If you’re looking to build core strength, stability, and balance in your body in an effective way, then the side plank is a great go-to exercise.
Beyond that, it can also help engage your shoulders and arms for increased resilience all while providing an array of other benefits that range from improving flexibility to boosting spinal health.
We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to provide you with the proper form for performing the side plank as well as its advantages and tips on optimizing each rep.
Whether you’re new or experienced when it comes to exercises like these, let our how-to guide be your source for achieving excellent results quickly!
Benefits of Side Plank
The Side Plank looks easy, but it’s a challenge to hold your body in this posture for a while. Focus on the muscles you’re working. Benefits include:
- Stronger core
- Toned obliques and abs
- Stable spine
- Better balance and coordination
Also, it can help with posture by reducing stress on the neck and shoulders. Flexibility in hips and legs also increases, which is great for runners. Try variations like raising your top leg or arm while holding a weight. Keep proper form throughout.
Incorporate Side Planks into your fitness routine. After six weeks of daily practice, one person noticed improvements in posture and core strength. Mentally, they felt more confident in themselves!
Muscles Worked during Side Plank
Side Plank is amazing for building core strength and stability. It works multiple muscles, creating a toned and strong body. Muscles used in Side Plank are: obliques, transverse abdominis, gluteus medius, adductors, and erector spinae.
Make minor changes for targeting certain muscles. Like calf-raises for calves or arm-raises for deltoids.
Form is key for maximum benefits. Poor form can cause back strain and injuries. Good form maximizes muscle activation.
Start Side Plank today! Strengthen your core for improved posture and balance. Get fit and toned!
How To Do A Side Plank
The side plank is a powerful exercise that strengthens your obliques, abs, back, and hips. It also improves balance and stability. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you perform a side plank correctly:
Step 1: Start on Your Side
- Begin by lying on your side with your feet stacked on top of each other.
- Prop your body up on your lower forearm, ensuring your elbow is directly below your shoulder.
Step 2: Align Your Body
- Align your body so that your head, shoulders, hips, and legs form a straight line.
- Your free hand can either be placed on your hip or raised towards the ceiling.
Step 3: Engage Your Core
- Pull in your belly button and squeeze your glutes to engage your core.
- This will help you maintain stability during the exercise.
Step 4: Hold the Position
- Hold this position for as long as you can while maintaining good form.
- Aim for 20-30 seconds at first and gradually work your way up to one minute or more.
Step 5: Switch Sides
- Slowly lower your body back down to the starting position.
- Switch to the other side and repeat the same steps.
Proper Form for Side Plank
For a successful workout, having proper form for side plank is essential. This activates the targeted muscles and avoids injuries. Follow these 5 steps:
- Lie on your right side, legs stacked one on top of the other.
- Prop up on your right elbow creating a line from head to feet.
- Engage your core and lift the hips until you have a straight line.
- Hold for 30 seconds-1 minute, breathing deeply and then lower yourself.
- Do the same on the other side.
Keep shoulders away from ears, engage glutes and leg muscles, breath normally & keep a neutral spine. For an extra challenge: lift the top leg/arm or hold a weight in free hand.
A pro tip: concentrate on contracting obliques instead of relying only on shoulder strength. With regular practice, core strength and stability increase, with reduced risk of injury.
Tips for Doing a Side Plank
Side planks are great for working out the core muscles. They can help with posture and provide stability to the hips and spine. Here are some tips for doing them properly:
- Lie on one side, with your elbow under the shoulder.
- Lift the hips off the floor and make a straight line from head to toe.
- Keep the core muscles engaged during the exercise.
- Hold the position for 20 seconds, then lower.
- Do the same on the other side.
When doing side planks, lift the hips and keep the body in a straight line. Don’t let the top hip drop towards the floor. Engage the core muscles too, to avoid injury.
Remember to not hold your breath during the exercise, as it can cause strain on both the ribcage and lungs.
Side planks were originally made for dancers to help with balance. But they’ve become popular with everyone looking for fitness routines. So if you want to improve posture or want to incorporate abdominal exercises into your routine – give these tips a go!
Common Mistakes while Doing a Side Plank
Doing a side plank wrong is common. This leads to ineffectiveness and even injury. Common errors to dodge:
- Hips sagging or dropping – This puts too much strain on the lower back and reduces exercise performance.
- Not activating your core – Important to engage abs muscles by drawing belly button to spine while steadying yourself in side plank pose.
- Incorrect elbow or wrist placement – Elbows should be under the shoulder when propping up, and wrists in line with elbow to maintain weight balance on the forearms for steadiness.
To do a side plank properly, remember these hints:
- Keep alignment from head to toes.
- Pull shoulder blades down and back.
- Modifications make practice more comfortable.
Easy adjustments to make. First, activate abs muscles before starting. Second, pay attention to sharing weight evenly across forearms and palms. Third, check alignment from head to feet during each rep for optimum results.
Variations of Side Plank
Ready to level up your fitness routine? Check out these variations of Side Plank! They’ll provide you with new challenges and work different muscle groups.
Here’s a guide to performing them:
- Start with the basics. Stack your feet together and lift yourself off the ground using one hand while the other rests on your hip.
- Get tougher by lowering and raising your hips in a controlled motion while holding the plank position.
- For the adventurous, try Thread the Needle – lift your top arm, twist it under your body towards the opposite side’s hip, then return to start.
- The Star Plank is another variation – lift both hands and legs off the ground at once, while still in the side plank.
- Bottom Leg Lifts are a challenge. Stack both legs and lift the bottom leg up repeatedly, while maintaining your plank.
- Finally, do Side Planks with Hip Dips. Start in a basic side plank, then dip down slowly before returning to starting point – this will work your obliques!
For an intensified workout, hold each position for 30 seconds. Plus, these variations let you go beyond classic strength training and target abs, glutes, and oblique muscles.
Fun Fact: Studies show that balance training increases overall athleticism, according to Harvard Health Publishing.