How to do the Side Plank Exercise for the Best Results

Last week, one of our Burn The Fat Inner Circle members asked me for details about how to do the side plank exercise correctly. I wish I could have just sent her a link to a simple instructional video, but it appears that most of the side plank exercise videos offer little more guidance than “squeeze your abs, and keep you back straight, etc.” The blatant lack of attention to detail is staggering. So, I decided to film an instructional video offering all the nitty-gritty details about how to do the side plank exercise the right way.

It’s a bit on the long side as I tend to blab a little bit. Though some of you have told me you like the longer videos, and I took the least amount of time that I could justify to explain all the relevant points without turning this into a Hollywood production.

Now, before we begin, I already filmed a detailed instructional video for the front elbow plank exercise: The Right Way to do the Plank Exercise. If you haven’t seen that video yet, then it will help you to internalize the basic techniques of front planking before moving on to the more advanced side plank, and I’d recommend you view it first.

Alrighty, check out the side plank exercise…

How to do the Side Plank Exercise

Join the 5 Minute Plank Club

We’ve got an official challenge going on in the Burn The Fat Inner Circle, where dozens of members are working their way up to a 5 minute plank, and beyond. Two women, affectionately known as the Siffer-ladies, are leading from the front and have worked up to a 20 minute plank sequence (alternating plank positions without resting for the full duration). They have an eye on the Guinness world record of 36:58, which was just set by a 71-year old woman a couple weeks ago.

If you’re not a Burn The Fat Inner Circle member, you can still informally participate in the challenge right here on Physical Living. I’ve created a plank sequence that will help you build up your times gradually. So, go ahead and give the plank or side plank a try, and post your results at the link below…

Check out the 5 Minute Plank Challenge For Core Strength, Stability, and Rock-Hard Abs

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Health-First Fitness Coach

P.S. So, how about it – who’s interested in some advanced plank variations?

5 Responses

  1. whats a good time to aim for for a side plank?

    I can do a 2 minute plank using the form you demonstrated in your other video, I can do a 1 minute side plank but start to lose form at around 30 seconds, is that a good indication of when to stop?


    • Rob,

      You don’t want to deliberately train using poor technique during any exercise. So, when your technique starts to falter, that’s when it’s time to stop.

      Regarding a time to shoot for, that totally depends on your personal goals. If you’re just training for better health and fitness, then select an arbitrary number that sounds like enough to challenge you, but not unrealistic. We have a 5 minute plank challenge going on here, so a 2 or 3 minute side plank might be comparable. I’ve heard from a few personal trainers that 3 minutes is usually considered the gold standard and beyond that is just gravy. But even that is subjective.

      What I like to do personally, and with my clients, is establish a baseline amount of fitness in each movement (front plank, side plank, and other variations), and then combine them into a plank routine for more total benefit.

  2. I’ve been down with a strained lower back for the past week, but I am on this today or tomorrow. I think my back prob is actually caused my the right side of my ribcage being tight and the left overstretched, so this could be the ticket.

  3. Gary Wilson

    I started planking june 2014, with 13 seconds!!

    It’s now nov 2015 & I’ve progressed to 2 hrs, 10 mins.

    My next target is 3 hrs by 31.12.15

    My routine is:

    1 minute front
    .5 minute right side plank
    .5 minute left side plank

    It’s been an interesting journey to say the least.

    I’m learning a lot about a whole range of topics that I could start writing a book on it.

    I’m inspired by you & george hood.

    Would you like to meet me in Skype in the future? If yes, invite – (omitted)

    All the best.
    Thanks to your great education & thorough writings.
    Gary Wilson
    Gold Coast, Australia

    • Hi Gary,

      Not sure how I missed your comment last month, but TWO HOURS AND TEN MINUTES!?!? That is some beast-mode endurance you’ve got there! And the fact that you started at a mere 13 seconds. You, sir, are the inspiration! So, keep up the good work. I’m sure you’ll hit 3 hours in no time ;)

      Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help!


      P.S. You’re crazy.

      P.P.S. In a good way.

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