Side Plank
Instructions and Videos



The side plank exercise and its variations will strengthen your sides and lower back.

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Use these full instructions and videos to make sure you're doing it correctly.

Why do we need strong side muscles (Obliques)?

Well they're the muscles used whenever we bend or twist our bodies.

Think about how many times you bend and twist during a normal day, and how crucial those actions are during any sort of exercise.

Your sides are important parts of your core, often forgotten about. You use them lots more than you may realise.

The key word is balance. The best way to improve performance is to have a strong core. But the best way to stay injury free, is to have a balanced core.

This means evenly strengthening the front, back and sides of your core. Ultimately, when you do this, you'll be able to control your movements better (improved performance) and be confident your spine is well protected (reduced chance of a back injury).

Always remember, the side plank and other core exercises are aimed towards stabilising your spine and preventing back injuries.

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Enough about 6-pack abs, let's return to keeping your back injury-free..

The Side Plank

This is best done on soft ground or an exercise mat:

  • Lie on your right side and relax.
  • Keep your right forearm flat on the mat (at a right angle from your body), and your feet stacked.
  • Lift your body up on to your forearm and the side of your right foot.
  • Aim for a straight line between your head and feet.
  • Rest your left arm by your side or lift it straight up towards the sky.
  • Hold for 10 seconds and relax.
  • Turn around and repeat on your left side.
  • Progress by holding it for longer each time, aim for 1 minute or even longer.

Tips: Keep your body weight balanced and focus on working your core muscles (abs, back and hips), rather than your legs and arms. Keep breathing throughout. Take steady breaths, never hold your breath.

Exercise Pictures

Side Plank Variations

To Make It Easier

The side plank is pretty hard to hold if your core is still weak. If you're finding you can't hold it for at least 10 seconds, try this variation:

  • Lie on your right side with knees bent.
  • Keep your right forearm flat on the mat (at a right angle from your body), and your feet in the air.
  • Lift your body up on to your forearm and the side of your right knee.
  • Aim for a straight line between your head and knees.
  • Rest your left arm by your side or lift it straight up towards the sky.
  • Hold for 10 seconds and relax.
  • Turn around and repeat on your left side.
  • Progress by holding it for longer each time, aim for 30 seconds then try the original exercise (above).

Tips: Keep your body weight balanced and focus on working your core muscles (abs, back and hips), rather than your legs and arms. Keep breathing throughout. Take steady breaths, and never hold your breath.



To Make It Harder

Need more of a challenge? These 2 variations make the original exercise harder by adding weight or reducing the stable base.

  1. Follow the instructions for the original side plank. But this time, have a light dumbbell handy. Lift it up towards the sky with your non weight-bearing arm, and hold it there, or...
  2. Start on your side, and lift your body on to your hand (with your arm straight), and feet stacked. Then continue with the original (side) plank instructions in this position. Ensure you have a straight line from one hand to the other.

Tips: Make sure you have good core strength before you try these harder variations. Keep your core balanced by doing equal amounts on each side.

Click here for 5 tips to lose that stubborn belly fat.

Side Plank Exercise Videos

Enjoy doing these exercises! Check out the following videos, submitted by people to help you perfect that technique:



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