5. Dumbbell side bend
Task: Once a popular part of common oblique training curricula, the side bend is not as de rigeur as it once was. Lifters feared that this would widen their waistlines by thickening the walls of the obliques. The truth is that regular side bends will not only enhance your waistline aesthetic, but also greatly improve lateral spinal strength and stability, which is a huge difference-maker in nearly any lift—but especially on overhead moves.
Execution: Stand up straight while holding a dumbbell with the left hand (palm facing the leg) as you have the right hand placed behind the back of your head. Your feet should be placed at shoulder width. While keeping your back straight and your head up, bend only at the waist to the left as far as possible. Breathe in as you bend to the side. Then hold for a second and come back up to the starting position as you exhale. Now repeat the movement but bending to the left instead. Hold for a second and come back to the starting position. Repeat for the desired amount of reps and then switch up hands.
Tip: It’s easy to let form deviation creep into this move. Go only as far as you are comfortable going on the negative portion of each rep and focus on keeping your movement left to right.
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