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Discover How To Perform Lateral Flexion to Fortify Your Entire Muscle Collection

Your oblique muscles resembles the two columns of your core. These essential muscles run vertically along each flank of your physique, enabling you to rotate and turn as much as you desire. In the latest edition of The Correct Method, fitness guru Colette Dong teaches you the technique for executing a lateral flexion to reinforce this crucial (yet occasionally challenging to engage) muscle group.

If you’re not familiar with lateral flexions, they entail maintaining an upright posture, delicately positioning your hands behind your head, and inclining your upper body towards one side—similar to the motion of attempting to “compress a nut between your ribs and the top of your hips,” as described by Dong. The side that shapes the inner arc of the curve experiences a satisfying burn in the obliques, while the opposite side enjoys a wonderfully invigorating stretch. (In essence, lateral flexions provide a dual benefit).

As with any exercise, proper technique is of utmost importance—and Dong often observes a few recurring errors during her sessions of lateral flexions:

1. Avoid over-arching your back

Initially, it is common to overexert your back while endeavoring to benefit your core. Dong notes that individuals tend to extend their tailbone backwards, leading to an arch in their spine. This may result in discomfort in the lower back when tilting from side to side—something which is definitely not the intended aim.

2. Prevent hunching forward

Dong also notices the converse issue: individuals hunching forward and collapsing their shoulders as they flex. “This is undesirable. It can lead to strain in the head, neck, and shoulders, and also cause discomfort in the back and spine,” she elucidates.

3. Maintain stability in your feet

Lastly, Dong observes individuals shifting their weight onto one foot and elevating the opposite leg while flexing from side to side, essentially eliminating the core engagement from the exercise. “When performing the lateral flexion, some individuals will move their leg along, transferring the pressure and weight onto their supporting leg, thereby diminishing the activation in the lateral body region where it should ideally occur,” explains the instructor.

By being mindful of these three prevalent missteps, you can fully benefit from this fusion of core stretching and strengthening without compromising the rest of your body. Ensure you view the complete video to witness Dong’s correct execution of lateral flexions.

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