How To Do Side Plank

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Side planks strengthen your obliques and entire core by not only building strength in your shoulders and arms, but deep contraction in your oblique muscles and hips too. As a fitness expert who has trained thousands of women, I love this isometric core strength move!


Enter your email & get this article sent to your inbox.

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    How To Do A Side Plank

    Use these simple instructions to master the powerhouse side plank exercise:

    1. Begin seated sideways on the floor with your right hand below your right shoulder and feet stacked.
    2. Lift your body into a side plank position so legs are long, keeping your abdominals engaged and your feet stacked. Hold for desired amount of time. Repeat on the other side.

    [adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”apXmrU3e” upload-date=”2019-05-03T14:12:08.000Z” name=”How To Do A Side Plank ” description=”A side plank is an isometric hold that builds strength in your shoulder girdle, arm, obliques, deep abdominals and hip.”]

    Most ab work, such as abdominal crunches, is great for the rectus abdominus (the six-pack).  This is an important muscle to strengthen. However, your core is made of so many more muscles that require regular strengthening.

    Think of this: your core holds your entire body in position for every single activity you do. Carrying groceries? Pull in your core to protect your back. Lifting your kids? Use your core so you don’t hurt your back. Running a marathon? A strong core will give you more endurance for your body overall. Even sitting!

    With a strong core, you will sit more properly and prevent low back pain. A side plank is an isometric hold that builds strength in your shoulder girdle, arm, obliques, deep abdominals and hip.

    In addition, plank poses work on strength of the mind and will. Isometrics are challenging and provide an opportunity for you to measure, in a very concrete way, how strong you are getting.

    The first time you hold side plank you might be shaking after just a few seconds. Over time, however, you will see first-hand how strong you are becoming as you notice how the amount of time you are able to hold the position without letting go is extended.

    Once you master the side plank give star plank a try! For a great core workout, try our 6 Plank Variations for Awesome Abs.

    What Muscles Does A Side Plank Work?

    A side plank strengthens your obliques and entire core and helps you work your way to a flatter tummy and stronger back. Side planks also strengthen your shoulders, arms and upper back muscles! If you want to have a great new isometric strength move, you should learn how to do a side plank.

    how to do side plank

    Benefits of Side Planks

    There are many reasons you should incorporate side planks into your workouts. Here are just a few:

    Strengthens Obliques

    Side planks are a great core move! You obliques (the muscles surrounding your waistline) keep you pulled in tight and protect your spine. A side plank is the perfect isometric way to build muscle strength in your obliques.

    Strengthens Shoulders and Arms

    Side planks are not for core alone! By holding your bodyweight up, the side plank also strengthens your shoulder and builds stability in your shoulder girdle. Your arms muscles contract and strengthen as well.

    Improves Core Strength and Stability

    A side plank is definitely a way to shape and tone your waistline, but it also targets your hips, core and all stabilizer muscles. It challenges your balance by requiring these stabilizers to activate and work as you hold your plank and pull your muscles in.

    How Many Calories Does a Side Plank Burn?

    People often ask how many calories they are burning in their workouts. Most exercises will generally burn about 100 calories for every 10 minutes you are working at higher intensity.

    A side plank is not meant to be a big calorie burning exercise. Of course, you will burn calories while holding a side plank. However, focus more on the results of a strong core.

    Other Exercises Similar to Side Planks

    If you like the side plank and the results you get from it, here are a few more exercises you might want to try.

    Incorporating Side Planks Into Your Workouts

    A side plank is a great exercise to practice any time on its own. However, you could also incorporate it into other workouts to mix them up. Here are some ideas to make that happen.

    Use Side Planks In A Core Body Workout

    Working on core strength is the foundation for all other workouts! If your core is strong, your other movement will be more efficient and you will have fewer injuries. This is a great core strength workout for you to try including side plank as an exercise.

    Core Strength and Stability Workout: Go through each move below with no break in between. Some things you will do for the number of repetitions listed and some things will be held for specific amounts of time. It is a great combination of isometrics and dynamic movements.

    Use Side Planks In Your Full Body Strength Workout

    Full body workouts are a sure way to make the most of your time. In one workout you can strengthen all your major muscle groups and, if you multi-task just a bit, you can also get your heart rate up and burn a little fat along the way. This next workout gets it all done and includes side plank as well as a bunch of other basic strength moves you’ll love.

    Full Body Strength Workout: Grab a mat and a pair of medium-weight dumbbells. Warm up for about 2-3 minutes then do between 10-15 unless noted for a hold time:

    Use Side Planks In a Cardio Strength Challenge

    Another great way to save time is to blend your cardio and strength moves. By going from one to the other, your heart rate never gets a chance to come down and while you are strengthening your muscles you’re also getting your cardio workout in. Sweet! Check out this no-fuss, no equipment workout that incorporates side plank:

    Cardio-Strength-Core In One Workout!

    Here are 3 more workouts that incorporate side planks:

    Targets: arms, shoulders, hips, core

    (This will help us personalize your experience so that you can get the best advice possible from us!)
    Skip to content