How To Do a Side Plank

3 Steps to for Perfect Side Plank

Side planks are amazing for building core strength and stabilizing your pelvis. They are by far the best bang for your time when it comes to core training. Forget doing abs for 6 minutes, just do side planks correctly for 1 and you are good to go! If you think side planks are easy, you are doing them wrong. I've taught hundreds of teachers (trainers, pilates and yoga instructors) and I've not had one person in my class say the way I do a side plank is easy. So, if a person who exercises for a living thinks this way is hard, it's time for you to give it try! Ready to take the challenge?

#1 Make sure you are not pushing with your shoulder. Your shoulder should be directly underneath you. Fix: Do it on a hardwood floor with a slippery towel under your elbow and feet. This will tell you whether or not you're pushing.

#2 Roll slightly forward to decrease paraspinal (back) activation and enhance oblique firing (core). When you open slightly to the ceiling it over works your back, you don't get the benefit you are hoping for out it. So, let's stop wasting your time! Fix: Pretend you have headlights on your hips and shoulders, have them shine at a diagonal angle toward the floor.

#3 Kick in your diaphragm with deep breathing to give your core a boost. This will take your side planks to a whole new level!!! Your diapragm works in conjunction with your entire core, so let's get everyone working together to build the most stable core ever! Fix: Focus on expanding into your back body (back of your ribcage) during the Inhale. Then exhale from those abs you are hoping to build.

Starting Directions:

  • Lie on your side with your elbow straight underneath your shoulder
  • Legs are out straight, top foot is in front of bottom foot. To modify bend your knees.(see photo)
  • Start tall on your shoulder.
  • As you lift up, bring your hips forward so your body is in a straight line.
  • Pretend your elbow is on a rag on a slippery hardwood floor. It should not slide out away from you. I do not want you pushing away from your shoulder to lift up your body. I want your abs doing it!
  • Keep your head back in line with your body.
  • Pretend you have headlights on both your hips and shoulders. They should face straight ahead and point straight across the room to the same location.

 

Exercise Execution:

Make sure you feel it in your core and you get good deep diaphragmatic breaths with pelvic floor timing.

Inhale: Expand your rib cage into your back body relax your pelvic floor. (You should feel the breath in expand the back of your ribs.)

You can keep your hand in front of you on the floor for an extra modification help. Especially if you feel yourself rolling open.
Exhale: Open your top leg while drawing up your pelvic floor. Engage your abs and think about lifting your bottom rib cage.

To make it harder, add a balloon. The balloon is awesome for adding "extra weight" to your core to make the side planks more intense. Get ready to have a rock solid core!

Start with 2-3 sets holding for 10-15 seconds. Advance to 3 sets, holding for 30 seconds, then add the balloon.

Ultimate goal: 3 sets blowing up the balloon (4-5 deep breaths)

Trouble Shooting:

Having trouble keeping it out of your back and really feeling it intensely in your core? Try starting in a front plank or push up position and rotate to the side. Only rotate about 3 quarters of the way around. This should do the trick.

Try this today during your workout and see if you don't feel a huge difference!

To keep air in the balloon, let your tongue rest to the roof of your mouth. You should be able to hold air in the balloon during the inhale.

Always check with your physician before starting a new exercise program. Exercises provided here are for teaching purposes only.

 

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