Side planks: A struggle not to be sniffed at

Side plank

You can guarantee that if any exercise becomes even a teeny bit popular, there will be some wag who decides to put a different slant on it. This is the case with side planks.

To personal trainers, the side plank is “quirky” but to you the customer it’s “Why can’t I just do the easy one?”

In a bid to increase core strength I’ve recently taken to incorporating side planks into a post-run training routine. Now, maybe it’s the gym I go to but I’ve never seen anyone there drop down and bang out a few side planks in public. It’s tricky and best done behind closed doors. At least until you’re side planking like a master.

A standard plank is achieved by rising up on elbows and toes, keeping core tight and tucked in, and holding still. This is great and a veritable picnic when comparing it to a side plank. If you’ve ever done this normal plank, you’ll know how effective it can be for a stronger core.

Starting out on a side plank has the same initial outcome as any new move – “the wobble”. Whenever you try performing a new, more difficult move, there is no escaping this. This is where your body is so not used to the act you’re putting it through that you begin wobbling. Rest assured you should be wobbling less as you begin to conquer the side plank.

The woman in the above photo clearly has it down pat. In fact that’s why she’s in the picture and not me.

As I challenge my flexibility to switch from left side to right side for a total of three sets, the goal is to maintain focus enough for 1-3 weeks. Then I’ll move things up a notch – to side planks with a raised leg!? Again, another “quirky” variation invented by some fitness superior no doubt.

I’ve never yearned to try yoga, or even Broga. This is as much contorting as I can put up with in the name of becoming more supple.

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