Free Download: Glute Activation & Hip Mobility Routine [PDF]
Side Plank Exercise for Core Strength
The side plank exercise is a brilliant way to build core strength in a way that targets one of the common weak links in distance runners; lateral strength in the hips and torso.
Don’t get me wrong, as far as working with distance runners and triathletes is concerned, and these are largely the groups I work with day-in-day-out, getting somebody to invest time in ANY core strength work is a massive win. Us runners just want to run, after all!
However, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s important for us to choose exercises that will provide maximum benefit for your efforts.
When screening runners, looking at their individual physical strengths and weaknesses, one pattern I see it that we’re often pretty strong in the sagittal plane – back and forth movements – but disproportionately weak or unstable in the frontal plane – side to side movements – particularly around the core and hip region.
With that in mind, thinking about our various available different types of plank exercise, it should be clear why I often prefer to get runners working on their side planks, rather than focusing on the standard face-down plank exercise.
How to Perform the Side Plank
The side plank itself is pretty straight forward…
From a position sitting on the ground, roll onto the side of your hip and brace your elbow and forearm onto the ground.
Keeping your body straight, lift your hips off the floor and take the weight through your grounded arm. Clench your glutes and keep a straight line from shoulders hips and ankles – rather than buckling in the middle.
Make sure your head stays in line with your body during the side plank, and place your top hand on your hips.
You should try to keep your feet stacked on top of the other.
Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute. When this becomes easy, try lifting the top leg in the air and holding.
Do let me know in the comments if you have any questions about the side plank exercise.Last updated on March 7th, 2021.
Ok so I’ve been working on these and am recovering from ITB issues which then morphed into a proximal hamstring tendinitis. Happy to say I’m running again and feeling great. HOWEVER I find that the side plank on my affected side is stronger and easier than my other. Which makes no sense to me. My entire right side has been weak and it is easily seen in the fact I can pistol squat on the left but not at all on the right. Ack!?