Most of us know how to plank and realize how important it is to strengthen the core. Planks not only help you get a stronger midsection, but they also reduce the risk of back injuries and strengthen surrounding musculature especially in the shoulders, pectorals and glutes. Planks work by improving the overall stability of your trunk, keeping the lumbar spine (lower back) from sagging and moving in directions that could lead to serious injury.
But the traditional forearm or straight-arm plank isn’t the only variation you should be doing. If you truly want to step up your game and find a more comprehensive plan of attack in your quest for a stronger core, add the side plank into your program.
How Does a Side Plank Build Stonger Core?
The side plank helps strengthen the obliques, which are the muscles on the sides of your body sitting right next to your abs. It’s a multitasking exercise, also working your shoulders and hips. Because you can do it anywhere with no equipment, this plank variation is a game-changer! It’ll help keep your spine safe by increasing stability and will improve your athleticism and power output.
The key is to set up correctly, making sure that your shoulders and hips are stacked on top of each other. Your chest should be perpendicular to the ground. Engage your core, glutes and quads, and don’t let your hips sag.
You can do side plank variations as you get stronger. If you start with your elbow on the ground, progress into more advanced moves such as the straight-arm side plank or straight-arm side plank with leg raise. Begin by doing the side plank two to three times a week on each side of your body and perform two to three sets of 30 seconds each.
The side plank will give you a stronger core, possibly prevent injury and increase your overall fitness. It’s a valuable move that will not only improve your physique but also keep you in the game much longer!