How to do a side plank rotation

Nail side plank rotations for a stronger core

Posted by for Strong Women

Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: side plank rotation.

So, you can plank. You plank on your elbows just as well as you hold a high plank, and you’ve even crushed the five-minute plank challenge. Now it’s time to take your plank game up to the next level with this spicy plank variation: side plank rotation.     

What exactly is a side plank rotation?

Side plank rotations do what they say on the tin: they’re a plank done on one side… with a rotation. They require you to have a switched-on core, strong shoulders and good glute activation. Add in a rotation and you’ve got the perfect full-body conditioner. 

Side plank rotations are so good because they:

  • Test balance: You’ve got to balance on one arm and leg while reaching above and behind your centre of gravity – no mean feat.
  • Improve imbalances: By moving from one side to the other, you’ll find whether one arm and/or leg is weaker than the other. Isolated movements like this identify imbalances and give you a chance to work on them.
  • Challenge core strength: Planks require good core strength in general, but adding a rotation means that you’re actively hitting those obliques at the sides of your torso.

What muscles does side plank rotation work?

  • Obliques 
  • Abdominals
  • Glutes
  • Lower back
  • Shoulders

How to do a side plank rotation

  1. Start by lying on your right-hand side, legs out straight, with your right arm at a 90’ angle in front of you (so your lower arm is flat on the ground, hand on the floor in front of you).
  2. With one foot stacked on top of the other (or your left foot on the floor slightly behind the right, if that’s easier), lift your hips so that the only parts now on the floor are your feet and forearm.
  3. Once stable, extend your left arm into the air straight above your head.
  4. Rotating from the waist, bring that arm down and thread it through the gap under your hips. 
  5. Reach as far as you can before bringing the arm back through and up into the air.
  6. Repeat on the other side.

Keen to improve your form? Check out our How To library to see exactly how the experts do over 100 of the most common strength training exercises.

Image: Stylist

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Miranda Larbi

Miranda Larbi is the editor of Strong Women and Strong Women Training Club. A qualified personal trainer and vegan runner, she can usually be found training for the next marathon, seeking out vegan treats or cycling across London on a pond-green Tokyo bike.

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