The standing side bend is similar to the side crunch exercise. The only difference is that the upper body has to resist gravity in the side crunch exercise. Side bends require weighted resistance to resist gravity, but the movement is virtually the same as the side crunch. This exercise is supposed to target the obliques, but the lateral flexors of the spine (quadratus lumborum) are also involved. The obliques are commonly referred to as "love handles." They are used to assist with rotation of the torso, and are instrumental during abdominal contractions.
This exercise is done from a standing position. First, grasp a dumbbell in one hand and place it next to your thigh. Keep your feet close together. Place your opposite hand behind your head (Note: This step is optional. You can also place the hand on the waist.). Next, bend your waist to the side opposite the dumbbell. Repeat the exercise several times. Be sure to exhale as you bend to the side.
IMPORTANT: Don't bend too far. The dumbbell should travel no more than about 6 inches up and down.
Grasp dumbbell in hand. Place opposite hand behind head.
Bend to the side. Exhale.
Return to the starting position and repeat the exercise.
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