Muscles Targeted: The primary muscles targeted by the dynamic side bridge are the external obliques and the internal obliques. The secondary muscles involved include the deltoids, pectoralis major, erector spinae, rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus, glutes, hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles. These are all targeted with this exercise although to varying degrees as secondary assistor muscles. The secondary muscles being worked in this exercise act as stabilizers thereby keeping the entire body in a straight line. The dynamic side bridge is a motionless exercise and can also be considered as a pose which you hold for a specific duration of time thereby making it ideal for training the core muscles and especially the obliques (love handles) to make them stronger.
Exercise Instructions: Place a soft mat on the ground and lie on your side. Align your forearm under your shoulder and lift your hips up into a straight line while keeping your entire body stable and aligned. Keep your hips up and your back flat. Hold this pose anywhere from 15 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on your level of fitness and then relax.
Things To Avoid: Although there is no direct motion or movement occurring while performing this exercise, it would be wise to adhere to proper technique and perform the exercise with correct form at all times. Below are some key points to keep in mind along with things to avoid while performing the dynamic side bridge:
- Do not round your back.
- Neck and spine neutrality should not be compromised throughout the duration of the exercise.
- Do not lower the hips while performing this exercise. If you notice the hips getting lowered, it may be due to not being familiar with the exercise or because you are holding the position for too long. In this case, stop the exercise and take a few minutes to rest and begin again.
- Do not lose tightness in your core muscles throughout the duration of the exercise.
- Maintain optimal a smooth breathing pattern during the exercise.
- When performing this exercise with the left arm on the floor, keep the right arm fixed on the right obliques and vice-versa. Do not rotate or swing the arms.
- Avoid sinking the knees too low or raising them too high. They should be in a straight line with the spine and neck.
- Avoid rotating the head while performing the exercise and keep the eyes locked at a specific spot in front of you.
- Do not perform this exercise directly on the floor. Use an exercise mat or towel to provide protection for your elbows.
Reps and Sets: Even though the dynamic side bridge is one of those exercises that works a lot of muscles isometrically at the same time, it should be performed for a certain time limit for each set. As with every exercise, this one also has different recommendations from beginners to more experienced individuals. Beginners should focus more on learning the exercise and performing it correctly with proper form. Here are the respective sets and duration for which this exercise can be performed:
- Beginners: Sets: 1-3; Duration: 30-60 seconds per side per set.
- Experienced: Sets: 3-5; Duration: 1-3 minutes per side per set.
Other Exercises To Use: If you’re unable to perform this exercise due to a preexisting injury, discomfort or you just don’t enjoy doing this exercise, checkout the following exercises that can serve as alternatives for the dynamic side bridge: