Benefits of Side Plank Exercises
Side plank exercises target the gluteal muscles, obliques, quadriceps, hamstrings, thigh abductors and adductors. Strengthening these muscles means that your lower back and spine have more support and are better protected from injury caused by back strain and/or sudden movements. Side plank exercises also improve core & lateral strength; this means increased core stability, which translates into a stronger back and minimal soreness. A secondary benefit, the side plank also builds strength with the shoulder girdles.
Side planks are relatively simple to perform — but they are not easy if you are a beginner with little to no core strength. Start by lying on one side on an exercise mat with both legs straight and stacked one on top of the other. If that's difficult, keep the knees bent on the floor. Bend the elbow underneath you and use it to support your upper body by keeping it in line with your shoulder. Do not press the weight of your shoulder towards floor, keep the shoulder blades elevated away from floor. Keep your hips, spine and neck in alignment throughout. Exhale and engage your abs, lifting your knees and hips away from the floor, keeping the side of your bottom foot in contact with the mat. Pause at the top of the movement, inhale and gently lower yourself back to your starting position. Repeat on both sides.