As mentioned in my previous article, YTU Sidewinder exercise is unbelieveably great for the QL.

This pose laterally extends and flexes the spine, broadens the ribcage, and awakens the whole torso.  Sidewinder strengthens the obliques and the quadratus lomborum and releases the tissues of the intercostal muscles, those tiny little muscles between the ribs, that tend to be ignored.  The blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues receive a blast of new oxygen, helping to clean out disease or chronic tension and stress in the muscles. I love teaching and practicing this pose because it warms up the whole body.  Oh, and did I mention you get to lie down on your back on a soft, comfy blanket while doing this exercise?  Yes, you do.  You are completely supported on the earth as your body does the work it needs to do.  Try this one with your friends and family and see how much fun you have while tuning up your body!

P.S. I can’t sign off without mentioning Sidewinder-Tantrum Variation.  Yes, you read that correctly.   All the benefits of traditional Sidewinder with permission to have tantrum.  I speak from experience.  This is a GREAT stress reliever.  In fact I love it so much that I’ve included it below.  Enjoy tuning up.

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Terry Littlefield

Terry Littlefield, RYT-500, Integrated Yoga Tune Up® teacher, and long-time practitioner, is a passionate educator with a big sense of humor and an even bigger heart. Her classes are a blend of science and spirit, breath work and ball work (Yoga Tune Up® therapy balls, of course), movement and meditation. If you want to have fun and experience safe, functional movement within your yoga practice, she’s your yogi.

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That side winder is going to go on my list of favourites of movements that l have learnt in YTU. Each day l keep moving my body is happy and gives me back lots of energy and am happy moving.# movement is happiness.

Kathryn Featherstone

I REALLY enjoyed this pose – it was relaxing yet such a great strengthener – I have heard that many people have found great relief in their lower back – I plan to commit to doing this often so I will cross my fingers that I too find some relief – thank you

Hyewon Lee

The post that I was reading about a golf brought me to your post. Since I started playing golf, I developed a lateral lower back pain. Now, I understand how oblique muscles and QL played the largest role in my twisting motion of golf swing. Weakness in these muscles can really damage my body and my golf game. Thanks for the great article!

Sonya Brar

I love how supported you feel while laying back for sidewinder but you are able to deeply warm up the spine and core and provide so much benefit for the obliques, QL and intercostals.

Andree-Anne Gagnon

I really enjoy doing sidewinder but i hadn’t heard about Sidewinder Tantrum until I read this post. I immediately got onto the floor to try… so much fun! And it got my whole body warmed up and primed for more movement. Thanks so much!


This pose helped me so much with my lower back! I have to make the moves very small, but even then I can feel the benefits from it.
The another I taught it to my mum and she was blown away by it; she loves this moves!

Joann Burnham

I did my first Sidewinder today and LOVED it. There such a sense of fun and freedom created by this posture. All of my blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues received a blast of new oxygen. A great way to warm up or leave behind the stress of the day.

Gail Portrey

Thanks for the great, well written description. I will feel free to tantrum.

bre burk

Nicely said! and thanks for providing the tantrum variation. All to often we become so focused on the pose that we forget to have a little fun with it allows for a little stress reduction bonus, love it!

Wendy Melville

LOL, love this article, I had a sidewinder tantrum today and I liked it. The whole minivini series is amazing to have in my teaching bag of tools. No trick here just honest anatomy smarts. Thanks for sharing this.

Keiko Johnson

I often work with children who have weak abdominals. This would be so much fun for them to do, I don’t think they’d realize how hard their abdominals would be working. And, of course, the Yoga Tune Up® name is hilarious.

Simran Khalsa

Fun! Always looking for creative ways to release lower back tension.

Sylvia del Valle Garcia

Hi Terry. Thanks for a great article. Sidewinder is one of my favourite poses. I am enjoying the benefits this pose offers for the quadratus labornum and the obliques.

Alexandra Dionne

Nice to know the benifits of this exercis for reduce the stress and chroniques tensions in the lower back. Thank you.

Lisa Ricci

I love how strengthening weak muscles of the tubular core and low back can happen in a simple supported position like this one as an alternative to precarious abdominal exercises where students are often out of alignment and causing more harm then good. Thanks for sharing the temper tantrum sidewinder variation 🙂

Nicole Garratt

I love the benefits the sidewinder provides while bringing awareness to your body positioning. This variation looks like a lot of fun as well as getting a little deeper!


Thanks – love the tantrum option – this additional movement and freedom encourages so much more activity and life in the abdominal muscles! Definitely a fan of the strengthening and the tantrum-like release that comes with this pose option!


I love the sidewinder. Haven’t tried the tantrum version yet, but I love having permission to do a good tantrum. Thank you for the post.


I absolutely loved this pose the first time I tried it! You could really feel your int./ext. obliques and QL stretching and strengthening. I hadn’t tried it yet with the legs helping to propel you through but that really helps to increase the momentum you can gain!!


Did this pose for the first time in Yoga Tune Up training. Loved it! Not only for the benefits to the lower back and intercostals but also for the freedom in movement. It feels like you can “get a little crazy” – Being in a supine position, there is an uninhibitedness that comes with this pose. And what a great work out too!

Jen Licursi

Nothing makes me smile quite like a Sidewinder Tantrum-Variation! I dare you to try to maintain a serious face while having a good old fashioned kickfest lying on the floor. Also, ditto to the person who commented about how surprised they were by just how exhausting this is. It’s great exercise for the obliques and a great way to awaken and warm up the QL, but either tantrums have gotten harder to throw since my childhood or I’m not as strong in the core as I thought I was. Also, this is a great variation to recommend for any golfers… Read more »

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Great post and description of the physical and stress receiving benefits of sidewinder pose. I tried the pose in both variations this week, on a garbage back on carpet and on wood with the blankets and both are great. I love that it releases the tissues of the intercostal muscles, enabling us to breathe better- how great!


Love it! Those obliques and QL are fab stabilizers for the back.


Having just tried sidewinder today for the first time…I now understand why my intercostal muscles feel “awakened.” I’m glad to know the feeling of fatigue is a result of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues receiving a blast of new oxygen and a cleansing of residue or tension. I’m not sure I’m ready for the sidewinder variation, but it’s good to know there is a progression available for when my obliques, QL and transverses recover. Thanks for this insight.

Sofia Zinovyev

What was eye opening to me about this posture is that it can be used as a diagnostic tool to see if someone has weaker obliques of flexion on one side of their body. If an individual does this posture rapidly, they may rotate in a circle. If they tend to turn in one direction rather than the other, then they have weakness on the opposing side. I love aha moments!


I find anything that brings awareness and helps propriocept the posterior tissues a must! I have been inCOREporating this into my weekly practice and teaching it and am feeling the benefits of a stronger CORE.


Judy Swens

Simply amazing, just got to try this and will be teaching it to my students for sure!

Marla Brackman

Tried the Sidewinder out for the first time today. It is certainly harder than it looks. MyI obliques we’re fatigued in a wonderful way! I like this exercise too because you get nice feedback from the floor regarding the position of your lumbar spine. Thanks for sharing!


Thanks for this Terry,
I love this exercise, not just for the physical benefits but for the emotional release too! When I teach this, I usually do it with the students (they are more likely to do silly things if I do it with them). I’ll talk them through it first, then to keep the momentum and energy up I start yelling and screaming until everyone is really into it, after a good 45 seconds we’re all pretty worn out and and any pent up frustrated energy i was feeling disipates.

Tam Nguyen

This is a nice article written in a simple and fun easy to read way. The exercise itself is not so easy if done right. It’s great for the core!

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