You can skip the crunches because plank is one of the most effective core-carving poses. But don’t forget to spend a little time on your obliques by adding these side plank variations to your strength-training routine.
Side Elbow Plank
- Begin by lying on your side. Bring your right elbow directly under your right shoulder. Engage your core, press your right elbow into the floor, and rise into side elbow plank.
- Stagger your feet so your left foot is just in front your right or stack the heels.
- Reach your left arm up toward the ceiling, which will help you lift your waist.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds to complete one rep.
Side Plank Dips
- Begin in a side elbow plank on your right side with your heels stacked.
- Inhale and lower your pelvis to the floor, so your right hip hovers just off the floor.
- Exhale and press up through your right waist to lift your pelvis and return to side plank. Pull your right shoulder blade down your back to stabilize your shoulder.
- This counts as one rep.
Side Plank March
- Come into an elbow plank on the right side. Your feet should be staggered with the foot of the top leg in back.
- Bring your bottom knee toward your chest and hold for two seconds. Place your foot on the ground and raise your top knee toward your chest and hold once again for two seconds before returning to the starting position.
- Do not sway forward or backward or let the rib cage sag while marching in this position. This completes one rep.
Side Plank Crunch
- Begin in a side elbow plank with your left forearm on the floor and your right hand behind your head.
- Keeping your torso stable and your waist lifted, bring your right knee up toward your shoulder to lightly tap your right elbow.
- Lengthen your right leg back to the starting position to complete one rep.
Side Plank Leg Lift
- Come into a side elbow plank on the right side with your flexed feet stacked. Rest your top hand on your upper hip or extend it into the air.
- Keeping your spine lengthened and your abs engaged, lift your left leg up just higher than your top hip.
- Then slowly lower it back to your bottom leg to complete the rep.
Side Elbow Plank With Pulse
- Start in a side elbow plank on your right side.
- Lower your hips slightly and then lift your pelvis up, feeling the right side of your body engage, especially your abs. This completes one rep.
Elbow Plank With a Twist
- Start in side elbow plank on your right side with your feet stacked.
- Place your left arm behind your head and inhale to prepare.
- Exhale, engage the deep abs, and rotate your left rib cage toward the floor, bringing your left elbow to your right hand. Hold this a moment, twisting further to deepen your abdominal connection by pulling your navel in toward your spine.
- Return to the starting position to complete one rep.
Sassy Side Plank
- Lie on your left side with the knees slightly bent and your elbow underneath your shoulder.
- Press into your bottom forearm to lift the hips as high as you can, keeping the abs engaged.
- Raise your top knee to open the thighs like butterfly wings, then slowly lower the knee, completing one rep. The move is similar to the clam.
- Come into a plank position (the top of a push-up) and roll to your left side, allowing your feet to roll, too, so you’re balancing on the outside of your left foot and the inside of your right. To advance this move, stack your right foot on top of your left.
- Reach your right arm toward the ceiling and lift your waist away from the floor to make your obliques fire away. Press your left inner thigh up into your right inner thigh; this helps stabilize you even more.
- To take pressure off of your wrist, press your left fingertips into the floor.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds to complete one rep.
Side Plank With Weight
- Start in a side plank on your left side, holding a dumbbell in your right hand with your right arm parallel to the floor.
- Exhale and pull your abs toward your spine to stabilize your torso as your raise your right arm to the ceiling. Do not let your hand travel behind your shoulder. Lower the weight back to the starting position to complete one rep. Squeeze your inner thighs together for added stability.
- If you feel wobbly in this position, split your legs, bringing your right foot forward.
- Come into a side plank on the right side. Flex both feet and lift your left arm straight in the air.
- Keeping your spine lengthened and your abs engaged, lift your left leg up as high as you can without letting your waist sink to the ground.
- Then slowly lower your right leg back to the starting position to complete the rep.
- From side plank on the left side, plant the left sole of the foot completely and bend your right knee. Use your right hand to pull your right heel as high up on your inner thigh as possible, so it’s in Tree position.
- Once you’re stable, reach your right arm up above you and gaze up at your palm for 30 seconds.
- From a side plank on the left side, plant the left sole of the foot completely and lift your right leg up, bending your right knee to grab hold of your big toe with the first two fingers and thumb of your right hand.
- Stay here balancing or work on straightening your right leg completely. Try to keep your shoulders, spine, and hips in one straight line and your gaze toward your right toes.
- Hold for 30 seconds.