Side Plank Pose is a great way to build not only your shoulder and wrist strength, but also your core and leg strength—engaging and toning the whole body.
A balancing pose, Side Plank takes focus and determination to practice, as well as a strong understanding of the foundation of the pose. Once you’ve got that there’s no telling where you’re plank will take you!
Here are some tips and modifications to help optimize your form and performance in Side Plank.
Key Tips for a Good Side Plank Foundation
- Spread the fingers of the bottom hand, making sure the index finger is pointing straight forward, and press down firmly through the inner edge of the hand.
- Draw the bottom shoulder back.
- Keep the inner edge of the bottom hand rooted as you externally rotate the upper arm bone, turning the eye of the bottom elbow to face forward.
- Firm the bottom shoulder into the back ribs, lifting your bottom chest higher.
1. Modified Side Plank 1
Begin on your hands and knees in Table Top position with the wrists under your shoulders and the knees under your hips. Extend your left leg behind you at the height of your left hip. Externally rotate the lifted leg, turning your left toes and knee out to the side.
Inhale and press down through right hand and knee as you lift your left arm up, stacking the shoulders and hips.
2. Modified Side Plank 2
From Downward Facing Dog, press down through the right hand and roll onto the outer edge of your right foot. Bending your left knee, place your left foot in front of your right knee, toes facing out like a kickstand.
Inhale and press down through your right hand as you take your left arm up, stacking the shoulders. Firmly press down into the four corners of your left foot to lift your hips higher.
3. Side Plank Pose
From Downward Facing Dog, glue your legs together and roll onto the outer edge of your right foot, stacking your left leg and foot on top. Press down through the inner edge of your right hand and inhale your left arm up, stacking the shoulders and hips.
4. Forearm Side Plank
Forearm Side Plank is one of my favorite shoulder openers. From Forearm Plank with your forearms parallel, palms flat, glue your legs together and roll onto the outer edge of your right foot, stacking your left leg and foot on top.
Press down through your right palm, forearm, and elbow, and inhale your left arm up, stacking the shoulders and hips. Without moving your forearm, press your bottom elbow to the left, leaning back onto your bottom shoulder blade.
5. Tree in Side Plank
I love the support that comes from the foot pressing into the inner thigh and, more so, the inner thigh pressing up into the foot in this Side Plank variation.
From Side Plank, grab your left ankle with your left hand and place the sole of your left foot on your inner right thigh (make sure that the foot is above the bottom knee). Press your foot into your inner thigh and your thigh up into the sole of your foot, lifting the hips higher.
Lengthen your tailbone down to your bottom heel, pointing your top knee straight up.
So, which of these Side Plank variations is your favorite? Which one do you like the least? Let me know how it goes in the comments!
Image credit: Nir Livni Photography/Yogini: Meagan McCrary