How to do Abdominal Plank and Side Plank Exercises Correctly

Why are Abdominal Planks such an effective exercise

Abdominal Plank Exercises also called Planks is a bodyweight exercise designed to strengthen your core and abdominal muscles. Learn plank exercise and side plank with pictures for perfect core.

Essentially Plan exercise is a bodyweight isometric exercise to build strength in core muscles.

How to do Plank Exercise correctly


Step 1: Get into a normal push up position but rest your body weight on your forearms {instead of hands} and toes.

Its very important that your whole body should form a straight line from your shoulder, back, buttocks to your ankles which are high in air.


Step 2: How long to hold the plank position?

Hold the plank position for at least 30 seconds to begin with. Remember train hard.

Plank exercise will make you realize how hard your abdominals and core muscles are working in all other lifts like squats, deadlifts to hold your body in position.

Top Training tips for planks

Squeeze your glutes and brace your abs. This is the purpose of plank exercise. To build isometric strength in core muscles and help them strengthen.

What to do if you cannot hold the plank position even for 10 or even 5 seconds?

I suggest that you do it for as long as possible and then take a rest break of 10-30 seconds. Retry and see how long you can hold. Remember the real fight is with yourself and not some gymnast!

Or you can try the modified plank wherein you rest on your knees in addition to feet and forearms. This can be  good starting position. Progress from there.

How to make plank exercise even more difficult?

When you are comfortable in the plank position for 1 minute, try holding one arm in front of you and rest only on one forearm and feet.

And then, you guessed it, make it even harder by taking off one leg so that you rest on one forearm and one leg alone!

Can you do Plank exercise on a ball?

Yes. Placing your forearms on an exercise ball is the next step. This is harder than regular planks as your upper body muscles like arms and shoulders need to be supported too.

Side Plank Exercise

I would say side planks are as much a shoulder exercise. The shoulder and the forearm you rest your body on can take a tremendous stress. Start with plank and you can stay there or add this variation occasionally.


Step 1: Lie on your lift side such that your body weight rests on left forearm, sides of the back and feet. You can keep feet together or lie them side by side for additional support.

Step 2: Tighten your abdomen, raise your hips such that you now rest only on your left forearm and left foot {with right foot placed over left foot}, and your torso is completely off the ground as shown.

Hold this position for at least 30 seconds to get a good burn in your core and other ab muscles.

Side plank shoulder lift


Once you master side planks you can add variety. For example instead of feet on the floor, how about placing them on a ball. You core muscles need to work extra hard to combat the instability the ball provides.

You can also do side planks resting on forearm and single leg alone to make it even more harder.

Lastly you can raise your right arm, hold a dumbbell and do a shoulder press or simply raise and hold for 30 seconds.

Remember to repeat the side plank exercise on the other side.

Also check out other exercises like crunches, leg raises and other core exercises here.

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