if and when you feel comfortable, but ensure you have had enough practice time. You will take a weight of your choosing and pass it around your body from front to back, targeting your obliques and core.
It is critical to keep your body straight and centered when doing “Around the Worlds” for maximum effectiveness. You should not lean your body forwards or backward during each pass-off, and your posture should be tall. When you are confident and ready, you can add heavier weights or switch the direction in which you rotate the weight.
An Alternative to Pain | REACH Rehab + Chiropractic in Plymouth, Michigan
REACH Rehab + Chiropractic is the chiropractic clinic to contact when dealing with pain, whether after your workouts or chronic pain. Finding a trusted chiropractor in Plymouth, MI, is stress-free with our helpful staff, and our mission is to help you feel stronger and healthier. We hope you will try these exercises to avoid side bend pain.
Don’t settle for pain. Let us help make your daily routine easier! Schedule an appointment here or contact us at (734) 530-9134 to learn how REACH Rehab + Chiropractic can help reduce your pain and live a healthier life.