How Often Should I Do Dumbbell Side Bends?

Dumbbell side bends work the muscles of the trunk, particularly the deep spine muscles, explains Len Kravitz, PhD, Program Coordinator of Exercise Science and researcher at the University of New Mexico. Although they can help contribute to a stronger core, reduce the risk of back pain and improve functional movements such as a serving a tennis ball or carrying a heavy object on one side of the body, dumbbell side bends won't create a slim and toned midsection -- only diet and cardiovascular exercise can help you do that. If you do include dumbbell side bends in your routine, do them at least two times per week on nonconsecutive days.

A fit woman is holding dumbbells at her side. (Image: bondarchik/iStock/Getty Images)

Why Not Everyday?

The main muscle activated during dumbbell side bends is the quadratus lumborum, which is located in the lower back on either side of the spine. This muscle, just like any muscle, needs rest between workouts to recover and grow stronger. When you add dumbbells to the side bend, you overload the muscle more and break down the fibers. Strength and function improve when these fibers are repaired by the body. The muscles need 48 to 72 hours to do this. So, at most, you can work them every other day.

Load comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.