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How To Do A Side Plank With Perfect Form

Published January 12, 2018
KC Clements

Written By: KC Clements, MS

KC holds a Master of Arts in Gender Politics from New York University

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<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context":"http://schema.org", "@type":"BlogPosting", "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "KC Clements, MS" }, "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Warrior Made", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.warriormade.com", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/11/Advanced_SIDE_PLANK.jpg" } }, "headline":"How To Do A Side Plank With Perfect Form", "datePublished":"2018-01-12", "dateModified": "2019-11-12", "description":"Learn How To Do A Side Plank With Perfect Form.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/11/Advanced_SIDE_PLANK.jpg" } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">Instructions</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">Things to Keep in Mind</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">Conclusion</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>When it comes to getting a flat, toned tummy, most of us place the focus on one thing: six-pack abs. What many of us don’t realize is that the core is more than just your abs. It’s actually many different muscles that link together—the back, abs, and muscles around the pelvis. One especially neglected piece of the puzzle is the obliques. Those are the muscles that run along the sides of the abs and lie underneath the area where fat accumulates to form love handles. Here we’re going to teach you an incredible move for working these important muscles: the side plank.</p> <p>To perform the side plank, sit on the floor with your legs stacked and extended fully to your left side. Place your right hand firmly on the floor near your hips. Press your hips up until you form a straight line from head to toe. Hold this position, then switch to perform the move on the opposite side. In addition to strengthening those abdominal muscles, this move is great for working the muscles along the backside of the body to help improve posture.</p> <p>We suggest that beginners start with a modified version of the side plank: the kneeling side plank. Once again, come onto the floor and prop yourself up on your right elbow. This time, bend your knees and stack your left leg on top of the right. Raise your hips off the floor to form a side plank and hold. This simpler variation reduces core tension, making it much more accessible to beginners. But make no mistake—it still packs a powerful oblique-blasting punch. </p> <p>If this move is still too difficult, start out with simple side bends. Stand with your hands on your hips. Drop your torso to the right side then squeeze your core hard to come back up to standing. Switch to perform the move on the opposite side. Firing those abdominal muscles helps you to build up core strength so you can transition to the side plank in no time.</p> <p>When you’ve mastered the kneeling side plank, shift to the half kneeling side plank. Come up onto your right hand rather than the elbow and keep your right knee bent, just like you did for the kneeling variation. This time, extend your left leg fully rather than stacking it on top of your right leg. That extended leg amps up the core tension slightly, making it a perfect halfway point between the kneeling side plank and the full side plank. Plus, you’ll get a little extra arm workout from supporting yourself on your hand rather than your elbow.</p> <p>Now, let’s learn how to do the perfect side plank.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section1"> <h2>Instructions</h2> <ol> <li>Come onto the ground. Extend your legs fully to the left, and stack your left leg on top of your right leg. Place your right hand on the floor next to your hips. </li> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/side-plank-1.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/side-plank-1.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/side-plank-1.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/side-plank-LR-1.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="side-plank-1"> </picture> <li>Raise your hips off the floor to form a straight line from head to toe. </li> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/side-plank-2.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/side-plank-2.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/side-plank-2.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/side-plank-LR-2.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="side-plank-2"> </picture> <li>Hold this position for as long as you can or for a designated amount of time.</li> <li>Switch to perform the move on the opposite side, this time propped on your left hand with your legs extended to the right.</li> </ol> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section2"> <h2>Things to keep in mind</h2> <ul> <li>Keep your body in a straight line as you hold the plank. The feet, knees, hips, chest, and head should all be in one line.</li> <li>Open up the chest by pulling your shoulder blades back. This prevents you from hunching your shoulders which can cause you to come out of alignment.</li> <li>Press the pad of your hand into the floor hard. Grip the ground with your fingers to activate the muscles along the side of the body including the lats, serratus, and of course, the obliques.</li> <li>If you’re struggling to balance at first, bring your top foot a few inches in front of your bottom foot and place it on the floor. With three points of contact on the ground you should find you have an easier time remaining stable.</li> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/side-plank-3.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/side-plank-3.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/side-plank-3.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/side-plank-LR-3.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="side-plank-3"> </picture> <li>From a side angle, your body should be completely straight. You may find that your butt wants to stick out behind you or your back wants to arch, but this can cause pain or discomfort. Imagine there’s a wall in front of you and one behind you that you can’t touch to stay in the right position.</li> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/side-plank-4.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/side-plank-4.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/side-plank-4.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/side-plank-LR-4.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="side-plank-4"> </picture> <li>Without actually doing so, fire the muscles of your planted arm as though you’re pulling your hand toward your body. This activates the lats which will help protect your shoulder.</li> </ul> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section3"> <h2>Conclusion:</h2> <p>Done correctly, the side plank will do wonders for your core as well as your balance, posture, and stability. It’s helpful to look in a mirror as you do this to make sure that you stay in perfect alignment from your feet all the way through the top of your head. This is a tough move, but if you stay active and follow the cues we’ve given you here, you’re going to see amazing results.</p> <p>Of course, there’s no need to rush yourself into the side plank before you’re ready. The kneeling side plank is a great beginner modification. It will get you accustomed to the side plank while it helps you start improving your core power. From there, you can test out the half kneeling side plank. That one little tweak to this move makes a surprising difference that will set you on the path to doing full side planks in no time.</p> <p>Another great feature of all these moves? You can do them right from the comfort of your own space. Try adding a side plank to your next home workout or challenge yourself to do one of these powerful holds first thing when you wake up.</p> <p>If this exercise is too difficult, try <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-half-kneeling-side-plank/">Half Kneeling Side Planks</a>.</p> </section> </article>

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