Side Bend

Side bend is a classical Pilates exercise that strengthens the shoulders and core, while increasing the mobility of the spine. Enjoy!

Starting Position

Sit on one hip, facing the side with the pelvis and spine in neutral.  The knees are bent with the top leg turned out and the bottom hand is on the mat, in-line with the feet.  Rest the top arm on the knee. 

To prepare, inhale…

Exhale:Maintain shoulder stability while lifting the pelvis to the ceiling, extending the knees and squeezing the inner thighs together. The free arm reaches overhead, allowing the arm to frame the face.

Inhale:Slowly lower the body, returning to the start position.

Complete 3 to 5 repetitions.

Watch this YouTube video from for more information on this Pilates Side Bend exercise.

Fine Tuning

  • This exercise can be modified by keeping the knees on the mat.
  • If this exercise creates too much pressure on the wrists, it can be modified by placing the elbow and forearm on the mat.
  • Maintain abdominal connection at the rib cage to help avoid overextending the lower back.
  • Avoid collapsing into the supporting shoulder.
  • Imagine you are side bending between two panes of glass. The body should not roll forward or backward.
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Starting PositionExercise