How to Do a Side Plank Crunch: Step-by-Step Guide for a Stronger Core

How to do a Side Plank Crunch fitness instruction demonstration

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If you’re looking to strengthen your core and tone your abs, the side plank crunch is a great exercise to add to your routine. This move targets your obliques, which are the muscles on the sides of your waist, while also engaging your entire core. Plus, it can be done anywhere, without any equipment.

To perform a side plank crunch, start by lying on your side with your legs straight and your elbow directly under your shoulder. Lift your hips off the ground, forming a straight line from your head to your feet.

From here, bring your top knee towards your top elbow, crunching your obliques. Return to the starting position and repeat for several reps before switching sides. Remember to keep your core engaged throughout the movement and avoid letting your hips drop.

Understanding the Side Plank Crunch

If you are looking to strengthen your core, the side plank crunch is an excellent exercise to add to your routine. This exercise targets the obliques, which are the muscles on the sides of your abdomen. It also engages other muscle groups, including the deep core muscles, which are essential for core stability.

To perform a side plank crunch, start by lying on your side with your legs straight and your elbow directly under your shoulder. Lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your head to your heels. Then, bring your top knee towards your elbow, crunching your obliques. Return to the starting position and repeat for several repetitions before switching sides.

It is important to engage your abdominal muscles throughout the exercise to maintain proper form and prevent injury. Make sure to breathe deeply and avoid holding your breath.

Incorporating the side plank crunch into your fitness routine can help improve your overall core strength and stability. As with any exercise, it is essential to start slowly and gradually increase intensity and repetitions over time. If you have any concerns or questions about whether this exercise is right for you, consult with a fitness professional or medical provider.

Side Plank Crunch Workout Exercise Girl Silhouette Illustration
Side Plank Crunch Workout Exercise Girl Silhouette Illustration

Proper Form and Technique

When performing a side plank crunch, proper form and technique are crucial to avoid injury and achieve optimal results. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Positioning the Elbow and Shoulder

Start by positioning your elbow directly beneath your shoulder. Your forearm should be perpendicular to your body, and your hand should be flat on the ground. Make sure your shoulder is pulled back and down, away from your ear, to avoid any unnecessary tension.

Aligning the Legs and Feet

Stack your feet on top of each other, with your top foot resting on its side. This will help you maintain balance and stability throughout the exercise. Keep your legs straight and engage your core muscles to maintain proper alignment.

Maintaining a Straight Line

Your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Avoid letting your hips sag or lift too high, which can put a strain on your lower back. Keep your neck in a neutral position, with your gaze focused on the ground in front of you.

The Crunch Movement

To perform the crunch movement, bring your top knee up towards your elbow, while simultaneously lowering your hips towards the ground. Keep your core engaged and your movements slow and controlled. Exhale as you crunch, and inhale as you return to the starting position.

Modifying the Side Plank Crunch

If you find the full-side plank crunch too challenging, there are modifications you can make to make the exercise more accessible. For example, you can perform the exercise with your bottom knee bent, or you can tap your top foot to the ground between each crunch movement. Experiment with modifications until you find a variation that works for you.

By following these tips for proper form and technique, you can ensure that you get the most out of your side plank crunches while minimizing the risk of injury. Remember to listen to your body and modify the exercise as needed to suit your fitness level and ability.

Benefits of Side Plank Crunches

Core Strength and Stability

Side plank crunches are a great exercise to improve your core strength and stability. This exercise targets the oblique muscles, which are located on the sides of your abdomen. By performing side plank crunches, you engage your core muscles, including your abs, lower back, and hips, to maintain proper form.

Improved Balance

Side plank crunches can also help improve your balance. As you hold the side plank position, you are challenging your body to maintain stability. This exercise requires you to engage your core muscles to keep your body in a straight line, which can help improve your overall balance.

Muscle Definition and Tone

Incorporating side plank crunches into your workout routine can help you achieve muscle definition and tone. This exercise targets the oblique muscles, which can help create a more defined waistline. In addition, side plank crunches engage your glutes, which can help tone and strengthen your backside.

Injury Prevention

Side plank crunches can also help prevent injuries. By strengthening your core muscles, you can improve your posture and reduce your risk of back pain. Additionally, side plank crunches can help improve your overall stability, which can help prevent falls and other injuries.

