Use the Side Plank Exercise
for Tighter Abs

The side plank exercise is one of the most effective exercises available for strengthening your midsection and lower back. It does a great job of reaching the small and deeper side oblique muscles that many other abdominal exercises can't quite reach.

One of the great things about exercises like the plank is that they require very little space to perform and no equipment is needed. 

Researchers in Finland found the side plank to be one of the best ways to measure the strength of someone's core. A good score was 60 seconds; if you fall short of that standard, it could be time to pay more attention to exercising your core. 

Side Plank Exercise

Exercise Instructions:

  • Start out by laying on your side with your elbow on the floor just under your shoulder and your legs stacked on each other.

  • Lift up on the elbow and raise your hips off the floor, make sure to keep your body in a straight line from your head and shoulders down to your toes.

  • Hold this position for 30-60 seconds and try to do 3 sets on each side.

side plank exercise position #1
side plank exercise position #2


  • You can raise the degree of difficulty for this exercise by lifting your top leg higher into the air.

  • To make it even harder, try adding a twist. Place your top hand across your rib cage and twist forward until your chest is facing the ground. Repeat for 20 -30 seconds on each side.

Side Plank Exercise Benefits

  • Muscle Balance - Most body weight exercises like planks have your muscles equally share the workload. Because your entire body is working together, your muscles work evenly.
  • Convenience - Body weight exercises like the side plank are exercises that can be done almost anywhere at any time, whether you are at home or away.

    They don't require any fitness equipment, and they are also an ideal exercise for the beginner. You can start out just holding yourself in a plank position for 10-20 seconds and just add a little extra time as you progress with the exercise.

  • Lower Back Strength - Strengthening the muscles in your lower body can add support to your back and spine. In many cases, this will improve your posture and reduce lower back pain.
  • Body Tone - Adding muscle around your midsection and legs will have a slimming effect and will reduce your chance of injury in other physical fitness activities and everyday normal functions.

  • Cellulite - Women are more likely to develop cellulite in their lower body areas than men are. This exercise demands strong hip and leg muscles in order to hold your body in a straight line. Strengthening and toning the hip, butt, and leg muscles can help women to counter those potentially problem areas.

  • Additional Body Strength - While side plank exercises target your core muscles, you still have the bonus of working your arms, shoulders, chest, and legs.

Other pages that might interest you:

I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.

» » Side Plank

Join the Health and Fitness 
Conversation on Our Fitness House Facebook 


Ask Kim Mulligan Your Fitness Questions

Daily Tips for Staying Healthy and Fit

Printable Workouts and Diet/Food Lists and Charts

Recent Articles

  1. A Printable Workout Log Can Help Track Your Fitness Progress

    Feb 19, 20 12:25 PM

    See how a printable workout log can be one of your most valuable resources to successfully reach and maintain your fitness goals.

    Read More

  2. Tricep Extension Exercises for Beach Ready Arms

    Feb 09, 20 11:11 AM

    The tricep extension is one of the best exercises available to help you develop great looking arms.

    Read More

  3. Standing Dumbbell Fly for a Great Set of Shoulders

    Feb 04, 20 12:52 PM

    See how the dumbbell fly can make you stronger, more flexible, and improve your posture. Follow our illustrated instructions to achieve maximum results.

    Read More