Thanks to the many benefits it offers, the plank is one of the most used exercises in different disciplines such as yoga or pilates. It is also usually part of training routines to develop strength and endurance. These sessions consist of numerous variations of the exercise, such as the side plank.
Have you ever heard about it? Do you know what it is for and how to do it? This exercise is born as a variable of the conventional plank, which is performed on four supports – the forearms and the tips of the feet -, face down and on a comfortable surface, such as a mat.
Unlike the conventional one, the side plank is performed on two supports and is characterized by being a more complex exercise. If you want to learn more about this exercise and how it can help you sculpt your abs, this article is for you.
What is the side plank?
The side plank is an isometric exercise aimed at strengthening the core, especially the abdominals. It is one of the main variants of the conventional plank, but at the same time it differs from it in the position of the body, the supports and the degree of difficulty.
To perform it, you need to position yourself laterally on the mat, supporting yourself with the forearm and the outer edge of the foot. In this way it is much more difficult to maintain balance and a greater muscular resistance is felt in the core.
Being an isometric exercise, the side plank requires the contraction of the core muscle groups. This is done without moving the proximal joints or stretching the involved muscles.
Simply put, no muscle or joint movements occur when performing this exercise. Despite this, endurance and strength training is quite comprehensive.
How to do the side plank
To perform this exercise, you will need a mat, light clothing, and shoes with non-slip soles. In addition, it is recommended that you have enough space to stretch your body without any problems.
As a first step, lie on your side on the mat and lift your body. This movement should be performed with a support on the forearm, which should form a 90 degree angle, and with the outer edge of the foot. You can rest your other hand on your waist or hips.
Once in this position, you have to resist as long as possible. Normally this is 20 or 30 seconds, although this varies according to each person’s abilities.
During the exercise, one must maintain the same position all the time, with the body aligned from head to toe. In addition to this, it is also recommended to contract the abdomen and buttocks in order to generate greater resistance to exercise.
After the seconds of execution, it is necessary to switch sides to execute it again. The rest time varies depending on how it is planned or requested. To add more complexity, you can lift the other arm and keep it tensed.
Perform the exercises according to your abilities
All exercises must be adapted to the physical and psychological abilities of each person; the side plank is no exception. If you are a beginner, we recommend that you do a few sets, each consisting of 10 or 20 seconds in duration.
However, if you are an athlete with some experience in this type of exercise, the duration can be longer than one minute. However, the length of each series and the number of series must be planned in advance, to avoid any kind of mishap, muscle injury or unexpected injury.
This planning should be entrusted to a professional from the world of fitness, who will evaluate your skills and guide you in the execution of the exercise.
Abs sculpted only with the side plank?
Specific strength and endurance exercises are very useful for developing physical abilities. The side plank is considered to be one of the most effective exercises for strengthening the core. This region is quite important, not only for the abdominals on an aesthetic level, but also for the advantages it offers in terms of muscular endurance.
But remember that to have sculpted abs, doing the side plank is not enough: you must also take into account other factors, including a healthy diet and having equally healthy habits, in addition to exercising regularly. This means that the side plank is to strengthen the abdomen, but you will need to do your part with a proper diet.