What’s Wrong with Side Bends?

Posted by & filed under .

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

My background in resistance training involves strength and power training, mostly through deadlifting and Olympic Lifting. So here I am today to talk about muscular endurance… What gives?

I am not going to sit here and come up with protocols for squats for time or 20 reps because typing that alone makes me want to cringe. I want to talk about the stabilizing muscles, specifically in the back.

The muscles responsible for keeping the torso upright (erector spinae, quadratus lumborum, etc.) are made up of slow twitch muscle fibers. Slow twitch fibers resist fatigue, contract repeatedly, and do not generate a lot of force. Muscles built for stability are constantly keeping the joints aligned and need to be able to sustain their function (aka endurance)

Something about side bends just doesn’t seem right

Usually side bends are done with a weight by the side, but the exercise is missing the point. Functionally, the QL assists in stabilizing the spine and the pelvis. Throwing the muscle group out of alignment wreaks havoc on the low back, hips, knees, and shoulders.

With all the back problems in the United States, we should not be purposely bending it in different directions.

To work on muscular endurance for the spinal stabilizers, the spine should not move out of its erect position. Birddogs, farmer’s walks, waiter’s walks, and side bends are all exercises that will challenge core stability and train the muscles for endurance.  

Kettlebell farmer’s carry. Can also be done holding one kettlebell on one side only.

You will also look more badass with heavy carries than doing side bends. (Note: Applies to both genders.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *