Build a Stronger Body With This Move!
Sometimes the exercises that SUCK are the ones we need the most. Side planks definitely fall into that category! So many of us focus on the regular planks, but the side plank is just as crucial to our core strength. Here are some progressions that we use with our clients to help them build lateral stability.
1) Side Plank from the Knees
The side plank from the knees is the foundational position to learn this movement. Here we're going to reenforce; 1) The push through the down for arm, 2) gripping the ground with the planted hand, 3) pushing through the knees to extend the hips.
2) Side Plank from the Knees with Resistance
Once we have a solid side plank from the knees, we can add resistance. This could be a band for a row with the top arm, or using a sandbag to challenge our lateral stability further. The key is to be aware of your compensations. Does your head float forward? Do your hips sink or twist? Do you lose your tension points. Sometimes adding some resistance forces us to find a better position. Try it out!
3) Side Plank from the Knees with Raised Leg
Now that our side plank is solid, let's eliminate a point of stability. Having the knees together is a big anchor, so raising the top leg adds a whole new level of "fun" to this exercise. The key here is don't turn it into a clam shell. Instead, make sure to raise the thigh and calf at the same time and keep them on the same plane. Then, maintain all the good connections you know and love!
4) Straight Leg Side Plank
Yep, this is number 4! Most people start with straight legs, but there's so much to be learned in the 3 previous progressions. With straight legs, you can either stack the feet, or what we recommend, go with a staggered stance. Take the top foot and connect the inside of the foot with the floor. Then, drive through the feet. Pretend you're trying to make your legs 2 feet longer. This will create the same hip extension we found early by driving through the knee caps in #1.