As a yoga teacher, I am always looking for ways to power-up my plank pose. Here is one fun variation . . . turn your plank on its side! Side planks target almost all major muscle groups, including: glutes, obliques, quadriceps, hamstrings, thigh abductors and adductors. Furthermore, strengthening these stabilizing muscles serves to support the spine, especially the lumbar, helping to keep our back free of pain and improving posture. Since bikini season is here, I love to amp up my side plank by adding upper body internal rotation to literally whittle away my waistline, thus enhancing my natural curves. This side plank drill packs a powerful punch! Here's how to perform it properly and safely:
Start in a regular plank pose, feet about hip-width distance, hands shoulder-width distance. Press back strongly through heels and engage core and glutes to stabilize the body.
1 // Drop heels to the left, flex feet strongly, and lift right arm up and over your ear. Be mindful to press down with the entire surface area of your left hand as not to overload your wrist joint. Keep reaching your top hip up high to create a beautiful arch in the side waist, and keep pressure off of your left shoulder. Keep neck long and avoid sticking your booty back or belly out. I like to imagine that my body is balancing between two panes of glass.
2 // Exhale, then round your upper and middle back, wrapping your right arm around your left ribcage, and bringing your chest as close to parallel to the floor as possible. Try not to disturb the alignment of your lower body at all. Hold. Inhale and unravel back to starting position.
I like to do 3 sets of 5 reps on each side. If you find your wrists are getting too fatigued to maintain proper alignment, drop down onto your forearm.
AUTHOR: Dina Ivas