Side Plank - How To Do Side Plank Abs Exercise [Guide w/ Images]

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

How To Do The Side Plank Abs Exercise?

Below we've included a video showing you how to do the side plank abs exercise.

There are some example side plank workouts further down in this article and also a step-by-step guide to the side plank exercise.

Be sure to do this exercise on soft floorings, such as a padded mat or a rubber floor.

Follow the advice below to get the proper side plank form.

Try to keep your body still throughout this exercise.

If you can't do it, regress to an easier variation (we include the other variations of the side plank further down).

Engage your abdominal muscles and keep still throughout the exercise.

Things to avoid:

  • Sagging of your body.

  • Tilting of your neck and head.

How To Do The Side Plank:

  1. To begin, place your right hand onto the floor. Keep your arm straight as you push up into the side plank.

  2. You can either stack both of your feet on top of each other or place both of your feet on the floor in a staggered stance.

  3. Push up into the side plank position. Lift through the side of your body as you continue to hold this position, try to stay as still as possible.

  4. Engage all of your core muscles and squeeze your obliques.

  5. Hold this position until you can’t hold it any longer.

  6. These instructions are for the moderate-hard version - if you can't do this one, regress into an easier variation listed below.

the side plank exercise

Alternative Side Plank Variations:

There are alternatives to the standard side plank, each has their own difficulty level as listed below.


  • Knee Side Plank


  • Standard Side Plank


  • Star Side Plank

The knee side plank and star side plank are explained in further detail below.

Knee Side Plank:

The knee side plank is an easier version of the standard side plank.

Instead of resting your weight on your feet, you can use your knees.

This will make the side plank easier to perform, below is an image of the knee side plank.

knee side plank

Star Side Plank:

Another variation of the side plank is called the star side plank.

It is a harder version of the standard side plank.

Instead of resting your arm on your hips and your foot on top the other, you lift them both into the air creating a "star" shape.

It increases the stress on your muscles, making the it harder. Below is an image of the star side plank.

star side plank

How To Make The Side Plank Easier?

If you need to make the side plank easier, don't worry, the best way is listed below:

  • You can make the side plank easier by resting your weight on your knee instead of your feet, this is called a knee side plank - we have more detail about that in the section above!

  • Doing the side plank for less time is another way to make it easier.

How To Make The Side Plank Harder?

There are also multiple ways to make the side plank exercise harder. The best ways are listed below:

  • Doing the harder variations of the side plank such as the star side plank, we have more detail about this variation on the variations section above.

  • Increasing the time spent doing the exercise will also make it harder.

star side plank image
Doing the star side plank variation will make it harder

Side Plank Muscles Worked:

The primary muscles worked from the side plank exercise are as follow:

  • Rectus Abdominis (core abdominal muscles)

  • Obliques (side abdominal muscles)

  • Glutes (main buttocks muscles)

The side plank also works many other muscles for stability, such as:

  • Quadriceps (front leg muscles)

  • Deltoids (shoulder muscles)

  • Triceps (back arm muscles)

  • Biceps (front arm muscles)

  • Various Back Muscles

side plank muscles worked image
Areas highlighted in red are the main muscles worked

Side Plank Benefits:

The benefits of the side plank are listed below, they are very similar to the standard plank exercise.

The plank is a compound (multi-joint) exercise as well as an isometric exercise (muscles in constant contraction without moving). This gives this exercise the benefits listed below.

It has these benefits:

  • May improve overall strength.

  • May reduce the risk of a back injury.

  • May increase abdominal muscle growth.

  • May improve the endurance of muscle fibres.

  • May also improve flexibility.

Side Plank Workout Examples:

A great example of using the plank exercise in a workout is the 6-Day 6-Pack workout.

Example 1:

  1. Deadbug: 2 Sets / 12 Reps / Hold for 3 seconds

  2. Plank: 2 Sets / Hold for 30 seconds

  3. Side Plank: 2 Sets / 8 Reps / Hold for 3 seconds

Example 2:

  1. Side Plank: 2 Sets / Hold for 30 seconds

  2. Reverse Crunch: 2 Sets / 8 Reps / Hold for 2 seconds

You can make, change and adapt workouts to your style, program and experience.

Check out our other exercises in our exercise guides on

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