Side bends involve holding dumbbells down by your side and then bending at the waist side to side until you feel a slight stretch. The exercise can also be completed while holding a kettlebell or at a cable pulley unit. While side bends can help tone up your torso area, you’ll need to take a couple of additional steps if your goal is to lose fat at your back.
Your obliques, which run down both sides of your torso, are the muscles primarily responsible for performing side bends, notes ExRx.net. Women who are interested in achieving a toned stomach and torso will often include oblique exercises into their core workouts. Once of the main roles of the obliques are to perform spinal lateral flexion, which they do during side bends.
Muscles Versus Fat
When you do side bends, you’re building strength and tone in your oblique muscles. However, muscle tissue is completely independent of fat tissue. Your fat layers are located over the top of your muscle tissue. Therefore, even though side bends will tone up your obliques, not only will they not make an impact on your body fat, any muscle development will not be visible if you have excess fat in the area.
In order to lose fat at your back, you’ve got to make efforts to create a caloric deficit, which is done by burning more calories than you consume. When you do this, your body will break down the fat that you have stored on your body so that it can use the fuel for things like maintaining organ function. Increase the number of calories you burn by participating in frequent bouts of physical activity, such as running or riding an elliptical machine. Decrease the number of calories you consume by following a healthy eating plan.
Targeting Your Back
There’s no way to target fat loss at your back. Where your body decides to break down fat will vary between individuals. If you find that your back is where your body has a tendency to store fat first, it’s likely that it will be the most difficult area to lose fat from. However, as you make efforts to create a caloric deficit and lower your overall body fat, you will see positive changes at your back. If you’re interested in simultaneously toning up your back muscles so that muscle tone will be visible once you lower your fat, incorporate lat pulldown and seated row into your workout regimen.
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.