Side Planks & the Muscles Worked

When it comes to strength training, the side plank is an excellent exercise for working your core muscles.

But what exactly are the muscles worked during a side plank?

From its numerous benefits to variations and alternative exercises that work the same muscles as side planks, understanding how this single exercise can help improve overall fitness is essential for amateur fitness practitioners and garage gym owners alike.

In this article, we’ll explore all of these topics so keep reading to learn more about the side plank and the muscles worked.

Side Plank Muscles Worked

Muscles Worked in Side Plank

Primary Muscles:

The primary muscles worked in a side plank are the obliques, which are located on either side of your abdomen.

These muscles help to rotate and flex your torso, as well as provide stability when performing the exercise.

Additionally, they help to keep your spine aligned during the movement.

Secondary Muscles:

The secondary muscles worked in a side plank include the glutes and hip abductors.

These muscles work together to stabilize your hips while you hold the position for an extended period.

They also help with balance and control during this exercise.

Stabilizing Muscles:

Finally, stabilizing muscles such as the transverse abdominis (TVA) and rectus abdominis (RA) are engaged during a side plank exercise.

These core muscles act like an internal corset that helps to support your spine throughout the entire range of motion involved in this move.

By engaging these stabilizing muscle groups, you can ensure proper form is maintained throughout each repetition of this challenging yet beneficial exercise routine.

By performing this exercise regularly, you can reap the benefits of improved core strength and stability, better posture and balance, and increased mobility and flexibility.

Benefits of Side Plank Exercise

Side plank exercise is a great way to improve core strength and stability.

This exercise helps strengthen the muscles of your abdomen, back, hips, and shoulders. It also works the obliques, which are essential for maintaining good posture and balance.

By performing side planks regularly you can help reduce lower back pain as well as increase mobility in your spine.

Additionally, this exercise can help improve coordination between your upper body and lower body by working both sides of the body simultaneously.

The primary benefit of side plank exercises is improved core strength and stability.

The main muscle groups used during this exercise include the rectus abdominis (the six-pack muscle), transverse abdominis (deep abdominal muscles), gluteus medius (hip abductors), and latissimus dorsi (back).

These muscles work together to provide support for your spine while keeping it stable during movement or when lifting heavy objects.

When these muscles are strong, they will help keep you upright with proper posture even when standing still or walking around all day long.

Improved posture and balance is another key benefit of doing side planks regularly.

When done correctly, this exercise helps activate multiple stabilizing muscles that run along each side of your torso including those mentioned above plus other smaller ones like serratus anterior (shoulder blade stabilizers) and external oblique’s (abdominal wall stabilizers).

All these combined work together to create a stronger foundation for better overall posture throughout everyday activities such as sitting at a desk or driving in a car for extended periods of time without having any discomfort due to poor alignment or slouching over time.

Increased mobility and flexibility are two more benefits that come from doing regular side planks.

With consistent practice over time, you will be able to move through larger ranges of motion without feeling tightness or restriction due to weak supporting musculature surrounding joints like shoulder blades, hips, spine etc.

This means greater freedom and ease when engaging in physical activities, whether it’s running errands around town or playing sports outdoors with friends – so don’t forget about adding some extra sets into your routine every now and then if possible.

The side plank exercise offers many benefits for strength, stability, posture, balance, and mobility – all of which are essential components of a successful fitness routine.

With the variations mentioned above, you can take your side plank to the next level and reap even more rewards.

Variations of Side Plank Exercise

It can be modified to target different muscles or increase the difficulty level. Here are three variations of the side plank that you can try:

Standard Side Plank with Leg Lift:

This variation involves lifting one leg off the ground while in a standard side plank position.

This helps to engage more of your core muscles, as well as your glutes and hamstrings.

To do this exercise, start by lying on one side with both feet together and prop yourself up onto your forearm.

Make sure that your elbow is directly beneath your shoulder and keep your body in a straight line from head to toe.

Engage all of the muscles in your body before slowly raising one leg off the ground, keeping it straight throughout the movement.

Hold this position for 10-15 seconds before returning back down to starting position and repeating on the other side if desired.

In this variation, you will alternate between arm lifts and leg lifts while in a side plank position.

