Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredDumbbell
  • MechanicsIsolation
  • Force TypePull
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
Target Muscle Group


Abs Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Dumbbell Side Bends Instructions

  1. This exercise works the obliques. Grasp a set of dumbbells. Stand straight up with one dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in.
  2. Keep your feet firmly on the floor with a shoulder width stance.
  3. Keeping your back straight and your eyes facing forwards, bend down to the right as far as you can, then back up again.
  4. Without pausing at the top, bend down to the left.
  5. Repeat for desired reps.

​Side Bend Tips:

  1. Always keep your back straight, eyes facing forwards, and bend at the torso only.
  2. Concentrate on the stretch and contraction of the oblique muscles (down the side of your body).
  3. Keep the dumbbells close to your body.
  4. This exercise can also be performed while seated on the end of a bench. 
Posted on: Fri, 12/01/2023 - 23:09

Hey, the dumbbell side bends hurt my back. Is there any other exercise I could do besides that.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 12/18/2023 - 17:44

We have plenty of oblique exercises for you to choose from here on M&S. Hard to make recommendations without knowing the cause of your back pain. I have no doubt we have something there for you, though.


William Chavez
Posted on: Sun, 06/05/2022 - 13:44

I’ve been following this routine for about a year and a half and I for once checked the comments on this exercise and saw people recommending 1 dumbbell at a time and let me tell you it’s a huge difference.

Ben Winner
Posted on: Thu, 09/02/2021 - 17:27

The description and video is useless. One of the comments in the thread suggests using one dumb bell. Hold in one hand while focusing on the opposite. Either way I’m not feeling anything from this exercise. Please review and update the exercise and video. Or better yet… suggest an alternative exercise.

Posted on: Mon, 11/23/2020 - 17:34

This is wrong, if you have a dumbbell in each hand it will do nothing except strengthen grip, as the weight in each hand cancels out the effect on the obliques, you need to hold a dumbbell in your left hand to work your right obliques and then swap hands to work your left obliques.

Posted on: Thu, 10/15/2020 - 09:14

There says no secondary muscle but im doing 20rep per side and im pretty sure my wrists are working as well. I just completed 5 sets of 20 rep each and i cant even write comfortable, my hands are kinda shaking. I dont think im doing wrong maybe a bit much reps but it really helps with wrists.

Posted on: Thu, 10/01/2020 - 20:41

Would one dumbbell and side at a time better isolate the muscle group or is both sides alternating preferred? Thanks!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 10/02/2020 - 09:45

Hey Trapper - you can do either

Jay Fisher
Posted on: Thu, 04/07/2016 - 12:41

Is this 10-15 reps to each side or both?

Posted on: Wed, 08/16/2017 - 07:50


Posted on: Wed, 05/07/2014 - 11:01

Hi, how can I avoide the pressure on my back??

Posted on: Mon, 02/10/2014 - 15:56

Steve plz..plz...plz.......help me.im so worrying about my weight.Im 19,my weight and height are 110lbs and 5'9 i know this isn't ideal BMI.I want my weight would be 154-160lbs in 9 months cause i had to attend a function(in Nov 2014) and im taking 2200-2500 calories in a day,doing your every dumbbell exersice(every day) 25rep of 3 sets plz steve gimme some ur precious direction.Im waiting for ur reply

Posted on: Mon, 12/14/2015 - 19:42

Let your muscles rest do it every other day. Your muscles need time to grow! Just ramp up the intensity.

Posted on: Sun, 01/26/2014 - 22:18

Id also like too kno about weight, can i go heavy on this?

Posted on: Wed, 06/12/2013 - 09:27

What about weight? how heavy?

Posted on: Wed, 02/20/2013 - 13:35

Don't roll dumbell over your leg when going up. This is cheating.
Also don't swing your waist.

Posted on: Wed, 01/09/2013 - 08:54

Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't the obliques on the sides of your body and not down the front as the illustration shows? And again, if I'm wrong tell me but don't you hit the obliques by single side crunches with resistance weight in the opposite hand? That's how I've always worked the obliques. Weight in both hands seems to me to be a seasaw effect with no resistance what so ever per oblique.

