February 11

Doing Plank Exercises Will Get Results with These 3 Side Planks

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Plank exercises are a favorite in the fitness world, and there is no question why.  They are the superfood of exercises - densely packed with benefits.

In its purest form, the starting position for doing regular plank exercises is similar to the start of a  push-up but held steady for a specific duration of time.  While it’s a powerful, simple position to hold, we humans tend to get bored fast.  So it’s a good thing we have variations!

Plank variations are plentiful, and the side plank is a popular one.  An extra benefit of the side plank is that it strengthens the QL or quadratus lumborum muscles.

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The quadratus lumborum (QL) muscle starts at the pelvis and runs up to the lowest rib. You have one on either side of your spine. Together, and alone they play an essential role in stabilizing the pelvis when a person is upright. They also help support the core of the body when breathing.

A weak or injured QL commonly leads to back pain and compensating movement patterns.  Doing exercises properly to strengthen the QLS are very important to maintain a pain free low back.

Side planks also turn up the heat on balance.  In a traditional plank position, you are weight-bearing on both hands and both feet.  When you take the plank to your side, you significantly decrease your base of support. Your body needs to work harder to keep you from falling over.

Fun Fact: Many experts and sources give Joseph Pilates credit for his exercise “front leg pull” as the original plank exercise.


Here are 3 Side Plank progressions variations that will help strengthen your QLs.

Let's Get Started doing plank exercises better:

Lie down on your side with your elbow under your shoulder. Stack your legs up one on top of the each other and make sure your hips and feet are stacked

Lift your hips up, and lower down with control.

doing planks

Take the same position only this time place your hand on the floor instead of your elbow.

Lift your hips up, and lower down with control.

more doing planks

Lift your hips up into the same plank as #2.  Then lift your top leg away from the bottom leg and reach your top arm towards the ceiling.

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Watch These doing planks side Progressions:


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Mark Firehammer

About the author

When is he is not creating content for Pilates Business Pros, training business owners to be better marketers, or producing multi-camera on-demand fitness content for FitStreams.club, you can find him playing with his cats, working in his metal and woodworking shop or sharing a meal and a bottle of wine with friends.

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