Read more on Side Planks from Club Pilates instructor on Bustle.
While a side plank sounds simple enough — just do a plank on your side, right? — maneuvering into position can be surprisingly difficult. It’s easy to tip forward or fall back, and even easier to modify the move incorrectly. But once you figure out how to do a side plank properly, you’ll find that it’s one of the best full-body moves you can do.
Planks — and all of their many variations — are typically referred to as staple core exercises, which is accurate, but there are usually other muscle groups working right alongside them.
Tanya Rockovich, a Club Pilates instructor, shares her tips for nailing the exercise in perfect form:
- Start by lying on your side.
- Prop up on your bottom arm, stacking your elbow underneath your shoulders.
- Extend your legs so your body forms a straight line.
- Inhale, then exhale and press into your forearm to lift up.
- Your weight will be on your forearm and bottom foot.
- Squeeze the side of your body to lift your hips.
- Engage your core and glutes to remain steady.
- Hold at the top of the movement for 30 seconds. Continue to breathe.
- Slowly lower back down and repeat on the other side.
Since a side plank can exacerbate existing injuries, it’s also a good idea to stop if your shoulders, arms, or elbow start to hurt. “It is important to listen to your body and take the modifications necessary for yourself,” Rockovich says. While this exercise is meant to be challenging, it definitely shouldn’t be excruciating.