Does Oblique Abdominals help reduce the waistline? This exercise proposed for the oblique abdominals “Side Bending” performed with dumbbells or cables belongs by right to that category of exercises considered “fat-burning” to eliminate the infamous “love handles”.
Is this really a useful exercise for that purpose? Let’s find out through a quick biomechanical analysis and applying scientific theory to field practice.
Oblique Abdominal Exercises
The exercise itself involves a lateral tilting movement of the spine with a dumbbell, a cable, or performed on the Hyperextension.
It is proposed exclusively to train the obliques with the hope that by doing so also the fat above them will magically evaporate by dint of “crushing” it to the right and left.
If we observe the course of the fibers of the external oblique and internal oblique muscles we easily notice how to contribute to a pure movement along the frontal plane such as the lateral inclination of the trunk.
It is mainly the vertical fibers of the two muscles those to be understood from the iliac bone project to the ribs above them.
Fibers which compared to the totality of the muscular belly represent only a small part in the present instead of the conspicuous number of oblique fibers which, given their line of action are disadvantaged in movement.
The real protagonist in Side Bending is another muscle in most cases unknown and whose activation in this exercise has completely ignored the square of the loins.
This is a muscle of the posterior region of the trunk (originates from the lumbar vertebrae) and has little to do with the abdomen musculature in the popular sense.
Taking the inclination towards the right as an example, it is possible to analyze the movement in its simplicity, concluding that:
- The handlebar or the cable held in the hand determines the inclination towards the right which will be controlled eccentrically by the square of the left loins and only by the vertical fibers of the obliques always on the left;
- At the end of the stroke, the return to the initial position is guaranteed by a concentric motion of the same muscles always on the left side.
The muscles that work are therefore those contralateral to the inclination yet many believe that the real work is done homolaterally.
Oblique Abdominals And Exercises To Lose Weight?
In light of what we have just seen does side bending make you lose weight and make your waistline thinner? The answer is definitely no.
Unfortunately, these misunderstandings arise from the usual bad habit of believing that an exercise can have an influence on subcutaneous fat, shaping it to our liking.
It is thought that “crushing” the fat with a weight in the hand is equivalent to performing burin strokes useful for sculpting our body in the image and likeness of a Greek Adonis. Nothing more wrong.
In addition, the oblique muscles are very little affected by this exercise which instead mainly involves the square of the loins.
Knowing this alone would be enough to quickly extinguish this exercise from the fitness environment.
Furthermore, as for all the others in the category, the same considerations apply: it is not used to burn fat on the “love handles”.
We can safely say with a bit of cynicism that Side Bending for oblique abdominals for the purpose for which it is proposed in the weight room is really of little use, if not to waste time and create false illusions.