Core strengthening is a must for all women, but especially if you have low back pain. Often, it’s because you have a weak core. The side plank is a great way to get strong oblique muscles and relieve some of that back pain. Learn 4 side plank variations.
Best oblique exercise
The side plank is a great core workout, really strengthening your oblique muscles. These are your side ab muscles that run along the midsection of your body from your ribs to your hips.
When you plank on one arm, you’re also working your shoulders and back muscles. That’s what makes this one of the best bodyweight exercises, especially for your core! You work so many muscles at once.
A strong core is essential to getting more out of workouts and avoiding injury in everyday life.
How to do a side plank
There are lots of options with the side plank to progress it from beginner to advanced. It’s a fundamental bodyweight exercise, that’s a big part of my at-home workout programs.
For a beginner side plank, get on your forearm. The goal is to have the hips up high. If you need to, put your knee down to get a stronger plank. You don’t want your hips sagging down to the ground.
Put your shoulder and elbow in line so you’re not putting a lot of stress on your shoulder joint.
Aim for a 20-second hold.
Side plank variations
If you master the basic side plank, you can progress it with a side plank variation.
- Put one foot in front of the other.
- Stack your feet on top of each other.
- Add a leg lift. Squeeze through the glute and lift the leg.
- Do an explosive side plank.
With an explosive side plank, you drop the hip and drive it up.
When you focus on one core exercise at a time, you learn how to turn your core on and off and use it more in all your other exercises. If you like TRX training, the plank and core are fundamentals in almost every exercise. You’re always chasing your plank and always turning on your core.
If you really want to focus on your core and making it stronger, try TRX exercises. They’re great for beginners and advanced fitness levels. To make the exercise harder or easier, you adjust the positioning of your body.
To progress from the side plank, try the dead bug. It’s another great core exercise that will also help relieve lower back pain. The focus is about turning on and off your core which prepares you for moves using a TRX.
You can also try the ultimate core workout for women. It’s packed with 5 core exercises, including the side plank, to work your core. You can do it as a standalone workout or as a warm-up or cool down.
Every exercise targets your midsection.
I also have a FREE core guide that breaks down power, stability and mobility exercises.
What’s your favorite side plank?