12 November 2015 Kat Selvocki

Side Bends: The Antidote to Left Turn Syndrome

I’m a big fan of side bends these days, especially with marathon training and when I’ve been on the track or at the rink. Left turn syndrome is real, y’all.

It’s nice to move in a direction that isn’t forward or backward. They feel awesome for my obliques, hips, and low back.

Standing side bends are great, and you can do them pretty much anywhere, on or off skates, which is helpful. The catch is that you have to be careful not to let them turn into slight forward bends or back bends–and I see that happen a lot–or you’re not going to get the sweet relief that you’re craving.

Enter: the lying-down side bend, sometimes known as banana pose.

Lie down on your back with your legs stretched out and your arms alongside your ears. Maybe take hold of opposite elbows, forearms, or wrists.

Start to wiggle your legs and feet toward the right, and maybe cross your left ankle on top of your right ankle. Once you’ve moved your legs over–without picking your left hip up off the ground–shift your head, arms, and shoulders toward the right. You’re making a banana shape!

Side bend top - enhanced

Let your head rest in a way that feels comfortable for your neck; you might have it lean against one arm. And then?

Breathe. Let your body rest. Depending on where you’re holding tension in your body, you might feel the stretch up near your left armpit, or along the left side of your ribs or waist, or on the outside of your left hip and thigh.

Breathe. Rest. A few minutes to restore makes a big difference in your ability to keep kicking ass.

When you’re ready–maybe after one minute, or maybe several–switch to the other side. You might stay a little less time with legs and arms shifted to the right. Don’t feel like both sides need to be a 100% precise match, because they probably aren’t. #thanksrollerderby

Side bend side - brightened

I’ve got more side-bending and low back love coming up soon, plus more yoga for your mental game. If you’re in the off-season, now’s an awesome time to work on recovery, moving better, and feeling ready to rock when it’s time to get back on the track.