Everybody knows about the core strength exercise known as planking. If you weren’t someone who was into fitness and has been aware of it for years, you certainly would have become so this decade when it became a huge global phenomenon.
People were everywhere. At home, on the street, in the park, on rooftops and anywhere else that they could find a flat surface. And that’s great because it’s a very beneficial exercise, but the lesser-known side plank is probably even better.
It’s a little bit tougher because it requires more balance and it works a couple of muscles that you wouldn’t normally be working, but the position itself is relatively straightforward:
- Get yourself into a regular plank position first and foremost. Forearms resting on the floor with your elbows below your shoulders and your core engaged.
- Shift your weight onto your right side, rolling over onto the side of your foot and resting on your right forearm.
- With your entire body facing the opposite wall, raise your left arm and extend it towards the ceiling.
- Hold for about 20 seconds, then repeat a couple of times. Do the same on the opposite side.
Unlike a regular plank where you should just hold the position for one extended set, you’re better off doing this one a couple of times with short rest breaks. So what’s the benefit? There’s a couple:
Variety of Muscle Groups
The side plank works a whole bunch of different muscles and muscle groups. Of course, it’s as effective of a core exercise as a regular plank so you can count on building up your abs and getting all the benefits of core strength.
But it will also help you build up the strength in your arms, provided you don’t lock your elbows. It will help work your shoulders too and it’s also a great exercise for your wrists which is a hard area to work on.
It’s good for your legs too and it’s a fantastic oblique exercise. If you were trying to lose weight, side planking would be a good exercise to include because it would help tone your abdomen afterward.
Coupled with other exercises and a diet plan that helps you keep control of your calories of course. So overall it is one of the best weightless exercises you can do because of how varied it is.
Balance is something that we quite often take for granted until we are in a situation where we need it. We think, well I can stand up straight so my balance is fine, and then you need to carry a box of fine china up a set of stairs and all of a sudden your lack of balance becomes abundantly clear.
Side planking will help you out though, and it will also help with other exercises that require balance, especially ones where you’ll need to balance using your arms. All of the muscles important for that are being worked with this exercise.
And it also forces you to concentrate on holding the position, which will in turn force you to concentrate on maintaining your balance.
Once again, here is something that we take for granted until it becomes a problem. And it is more likely to become a problem the older you get and the less you pay attention to it. Posture is extremely important.
Good posture ensures that all of your joints are in the correct alignment, that your muscles are being used properly which prevents fatigue, that you can avoid unnecessary backaches and pains and a bunch of other benefits too.
In side plank, you are holding your shoulders, your spine and your pelvis in an appropriate alignment, encouraging a strong healthy posture.
To sum this all up, side plank is one of those underappreciated exercises that you can do very easily at home and get a whole bunch of benefits from. Incorporate it into your routine and you’ll see the difference in no time.
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