Many people struggle with back fat -- those pesky fat deposits that look like rolls on the sides of your mid -- and lower back. Weighted side bends will help strengthen the muscles under the back fat, but they don’t specifically reduce the fat that resides above those muscles. To burn fat overall, you have to burn more calories than you consume.
Dumbbell Side Bends
Choose a light weight -- no more than 10 pounds -- and hold it in your left hand. Let your left arm hang down against your side. Bend your waist to the opposite side of the dumbbell until you feel a stretch. Slowly return to an upright position, and continue the movement and bend to the same side that the weight is on. That completes one rep. Do two sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
The weighted side bend works the obliques, which are responsible for lumbar flexion, lumbar rotation, lateral flexion of the lumbar spine. They also increase intra-abdominal pressure. The exercise also recruits the quadratus lumborum, or deep low back lateral flexor; the iliopsoas, or hip flexors; erector spinae muscles, upper and middle trapezius, levator scapulae, gluteus medius, and gluteus mimimus.
Spot Reduction Myth
There is no such thing as spot reduction exercise -- in other words, there is no one exercise that will burn the fat off your back, or your thighs, or your abs. Although many people claim they have a “magic secret” to banish back fat, there is no substance to such claims. Exercises that work those areas only work the muscles under the fat -- which may actually make you look bigger.
To lose one pound of fat, you must burn 3,500 calories. You may do this by reducing your caloric intake and creating a deficit, or by exercising to burn those extra calories. A combination of the two works well; you could do it by dieting alone, but adding some cardiovascular exercise and some weight training gets your body into better shape. The weighted side bend is a good exercise to include in your workout because it uses a lot of muscles and improves your core strength.
- ExRx.Net: Dumbbell Side Bend
- Harvard Health Publications: Calorie Counting Made Easy
- ACSM's Resources for the Personal Trainer; American College of Sports Medicine
- ExRx.Net: Obliques
- ExRx.Net: Fat Loss & Weight Training Myths