Begin by lying on one side with both feet together and propping yourself up onto one forearm, ensuring that it is directly beneath your shoulder blade.

Then, lift alternate arms/legs instead of just legs alone like previously done; hold each lift for 10-15 seconds before switching sides if desired.

Repeat until the set amount of reps or the time limit has been reached.

By exploring the variations of side plank exercises, you can get a full-body workout while targeting different muscles. Now let’s take a look at alternative exercises that also work those same muscles.

Alternative Exercises for Working the Same Muscles as Side Plank

The Bird Dog Exercise:

This is a great alternative to the Side Plank for targeting similar muscle groups.

It involves starting on all fours, with your hands directly below your shoulders and knees directly below your hips.

From this position, you extend one arm straight out in front of you while simultaneously extending the opposite leg straight back behind you.

Hold this position for a few seconds before returning to the starting position and repeating with the other side.

This exercise helps strengthen core muscles as well as improve balance and stability.

Push-Up Holds:

These are another excellent alternative to Side Planks that can help target similar muscle groups without having to perform an actual plank exercise.

To do this exercise, start in a push-up position with your arms fully extended and feet together or slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, depending on preference or ability level.

Once in place, hold yourself up by keeping your body rigid from head to toe while maintaining proper form throughout the entire movement – no sagging.

Aim for holding yourself up for 10-20 seconds at first before gradually increasing the time spent in each hold over time as strength increases.

Glute Bridges:

Glute bridges are an effective way of working many of the same muscles targeted during a Side Plank without actually performing it.

To do this exercise, lay flat on your back with both feet planted firmly into the ground about hip distance apart (or closer if needed).

Then lift your hips off of the ground until they’re aligned with both legs forming one long line from head to toes – squeezing glutes at top – before slowly lowering them back down again towards the floor, completing one rep.

Repeat 8-12 times per set depending on fitness level/ability/goals desired.

When done correctly, this will help build strength throughout the lower body, including glutes and hamstrings, which can also aid in improved posture and balance.

FAQs about Side Plank Muscles Worked

What are the benefits of side plank?

Side planks are a great way to strengthen the core and improve stability.

They can help build strength in the obliques, glutes, and lower back muscles while engaging your shoulder girdle.

Additionally, side planks can be used as an effective warm-up exercise before more intense workouts or as part of a cool-down routine after strenuous activity.

The isometric hold of the plank position helps to activate deep stabilizing muscles, which may not be targeted with traditional exercises like crunches or sit-ups.

Side planks are also beneficial for improving posture and balance by strengthening weak areas that often get neglected during regular fitness routines.

How long should you hold a side plank?

The duration of a side plank depends on the individual’s fitness level and goals.

Generally, beginners should aim to hold the position for 10-30 seconds, while more advanced practitioners can increase their time to 1 minute or longer.

It is essential to focus on proper form and technique during this exercise to maximize its effectiveness and reduce the risk of injury.

As you become stronger, gradually increase your hold time until you reach your desired goal.

Are side planks better than regular planks?

It is difficult to definitively answer whether side planks are better than regular planks, as both exercises offer benefits that may be beneficial depending on individual goals.

Regular planks can help strengthen the core muscles and improve posture, while side planks target the obliques and other stabilizing muscles in the hips and shoulders.

Ultimately, it is important to consider what your specific fitness goals are when deciding which exercise will be most effective for you.

What do side planks do to your waist?

Side planks are an effective exercise for targeting the waist muscles.

They work by engaging the obliques, which run along either side of your torso and help to support your spine.

By holding a side plank, you will be strengthening these muscles and helping to improve posture while also reducing lower back pain.

Additionally, they can help reduce abdominal fat around the waistline and strengthen core stability and balance.

Ultimately, side planks are an excellent exercise for toning and strengthening the waist muscles.


It works a variety of muscles, including the obliques, transverse abdominis, glutes, shoulders, and triceps.

Doing side plank regularly can help improve posture and balance while also helping to prevent injury.

There are many variations of this exercise that you can do to keep your workouts interesting, as well as alternative exercises that work the same muscles as the side plank.

Incorporating these exercises into your strength training routine will help you achieve optimal muscle growth and overall fitness results.