The Barbell side bend is free weights exercise that works your abdominal and oblique muscles and your lower back. Learning how to perform the exercise is easy and can be done by beginners with limited exercise experience and physical fitness.
While there are many variations of the barbell side bend, you only need three types of equipment: dumbbells, a flat bench, and a barbell. As for the variations, instead of standing to perform the exercise, you can sit on a flat bench.
There is also an option to use dumbbells in place of a barbell. Read ahead to find out more about the barbell side bend.
How To Do The Barbell Side Bend
- To start with the exercise, while holding a barbell slightly below your neck on the back of your shoulders, stand up straight. Make sure to place your feet shoulder-width apart while standing. This is your starting position.
- With your back straight and your head held up high, bend your torso at the waist to your right side as much as possible. Breathe in while you are bending to the side. Hold the position for a couple of seconds and slowly come back to the starting position as you breathe out. Make sure to keep the rest of your body stationary and only move your torso.
- Now, repeat the same movement but to the opposite side. Keep your back straight and head high. Then, bend your torso at the waist to the left and breath. Hold your position for a couple of minutes in this stance. Exhale while you are coming back to your starting position.
- Repeat the exercise for the recommended amount of reps.
Performing the barbell side bend should be done with caution or completely avoided if you have problems with your lower back.
As mentioned, there are many variations to the barbell side bend. While sitting on a flat bench, you can do this exercise or switch out the barbell with dumbbells.
Benefits Of Barbell Side Bend
- Improves core strength by targeting internal obliques and external oblique muscles
- Improves the lateral flexion of the spine and functional mobility
- Versatile with plenty of variations to design the exercise according to your preference
While performing the barbell side bend, the internal obliques and external oblique muscles are primarily targeted. The abdominal muscles and the lower back muscles are also worked on to a lesser degree.
Barbell side bends are easy to perform and can be done by beginners. Having said that, if you have any pre-existing health conditions especially involving your lower back, make sure to consult with your physician before you begin. This exercise is ideal if you want to strengthen your core.