How to do Side Plank, Benefits, Best Variations and Common Mistakes

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Side Plank: The oblique abdominal muscles, which are not as exercised during ab exercises like crunches, are well-developed by performing side planks. With only one arm and the side of one foot supporting you, you will maintain a straight posture while lying on your side.

Robust obliques possess significant value as muscles that stabilize the core. Before moving on to the side plank, beginners must develop the necessary strength and balance with obliques and modified side plank warm-ups. You can incorporate side planks into your yoga, Pilates, or core training regimen.

How you can do Side Plank?

Side Plank

Lay on your right side with your legs straight out from your hips to your feet. Your right arm’s elbow is situated immediately beneath your shoulder. Make sure your spine and head are in a straight line. You can line up your left arm with your left side of the body.

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  1. Pull your navel toward your spine by using your abdominal muscles.
  2. Breathe out and raise your hips and knees off the mat. Your torso is neither bent or sagging; it is straight. Keep the job.
  3. Breathe a few times, then take a breath and step back into the beginning position. It should be the aim to hold for one minute. Repeat on the other side.

Benefits of a side plank?

The following are some major benefits of including the side plank into your exercise regimen:

  • Simultaneously strengthens three muscular groups. The muscles in your shoulders, hips, and sides of your core must fire and coordinate in order to maintain your stability while performing a side plank.
  • Shields the spine. The quadratus lumborum, a deep spinal stabilizing muscle, is worked by side planks (Trusted Source). Keeping this muscle robust can lower your chance of suffering a back injury.
  • Builds core strength without putting undue strain on the back. Side planks are an alternative to crunches and situps that don’t strain your lower back. However, this exercise is a great way to strengthen your core.
  • Increases equilibrium. A side plank is a balancing exercise that can assist enhance your coordination and sense of balance.
  • Minimises the possibility of back injuries. In the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, a 2016 study (Trusted Source) discovered a connection between a lower core endurance and a higher risk of injury. Planks and side planks might lower your risk of back injury if you incorporate them into your workout regimen.

Best Variations of The Side Plank

Side Twist

Side Plank

Avoiding joint and/or muscle strain can probably be achieved by easing into your side plank gradually before fully loading it with your body weight. Warm-ups and adjustments are used for this.

Perform warm-ups before to performing side planks.

Small curl-ups to the side can help you warm up your oblique abs.

  • Start by lying on the floor with your feet flat and your knees bent. Just to get started, do a few straight-on curl-ups.
  • When you’re ready, perform the tiny curls to one side, carefully extending and contracting to maximize the strengthening effect.
  • Perform five on each side at minimum.

Pull your legs back to the starting position (with your feet flat on the floor) using only your hip bones, letting your legs hang like dead weight, if you’d like to make this technique an oblique challenge. Keeping your abs tight and refusing to let your legs assist you are the keys to making this work.

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Single-Knee Side Plank

Side Plank

The remedial side plank position is a great spot to work on your oblique strength if you are unable to maintain the side plank posture.

  • Lower yourself slightly from a sitting position so that your hip and the side of your thigh nearest the floor are supporting your weight. This leg should be positioned slightly bent to help ensure safe and precise placement. On the same side, your weight should also be supported by your forearm.
  • Maintaining your upper hip and shoulder squarely over your lower will help you maintain proper form and alignment. Make use of your abs. You can place your hand on your hip or your upper arm at your side.
  • After up to a minute in this posture, swap sides. Try to add one or two seconds each time you practice the pose while maintaining proper form.

Side Plank From Knees

Side Plank

Now take the warm-up a notch further by folding your legs behind you and sitting on one hip.

  • Extending the arm on the same side as the hip you’re sitting on and placing that hand on the floor will assist in supporting your body weight.
  • Lean onto your hand while maintaining your hip on the ground. Your oblique muscles will get some isometric exercise as a result.
  • After 20 to 30 seconds, remain there and repeat on the opposite side.

Stability Ball Side Plank

Side Plank

If you stick to remedial exercises, you can use a fit ball or BOSU ball under your flank to improve muscle balance and use your ribcage muscles more.

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Your total body balance and alignment will be tested by the ball. You need to keep your shoulder squarely over your bottom and your top hip in place. If you find this difficult, try putting your top foot on the floor in front of your bottom foot to increase the width of your base of support.

Avoid Common Mistakes

Hips Sagging

Your hips will start to sag and you won’t be able to walk in a straight line if you haven’t developed adequate strength. This indicates that you are no longer receiving the benefits of the workout and that your core is not supporting you. You might potentially overstretch your back and hips.

Rolling Forward

You can roll forward and be unable to keep your hips and legs stacked if you don’t have the strength and balance to hold the posture. If this occurs, attempt to straighten it; if this proves too challenging, consider dropping your bottom knee while keeping your body in a straight line.

Holding Too Long

You might first be limited to holding the side plank for a little period of time. It is best to stop the plank as soon as you begin to droop or roll forward or backward to avoid suffering a strain injury. Keep an eye on your form, and stop as soon as you start to feel tired.

And raise your upper leg for the challenge queen. Either the straight arm support position or the forearm support position can be used for this. Raising the top leg will activate your inner thigh muscles, but you don’t have to raise it higher than parallel to the floor.

Safety and Precautions

If you have an injury to your ankle, elbow, shoulder, or arm, you should avoid side planking. If you have any additional injuries or conditions, discuss with your doctor or physical therapist if it is acceptable for you to receive treatment. If at any point you experience pain, stop.


This article is purposive for intended general information and does not mark individual circumstances. It is not an alternative to professional advice or help. It should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician must be consulted to diagnose and treat any medical condition. Any action you take due to the information on this page is entirely at your own risk and responsibility!

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Rishi Govind is a nutritionist and nutrition counselor in New Delhi, India. He is a Postgraduate and passionate about his work. Rishi has over 3 years of experience helping people change their relationship with food and their bodies. He specializes in helping people with chronic dieting issues, food allergies and sensitivities, and digestive problems. Rishi's approach is rooted in the belief that everybody is unique and deserves individualized attention. Rishi is passionate about helping his clients feel their best. He is committed to helping them find peace with food and their bodies so they can live their lives to the fullest.

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