As much as we agree that crunches and planks give you results, there really are days when you just can’t be bothered to make that kind of effort. They’re both endurance building exercises that push you to the limit until you can take no more.
That’s why we recommend replacing them (only on those lazy days) or supplementing them with the dumbbell side bends exercise to give yourself a breather while actively targeting those love handles.
Now, this is nothing but an amped-up version of the simple side bends. You just add a free-weight to the mix to engage your core and obliques with more intensity. You know that defined V-cut on the lower abdomen that runs into the trousers of fitness enthusiasts? This is one way to get it.
Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with a dumbbell in the right hand. The left hand can rest behind your head.
Step 2: Keeping your head and neck straight, bend from the waist towards the side that has the dumbbell. Breathe in as you hold this pose for a second and exhale as you come back up to starting position. That’s one rep.
Do 20 on each side to begin with. You can increase intensity and level up by adding to your count, and also graduating to a heavier free weight.
Now, For A Few Cautionary Notes
- Take it slow.
- Don’t hold your breath.
- Engage the core and tighten the glutes.
- Try and bend enough to have your weighted hand graze the knee.
- You should feel a stretch, but not a pull in the side. If you feel a pull, you’re doing it wrong; perhaps too fast or in a jerky motion.
- Those with a bad back need to steer clear of this exercise.
The strength training move works the core muscles and is ideal for beginners. You won’t be bored, short of breath, rotting in monotony, and can face the mirror for some vanity time to really see the exercise stretch your sides. It’s a win-win!