T Nation

Info On Side Bends

I’d like to integrate heavy side bends into my routine because my core strength is lagging and side bends are well known to be a great strength builder .
But, being chubby, I do not want any excess hypertrophy of the obliques.
So, I will keep the reps to no more than 3, because once you go over 2-3 reps exercises tend to build more muscle. Correct?

Another ?: Are side bends dangerous for the spine? Do they compress the discs too much?

Once I find a competent chiro I will ask them, but if anybody else knows please clue me in. Thanks

Look up an article from Coach Davies about working your “core”. Look for an exercise called Saxon Side Bends. I understand your concern about getting “thicker” at the waist. I am what people call “built like a fireplug”. I am not sure about how thick your obliques can get, but they are muscles and will grow.

Here’s the link to a previous article I wrote regarding core training:

21st Century Core Training


Please note the fact that if you already have a lot of fat built-up around your midsection, you’d be better off to focus on cleaning up your diet first and foremost if you want to get rid of it.

Stay strong

Mike, I just posed the side bend question to you on another thread! But thanks for reading the forum and answering my question, its much appreciated- esp since it appears I have a slightly slipped disc, so all of a sudden spinal flexion and compression are very important terms to me right now.



I wonder why you really worry about too thick obliques??? have you really seen anybody with bodyfat less than 10% and too thick, too wide obliques?
it sounds just like woman worring about “getting too big muscles”.
My advice to you,if I may,would be - Keep pumping them! All your big lifts will go up instantly. this is not only the matter of you vanity.
you can do so many more things beyond only side bends - which is still top-dog exercise.
you could try:

  • “turkish get-ups”- eiher as a part of warm-up or at the end of your routine(you can do it for time of reps). if not familiar with it, do a search on net or even try to look for it on T-Nation site.
  • Do some sand bags lifts (just lift it, press it overhead, put it on your one shouldr and carry it around a bit).
    Actually any odd objects lifts
  • Do some medcine ball twists, seated, standing, jumping twists with med ball between your slightly bent knees/legs.
  • Tornado ball work
  • Farmers walks
  • Walk with one heavy dumbell held on extended overhead arm
  • So called “Land-mine” - I think West Side’rs wrote about it (actually I’ll find a pic for you) - my absolutely favourites!!! it probably will become your love one once you start doing them.
  • any side bends (I like doing them slightly forward - to hit really obliques not quadratus lumborum, while keeping the dumbell on my bottock)
  • or hanging legs/knees raises WITH various twists.
    Finally, as was mentioned above… tidy up your food. can’t tell what you eat, but still my safe bet would be: cut down on all starches, breads, pastas,grains. Absolutelly throw away all junk & sodas - Water & green tea only drinks (if you like tea)
    increase all green,low GI veg, more decent,home-cooked meat/fish + eggs and some essential fatty acids and you are home.
  • all the low reps, high reps, quick reps, slow reps, crazy reps exercises (whatever!) just SWEAT for godsake, do some GPP work, maybe sprints or at least walk a bit more, be active…

& you’ll see you SLIM-LINE and cut obliques pronto!!!

hope it helps
Good luck,

P.S. thinking of your potentially dodgy disk… start off with carring things,odd objects, turkish get-ups and then slowly progress to various tisty motions.
What is most important - GET LIGHTER, you’ll see and feel the difference when you do not have to carry your extra lbs.

FairDo, I agree with most of what you wrote. However, I feel odd object lifting is just as risky as the twisting motions because -You have to twist to complete some of those exercises.

My back is the #1 issue for now, so when i have my back checked out this week, I’ll have a clearer idea of what I can and can’t do.

And yes, I am cleaning up my diet!