If you’re focusing on strengthening your core, you have probably already incorporated side planks into your routine. The position activates muscles throughout your body—we’re talking abs, arms, back, and hips—making it an excellent way to work everything at once.
As with many exercises, there are variations that can target specific areas. Most side planks help to improve your posture, decrease back pain, and work your obliques, transverse abdominis, shoulders, and glutes.
Side Plank Lifts
Lie on your right side on the mat, propping yourself up on your forearm. Your shoulder should be over your elbow. Extend your legs and place your left foot on top of your right. By pushing into your right foot and elbow, lift your hips to form a straight line from head to toe. Slightly lower your hips towards the floor, but avoid shrugging your shoulder. Then, lift your hips up as high as you can. This counts as one rep.
Elbow Side Plank Rotation
Get into a side plank position with your top hand behind your head. Exhale and rotate your shoulder and ribs toward the floor while keeping your hips and knees pointing forward. Hold for a moment before twisting further and pulling your navel in toward your spine. Slowly rotate your chest back to the initial position. This is one rep.
Side Plank Leg Lift
While in the side plank position, place your top hand on your hip. Keep your hips straight above the ground and lift the top leg to form an open-scissor position. Slowly lower the leg to tap the other. That is one rep.