SIDE PLANK This exercise engages muscles that aid in shoulder stability as well as hip, abdominal, and back muscles that support the spine. Because bodyweight is supported by one arm rather than two, Side Plank can be more demanding than Front Plank and requires precise form for both function and safety.
Note: Like Front Plank, Side Plank is often misused by allowing poor form and requiring sets that last too long.
- Place elbow of one arm directly beneath shoulder, forearm perpendicular to body. Stack legs, then lift hips, keeping body in a straight line from head to heels.
- Press through the forearm and lift through hips to engage shoulder blades (no chicken wing), hips and abs engaged, and avoiding lateral flexion of the spine.
- Multiple sets of Side Plank for short duration have proven most effective to build a stable and powerful core. Aim for 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 30 seconds each. (Note: To properly brace the core for much longer than 30 seconds at a time is nearly impossible and would contribute to poor body alignment while doing nothing to resist over-lateral flexion of the spine—the primary benefit of Side Plank.)
- For athletes who cannot maintain form for at least 10 seconds at a time, Side Plank from the Knees is an appropriate regression (below).