We’re getting bendy with it today (<–see what I did there?).
There are few lateral flexion exercises in the mat sequence but this one is my absolute favorite. Unlike a plank where we create a line from head to toe, the Side Bend takes the spine into a rainbow shape. It feels really yummy when you get it down right.
- The hand sits just outside of the shoulder in the set up, not directly underneath like in a plank.
- Avoid hyperextending that elbow like in my plank below (I’m impressed by how bendy that joint is though).
- The arm is just as active as the rest of the body. Notice the slight elbow bend of the top arm in the bottom pic. I’m just letting it fall over rather than reaching my arm into the same rainbow shape as my spine.
- Create space between each rib in the top oblique rather than “crunching” the bottom oblique. This isn’t a side crunch anyway.
- Pull your bottom hip towards the top hip like the top photo.
When to use it
Given that we rarely move into later flexion in everyday life, I’d say do this as often as you can. Simply 3-5 reps on each side will make your body feel more open and elongated. For my compressed lifters, get into a side bend after a workout to open your body up!