The standing side bend is the type of workout that can wake up your waist, fire your abs, and give you a little stretch at the same time. It can be calisthenic or you can use light hand weights to add a little
A lot of people unknowingly hold tension in their sides. Others suffer from poor posture from slouching the chest to be tight and our necks to be out of alignment.
The exercise opens up your entire torso and enables you to stand taller. This is because it stretches your spine, obliques, and legs promoting better posture and making you look leaner.
Additionally, doing a standing side bend encourages a taller stance. This is because if you do it without leaning forward or backward, it opens up the muscles surrounding the spine and rib cage.
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Moreover, it is one of the large repertoires of standing Pilates exercises that require little to no gear. This makes it not only a mere standing and bending exercise but also focuses on breathing and calming.
All you really need to perform this exercise is the space to be able to fully extend your arms to the side. However, use a comfortable pace as it can get pretty intense.
HOW TO DO STANDING SIDE BEND
Here is a step-by-step procedure of performing the exercise.
- Stand tall in a Pilates stance with your glutes squeezed and heels pressed together. Also, stretch your trunk straight up and tall by lengthening your lower back.
- With one of your arms hanging by the side, extend the other alongside your head. Ensure your arm is stretched long and wide.
- Inhale then try to reach your arm to the ceiling.
- Arc up and over slowly and exhale as you reach. Lengthen your entire body upward as you bend making sure you do not compress any part of the torso.
- Once you reach the peak of the stretch, deepen the cycle by inhaling and exhaling. You can try to lengthen out even longer at the deepest point.
- Now slowly rise back up vertically. Return back to your starting position.
- Alternate with the other arm after bending the extended one down to complete one rep.
- Repeat for the desired number of sets and reps.
STANDING SIDE BEND MUSCLES ENGAGED
The movement works the external and internal obliques while strengthening the side ab wall as well. The quadriceps are also squeezed to lift your knee caps while your feet are firmly rooted on the ground.
During the bend, your legs, glutes and abdominals are all squeezed to give you the base support. This also allows you to bend and stretch even farther.
STANDING SIDE BEND BENEFITS
By allowing you to stretch your back muscles and side muscles, the exercise helps you increase and maintain flexibility of spine and rib cage. You can use this flexibility and stabilization in your daily life tasks
Since the exercise encourages you to stand tall, it promotes a better posture.
You can also lose love handles by doing the exercise. This is because it sculpts your waist by simultaneously slimming and trimming both your internal and external obliques.
Also, the exercise improves core body strength. This is because engaging the abdominal muscles helps to stabilize your torso.
STANDING SIDE BEND ALTERNATIVES
DUMBBELL SIDE BEND
Dumbbell Side Bend is a great basic strengthening exercise that effectively targets your abs and obliques. It can also work your core and waist if done correctly.
The side plank is an isometric exercise that mainly strengthens the obliques. However, it also engages the muscles in the hips, chest and shoulders.
Additionally, it’s a great hip-opener and offers lengthening lateral stretch. Essentially, it’s great in yoga or any workout routine.
The Russian Twist needs you to get into a “sit-up” position and twist your body from side to side. It includes using a heavy weight like medicine ball or kettlebell in order to add resistance and create explosiveness in your upper body.
It is a type of abdominal exercise that works the obliques and the abs running down either side of your upper body.
HALF SIDE PLANK
The Half Side Plank is a great moderate bodyweight exercise that not only works your obliques but also your lower and upper abs.
Also, it can effectively work your core and waist when done properly. It does not require the use of any equipment.
HEAD TO KNEE
Head To Knee is an excellent moderate exercise that targets your hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors quadriceps, lats, and obliques.
Additionally, it can target the muscles of your core, back, hips, buttocks, thighs, lower body, legs, and waist. It only requires a mat to do.
STANDING SIDE BEND MISTAKES TO AVOID
FAILING TO WORK ON YOUR PILATES STANCE
Do not fail to maintain the Pilates Stance as this will work the back during the movement. It will give you the freedom to stretch even further from a strong and supportive stance.
NOT DRAWING IN YOUR ABS
Do not fail to work the abdominals inward and upward as this is essential in every Pilates move. Maintain this deep abdominal work as you reach up and over during the movement.
FAILING TO EXHALE PROPERLY
It is crucial that you adhere to Pilates breathing rule as you perform the exercise. As you prepare to do the move, inhale. As you execute the exercise then exhale. Basically, breathe in and out through the nose throughout.
NOT LETTING YOUR BOTTOM ARM HANG HEAVY
Do not let the lower arm hug the body, instead let it drop. The lower body and the bottom arm should provide a counterweight as your upper body is reaching up and away.
CRUNCHING IN YOUR LUMBAR SPINE
Do not crunch in your lumbar spine because your abdominals will distend and this will weaken your belly muscles.
The Standing Side Bend not only stretches the spine and obliques but also promotes better posture, and strengthens the legs. So if you want to stand taller and look leaner you should learn how to do this a basic standing pose.