Overall, side plank crunches are an effective exercise for improving your core strength and stability, balance, muscle definition and tone, and injury prevention. By incorporating this exercise into your workout routine, you can burn calories, strengthen your core muscles, and achieve a strong and toned physique.

Incorporating Side Plank Crunches into Your Routine

If you want to add challenging and effective exercise to your ab workout routine, side plank crunches are a great option. This exercise targets your oblique muscles, which are responsible for twisting and bending your torso. Here are some tips for incorporating side plank crunches into your routine.

Determining Frequency

When it comes to how often you should do side plank crunches, it depends on your fitness level and goals. If you’re a beginner, start with one or two sets of 10-12 repetitions on each side, and gradually increase the number of sets and reps as you get stronger. For more advanced exercisers, aim for three to four sets of 12-15 reps on each side, two to three times per week.

Adding Variations

To keep your workout challenging and prevent boredom, try adding some variations to your side plank crunches. For example, you can do a side plank with a leg lift, or add a twist to the crunch by bringing your elbow to your opposite knee. These variations will target different muscles and keep your workout interesting.

Including Dumbbells

If you want to add some extra resistance to your side plank crunches, you can hold a dumbbell in your top hand. This will make the exercise more challenging and help build strength in your oblique muscles. Start with a light weight and gradually increase as you get stronger.

Combining with Other Ab Workouts

To get the most out of your ab workout, it’s important to include a variety of exercises that target different muscles. You can combine side plank crunches with other ab workouts, such as bicycle crunches, planks, and sit-ups. Aim for a total of three to four ab exercises per workout, and do each exercise for three to four sets of 12-15 reps.

In summary, side plank crunches are a challenging and effective exercise that can help strengthen your oblique muscles. By following these tips, you can incorporate this exercise into your ab workout routine and see results over time.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When performing a side plank crunch, it’s important to maintain proper form to avoid injury and maximize the effectiveness of the exercise. Here are some common mistakes to watch out for and how to avoid them:

Incorrect Elbow Placement

One common mistake is placing your elbow too far forward or backward, which can cause strain on your shoulder and decrease the effectiveness of the exercise. To avoid this, make sure your elbow is directly underneath your shoulder and your forearm is perpendicular to the ground. This will help you maintain a steady posture and engage your core muscles properly.

Losing Balance

Another mistake is losing your balance during the exercise, which can cause you to fall or strain your muscles. To avoid this, make sure your body is in a straight line from head to toe and your weight is evenly distributed between your feet. You can also try placing your top hand on your hip or extending it toward the ceiling for added stability.

Not Engaging the Core

If you’re not engaging your core muscles properly, you may not feel the full benefits of the exercise and may even strain your lower back. To avoid this, focus on tightening your abs and glutes throughout the exercise and keeping your hips lifted. You can also try adding a pelvic tilt or crunching your elbow and knee together to increase the intensity.

Rushing Through Reps

Finally, rushing through reps can cause you to lose proper form and decrease the effectiveness of the exercise. To avoid this, take your time and focus on maintaining proper form throughout each rep. You can also try holding the plank position for a few seconds before adding the crunch to increase the challenge.

By avoiding these common mistakes and focusing on proper form and technique, you can get the most out of your side plank crunch and see better results in your core and love handles.

Wrap-Up

In conclusion, the side plank crunch is an effective exercise that targets multiple muscle groups and helps to strengthen your core. By following the proper technique and form, you can get the most out of this exercise and maximize your results.

To wrap up, let’s review the key points of how to do a side plank crunch:

  1. Begin by getting into a side plank position with your elbow directly under your shoulder and your legs extended out straight.
  2. Place your top hand behind your head, and bring your top elbow and knee together towards your chest to perform the crunch.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions before switching sides.
  4. Remember to engage your core throughout the exercise and maintain proper alignment to prevent injury.

Incorporating side plank crunches into your home workout routine is a great way to challenge your core and improve your overall fitness. By adding variations such as knee crunch side planks or BOSU ball side planks, you can continue to challenge yourself and see progress over time.

So, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced fitness enthusiast, the side plank crunch is a great exercise to add to your repertoire. With consistent practice and proper form, you can strengthen your core, improve your posture, and achieve your fitness goals.

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