Dumbbell Oblique Side Bends - Abs Exercise Guide with Photos
Muscles Targeted: This exercise is ideal for toning your
oblique abdominal muscles which are also referred to as the "love
Why This Exercise is Important: Dumbbell oblique side bends
are perfect for targeting the oblique muscles, which are one of
the hardest areas within the abdominal area to strengthen and tone.
Some oblique exercises only target certain areas of the oblique
muscles, but this exercise, when performed correctly, engages the
Exercise Instructions: This exercise
works the oblique muscles of your midsection. Begin by standing
up straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a dumbbell
in your left hand with your palm facing in. Keeping your back
straight, bend to the left as far as you can, then return
to the starting position. After finishing your desired reps,
change the weight to your other hand and repeat on the opposite
side. Remember to bend only at your waist.
Things To Avoid: This is an exercise that must be performed
correctly to be effective, so it is important to read and follow
the workout instructions carefully. Do not hold a second dumbbell
or weight in the hand you are not using to perform the exercise.
Doing this reduces the impact of the exercise on the side you are
focusing on, as the second dumbbell becomes a counterweight and
focus is reduced from the oblique area you are working on.
Your back should remain straight throughout the exercises so do
not bend forward or backwards at all. All movement should be to
the side only. It is important that this posture be maintained throughout
the exercise to prevent undue strain being placed on the back and
Do not use a weight that is too heavy. Of course, as you strengthen
your abdominals over time, a larger weight may be necessary to ensure
you continue to progress, but it is important that the weight you
use initially is challenging but not excessive as this can cause
Reps and Sets: After you have found a weight you are comfortable
with (one that is challenging but not too heavy), you need to create
a workout of repetitions and sets that is challenging and will allow
you to progress. This may involve a trial and error system initially.
A typical workout for a beginner (if this exercise is one of several
within your abdominal workout) may consist of 3-5 sets, each containing
10-15 repetitions. Between each set it is important to take a short
break to allow your muscles to recover temporarily, thus rendering
the workout more effective.
There are various ways the level of intensity of this exercise
can be increased. First, the number of repetitions or sets can be
increased. Second, the weight used can be increased. Finally, you
can vary your workout by alternating your sets by using a heavier
weight and performing a lower number of reps within one set, and
then using a lighter (but still challenging) weight in your next
set and performing a higher number of repetitions.
Other Exercises To Use: The dumbbell oblique side bends
are a highly effective exercise for toning the oblique muscles.
However, if you are aiming to strengthen and tone the entire abdominal
area, it is important to incorporate a range of abdominal activities
into your workout program. Both the flat bench abdominal leg raises
and leg pull ins are ideal for toning the lower abdominal muscles
and these movements can be performed anywhere there is a flat surface.
View our extensive database
of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that
target the abs.