When shooting for the perfectly symmetrical physique, one of the most important aspects to focus on is the v-taper. The v-taper is when the upper body has a “V” shape. This is created by building out the shoulders and lats and keeping your waist tight and small. If you don’t have a v-taper your body will look ‘blocky’ or ‘square.’
Shooting for the perfect taper, it’s important that you focus on all not just building out your shoulders, but also keeping your waist small. Avoid doing exercises that will make your obliques thick and bulky. Your external obliques are the muscles that run down the side of your body and are responsible for bending your torso laterally (side bend). Your internal obliques lie underneath them and are responsible for the movement that twists your torso.
There are many exercises that you can do to effectively work these muscles, but there is also one that you should absolutely avoid. That exercise is a weighted side bend. Doing weighted side bends will increase the size of your external oblique and create a ‘blocky’ look. You can do weighted twists to hit your internal obliques all you want, because doing so actually makes them stronger to pull in your waist. But doing weighted side bends is a bad, bad idea.
I wish I had known this when I first started working out. It’s taken me a long time to try to get rid of the muscle in my midsection that was created by doing side bends, and I’ve had to learn how to flex my abs to draw them in to minimize the appearance. But you can still slightly see how thick they are (in the pic above) after all this time of focusing on bringing them down. Don’t make the mistake that I made by doing side bends thinking you’re benefitting yourself- you’re actually doing the opposite.
So learn from me and avoid doing exercises that will take you years to counteract! Side bends are one of them.