The Fitness Trail: Three Outstanding Exercises for the Lateral Flexors of the Spine |

The Fitness Trail: Three Outstanding Exercises for the Lateral Flexors of the Spine

Jackie Wright / The Fitness Trail
Grand Lake, CO Colorado

Last week we featured the first of three exercises targeting the lateral flexors of the spine. Take a moment and check out the introduction information from last week, which includes the set-up, safety and effectiveness guidelines, regarding these muscles and exercises prior to attempting those highlighted this week. As mentioned previously, those with certain spinal restrictions may not be candidates for these exercises, so as always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.

Standing Lateral Flexion – Multi-gym – cable/pulley – external resistance

-Begin standing tall/vertical, with your left shoulder parallel to the cable/pulley holding the handle/grip for the weight stack, head/neck/shoulders/hips/knees/toes all facing forward.

-Move far enough away from the equipment so that you have an adequate range of motion (i.e. the weight plates do not touch upon your return to the vertical, beginning position).

-Engage the lateral flexors of the right side of the torso and laterally flex to the right without pulling with your arms, shrugging your shoulders or flexing your right knee joint. Knees should remain relaxed throughout.

-Then, return to the vertical beginning position of the torso and repeat. Complete the repetitions and then perform on the other side.

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Side Lying Lateral Flexion – BOSU Balance Trainer – body weight

*Why use the BOSU Balance Trainer? In this case, the BOSU enables us to use a greater range of motion as well as providing a stability challenge, engaging the entire core. The BOSU will not present as much of a stability challenge as the stability ball as it has a flat, stable side; however, it may allow you to perform the lateral flexion more effectively if you are struggling with the instability of the stability ball. At the end of the day, we always start our clients off with the BOSU prior to attempting this exercise on the stability ball progressing from a more stable to a less stable position when and if they are ready.

-Begin kneeling down onto the floor next to the BOSU with your right hip close to the BOSU.

-Side lying over the BOSU, place the right elbow on the floor with the forearm in contact with the floor as well.

-The right hip needs to be on the BOSU far enough on the dome so that you will have enough range of motion to place your right arm over the BOSU and onto the floor.

-Extend your body so that the top of the head to the toes are aligned straight as though you are between two panes of glass.

-Thighs are parallel, right leg is flexed back approximately 45 degrees and the left leg is straight with the left foot on the floor for stability.

-Place the left fingers behind the left ear with the chest open; engage the lateral flexors of the left side of the torso, lifting the torso toward the ceiling (i.e. base of left rib cage toward left hip bone). Make certain to lift the entire torso as one unit).

-The right arm will fully extend as you lift. Then return to the beginning position over the BOSU, elbow down and repeat.

-Complete the repetitions and then perform on the other side.

Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at, her email at, her blog at and her Facebook page at Never Summer Fitness.

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