Fitness Friday: The Side Plank

By Kennedi Rose / October 14, 2011
the side plank is a great exercise for toning your abs

I hate to ‘fess up, but I’ve got these little rolls on my midriff — not huge ones, but enough that I feel self-conscious wearing a tight shirt. (Hello, winter — cold weather approaching, and finally I can cover up with sweaters!)

So I started looking into exercises that tighten those love handles, and one stands out: the side plank.

The wha?

The side plank. It’s a quick little exercise that strengthens a muscle called the “transverse abdominus” — which is the technical term for “the deepest layer of abdominal muscle.” In other words, the very core of your core.

The transverse abdominus wraps around your entire midsection, which means it’s the muscle underneath your love handles. Tighten your transverse, and you’ll never feel self-conscious in a tube top again.

The side plank is perfect for targeting your transverse. So how does it work?

Step One: Lay on your side. (Hey, this is the easy part!) You should be facing the wall (not the ceiling or the floor).

Step Two: Lift your body of the ground. Balance on one forearm and the side of your foot.

Step Three: Keep your body in a straight line. Squeeze your abs. Breathe.

Step Four: Optional — to make this exercise more challenging, slowly lower your core towards the ground, then lift it back to your starting point.

Remember — it’s more important to have great form than speed. It’s also more important to use fantastic form hold the basic plank than it is to add the 4th optional/advanced step.

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Photo courtesy lululemon athletica.

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Kennedi Rose

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