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American Family Children's Hospital

Side Plank

The November 2008 issue of Activity Avenue reviewed a core strengthening exercise called the Plank.
This month we will learn the Side Plank.

Choose the Intensity Level for The Side Plank Exercise
Choose the appropriate intensity level from the three options.
  • Option 1, knees bent, will decrease the overall intensity of the exercise and is a good starting position
  • Option 2 will increase the overall intensity of the exercise
  • Option 3 will increase the workload to the shoulders, slightly decreasing the workload to the abdominals

Breathe normally throughout the exercise. It is very important to draw the belly in, contracting your abdominals to support your back and maintain good body alignment.


Directions for The Side Plank Exercise

  • Start by laying on your right side, your right elbow under your ribs, and your hand on the floor as shown in picture. Your fingers should be spread and engaged on the floor. 
  • Press your forearm, hands and either knees or feet into the floor. Draw your abdominals in and lift your hips off the floor. 
  • Check your shoulder position, your elbow should be under your shoulder
  • Check your hip position, your hips should be perpendicular to the floor. Your hips may tend to roll forward or back, decreasing the desired workload to your outer hip. 
  • Slowly release 
  • Hold the plank exercise for 3 -5 seconds, repeating 1 – 3 times. As you get stronger slowly add a few more seconds until you are able to hold for 20 - 30 seconds. 


Advances Activity Avenue, Side Plank Option 1 Demonstration

Advances Activity Avenue, Side Plank Option 2 Demonstration

Option 1: Knees Bent

Option 2: Legs extended, bent elbow



Advances Activity Avenue, Side Plank Option 3 Demonstration
Option 3: Legs and Arm Extended