Posted on: Wed, 09/02/2015 - 19:13

Only use one dumbbell at a time,go fairly heavy not to heavy so it hurts your back use good form 10-20 reps then switch 10-20 and back and forth 4-6 sets each good burn on these!!

Posted on: Tue, 01/08/2013 - 21:21

I'm surprised to see a video like this on what I assumed was a "professional" website. This motion should be meant to targets the obliques (external and internal abdominal obliques) just above your hip bones, part of the abdominal muscle group. The abdominal group that is shown, the rectus abdominis, doesn't flex in that direction. It flexes in a crunch motion. Even if it was for the obliques by using two equally weighted dumbells at the same time, you are doing absolutely nothing to add any resistance to the oblique muscles on either side of your body. This exercise should be done with ONE dumbell, targeting the opposite side oblique. Concentrate on form and do the full range of motion side to side. After you do one side, switch hands and target the other side. This video should be taken down or replaced with the correct way to target your obliques or the correct way to target the rectus abdominis.

Posted on: Fri, 07/10/2020 - 02:30

Wow you are right! I've done this for four weeks and never felt a thing and thought it was a dumb one, but I read your comment and tried the one dumbbell at a time and immediately felt it in my abs. Thanks dude!

Posted on: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:18

Do you get the same effect if you're sitting while doing this exercise? I broke my foot so can't stand.

Posted on: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 10:24

Do you get the same effect if you sit on a chair and do it? Broke my foot so can't stand.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 12/03/2012 - 16:22

Absolutely. Seated raises will work.

Posted on: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 02:49

will leg ecxercises stunt growth?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 10/17/2012 - 14:20

No, lifting does not stunt growth. That's a myth.

Posted on: Thu, 01/10/2013 - 21:00

leg work outs will help you grow muscle do to the there one of you biggest muscles and it helps with men testresne giving you more energy

Posted on: Sun, 03/09/2014 - 03:15

It's a complete myth don't take time thinking on that

Posted on: Sat, 08/04/2012 - 22:33

Your workouts are amazing! Is working out at night bad? Is it better to work out in the morning? I'm only 15 by the way if that matters when should I work out?

Posted on: Mon, 08/13/2012 - 14:19

Work out when you're comfortable doing it. I like early in the morning because I tend to have more energy, but in the evening is easier to time with work / school / whatever obligations you have. There's no such thing as a bad time to work out.

Posted on: Thu, 01/10/2013 - 21:05

if you are trying to get biger work out before you eat if you are trying to loes work out about 20min after you eat

Posted on: Tue, 07/03/2012 - 05:24

Will you please tell me when you are suppose to inhale and exhale while lifting weights? Is it bad to workour sore? How can you tell the difference between sore and strained? I am interesting in becoming one of the worlds strongest women someday. Any tips on strongwoman training and dieting? I love your work outs they kick my butt and are already adding muscle and i'm feeling firmer, exited,motivated, and confident! ;-D THANK YOU!

Posted on: Thu, 06/13/2013 - 19:35

exhale when exerting force. example, exhale when pushing up in press up, inhale when going down. exhale when lifting in bench. inhale on way down

Posted on: Thu, 06/28/2012 - 09:49

Whats the point of having 2 dumbells of the same weight on either side?
The one is canceling the weight of the other and the sum is going down to your waist.. am I right?

Posted on: Thu, 06/27/2013 - 19:00

is this guy right?
can an expert reply to this please..?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 06/27/2013 - 19:18

The movement is effective as described.

Posted on: Thu, 07/25/2013 - 11:15

dude this is not mechanics where one weight cancels the other one. both weights function and help in the exercise

Posted on: Sat, 06/23/2012 - 03:11

Yep. Use one dumbell and you need less weight in your arm, otherwise youre just cancelling the weight out with another weight
Just dont over bend with one dumbell.

Posted on: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 21:42

Should it work with a single handle and work one side at a time?