How To Take The Boredom Out Of Planks

Planks are a favorite in the fitness world, and there is no question why.  They are the superfood of exercises- densely packed with benefits.

In its purest form, a plank is a position similar to the start of a  push-up but held steady for a specific duration of time.  While it’s a powerful, simple position to hold, we humans tend to get bored fast.  So it’s a good thing we have variations!

Plank variations are plentiful, and the side plank is a popular one.  An extra benefit of the side plank is that it strengthens the QL or quadratus lumborum muscles.

The quadratus lumborum (QL) muscle starts at the pelvis and runs up to the lowest rib. You have one on either side of your spine. Together, and alone they play an essential role in stabilizing the pelvis when a person is upright. They also help support the core of the body when breathing.

A weak or injured QL commonly leads to back pain and compensating movement patterns.  Doing exercises properly to strengthen the QLS are very important to maintain a pain free low back.

Side planks also turn up the heat on balance.  In a traditional plank position, you are weight-bearing on both hands and both feet.  When you take the plank to your side, you significantly decrease your base of support. Your body needs to work harder to keep you from falling over.

Fun Fact: Many experts and sources give Joseph Pilates credit for his exercise “front leg pull” as the original plank.

Here are 3 Side Plank progressions variations that will help strengthen your QLs.

Let's Get Started:

Lie down on your side with your elbow under your shoulder. Stack your legs up one on top of the each other and make sure your hips and feet are stacked

Lift your hips up, and lower down with control.

Take the same position only this time place your hand on the floor instead of your elbow.

Lift your hips up, and lower down with control.

Lift your hips up into the same plank as #2.  Then lift your top leg away from the bottom leg and reach your top arm towards the ceiling.

Watch These Side Plank Progressions: