Give it a Go - Side Plank

Planks are a great exercise for working & challenging your core muscles (deep trunk muscles at the front, side and back and including the hips), which are essential for supporting the spine, ensuring good posture, and almost every movement we do on a daily basis. By strengthening your core muscles you will improve the effectiveness of any exercise you do and/or sport you play, your ability to function better on a day-to-day basis and help to prevent injury especially to the lower back. This blog will look at doing the plank on the side. Please see my previous blog on 'Give it a Go - Plank' before attempting this version of the plank.

Doing a side plank (and holding it there) is a great way to challenge your core muscles - especially the obliques - and to give you a brilliant upper body and abdominal workout. Are you up for the challenge?

Whilst your core muscles are doing most of the work during the plank, your arms, chest, shoulders and legs are also getting a workout from holding the position and keeping you stable. Being able to do planks correctly is an exercise many people struggle with.

Planks provide a great core workout (and yes will challenge your abdominal muscles) and are more effective than sit-ups and crunches because these exercises generally only work the superficial abdominal muscles.

Planks don't require any equipment, you don't need much room and they can be performed anywhere and varied in so many ways.

Poor plank technique is common, don't rush the exercise at the expense of form - you won't get the full benefit of the exercise. The following are a few tips on how to perform planks safely and correctly

  • Begin by lying on the floor on your right side, with your left leg stacked on top of your right leg, your right elbow bent and directly under your shoulder and your legs and body in a straight line.
  • With control, raise your body (knees and hips) off the floor so that your body weight is resting on your right forearm and your elbow is directly under your shoulder, your right foot stays in constant contact with the floor. Keep looking straight forward.
  • Ensure your core is engaged throughout the exercise (e.g. tighten your abs) and that here is a straight line from your head and shoulders to your ankles.
  • Hold the plank position for as long as you can, breathe naturally and freely. If your lower back/side or arms start to hurt, stop the exercise immediately. Then gently return to the start position and repeat on the left side.
  • Avoid letting your hips/torso/back fall downwards or out to the front, sag in the middle.

As a starter, aim to hold this position for 20 seconds and see if you can do this 2-3 times. If you can't don't worry. Build up to it. You are best doing a correct side plank for 10 seconds with safe and proper technique rather than an incorrect side plank for 20 seconds. Please see my bank of 'Give it a Go - Plank Exercises.

Please remember to warm up thoroughly before exercising and to speak to your GP before starting any exercise programme. Should you require any help, advice or information please do not hesitate to contact me. I would be delighted to discuss with you the tried and tested methods and lifestyle changes that I have developed to help people achieve their health and fitness goals.

Keep up the great work,

Live life actively,



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