The Side Plank…
We all love to hate it. Erin especially (lolz), and me too, tbh.
But it’s a really important move if you want to build up core strength. It really hits all the side ab muscles (obliques), and it also hits your shoulders, upper back or lats.
So I’m gonna share some top tips on getting it right.
The one thing I see all the time is misalignment! Simply put, you need to stack both your shoulder and your elbow in a straight line, in the same plane. So check:
• Is one elbow rolling forward?
• Is the elbow directly under the shoulder?
• Is my head in neutral position?
Next let’s look at feet. There’s options here. I like to place one foot in front of the other. As it gives better balance. But you can stack them if you wish…
So the trick with this plank and indeed any plank is to create tension through the body. It’s useless having a 60 second plank hold if your hips are sinking, or if your shoulders are failing.
So start at your legs and think, can I create more tension:
• Squeeze your butt
• Squeeze your quads and hamstrings
• Draw in your abs
• Feel the tension in your obliques as they keep your hip up
• Flex your feet and ensure your ankle is rigid
• Pull your shoulders down and back. Make sure they’re strong, in their sockets.
• Squeeze your lats to help keep them there
You get the picture. Create tension everywhere you can…
Inevitably after a point, you’ll start to lose tension. This is where I start to see hips barely off the floor, head rolling forward, shoulders up at your ears…
You need to stop! Rest for a few seconds. Reset your position and start again.
Yes, you want and need to push yourself but 45 seconds of floundering plank is pointless. I’d rather have 3 lots of 15s with super strong technique.
What if you can’t hold it at all?
No problem. Every exercise can be made easier. The best ways to do this with a side plank are:
• Do it with your arms on a higher level, like a bench or a fence.
• Drop your knee to the ground (on the leg which is closer to the ground)
The best news…
You actually get better at it really quickly. To see some quick improvements, try this every other day for 2 weeks:
• Week 1: Side plank on each side for a total time of 120s. Break it up however you need. So long as you get a total plank time of 2 minutes per side.
• Week 2: Side plank on each side for a total time of 150s. Break it up however you need. So long as you get a total plank time of 2.5 minutes per side.
• Record your longest plank time on Day 1 and Day 14 and pat yourself on the back for your awesome achievement!