Trunk Lateral Flexor Exercises

A toned, flexible trunk can provide stability for everyday movements.
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The trunk of your body moves via the spine and associated muscles. Exercises that focus on strengthening and gradually stretching the lateral muscles of the trunk can help improve mobility. In addition, improving the tone of your trunk muscles laterally can also improve sports performance and reduce the risk of injury caused by sudden movements or unanticipated twisting of the torso.

Suitcase Deadlift

The suitcase deadlift exercise differs from traditional deadlifts because the weight is lifted from the sides, rather than from the front. In addition, lifting weights on each side can be easier to perform with proper form than deadlifts performed with a barbell. You can also perform a suitcase deadlift asymmetrically by using one dumbbell at a time. This forces your lateral muscle on the opposing side to work harder when you return to the standing position. Perform the suitcase deadlift with your feet shoulder-width apart, bending at the knees while keeping your torso perpendicular to the ground.

Seated Machine Crunches

The lateral external oblique muscles located on either side of your trunk are used in the seated machine crunch. The machine, typically found in gyms, also allows you to adjust the amount of weight and therefore, resistance against your trunk muscles. The exercise is accomplished by sitting and adjusting the machine's pad to sit against your chest. Using your trunk muscles, move forward, pushing the pad against the weight or resistance you select. The exercise can also be performed by crossing your arms in front of your chest with the pad positioned against your forearms.

Dumbbell Side Bends

Dumbbell side bends target the oblique muscles that run laterally on the sides of your abdomen. This exercise is frequently used to isolate the muscles just above your hips and can help strengthen your core. Holding a weighted dumbbell in one hand and standing with feet shoulder-width apart, gradually move into a lean to the side; you will lean to the side of the hand holding the weight. Pay attention to maintaining your torso and head inline and bend only at the waist. When you've completed your desired number of repetitions for one side, place the weight in your other hand and repeat the exercise.

Saxon Bends

Named for Arthur Saxon, a pioneer in the sport of powerlifting, the Saxon bend is more of a clean-and-jerk motion than a controlled lift. Using a relatively light hand weight, hoist it above your head with one arm. While maintaining the weight above your head, pivot at the waist to each side. You can also accomplish the Saxon bend by hoisting a barbell over your head and bending in a similar fashion. Either way, it's important to focus on keeping your back straight and your knees slightly bent.

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