Side Plank Exercise On Feet

Video Transcript:

Today we are focusing on the side plank exercise on feet, the intermediate version. Side planks are a fantastic exercise to help strengthen and stabilize your core muscles, and to help strengthen and stabilize your lumbar spine, specifically your quadratus lumborum, or QL muscles.

The first step on the side plank on feet is I’m going to be on my elbow. I have my elbow positioned roughly under my shoulder, to take some of the stress off my shoulder. I want to be nice and straight through here. I have my top foot slightly in front of my bottom foot just to help stabilize me. I’m trying to get everything through my entire body nice and straight. So ideally my legs are in alignment with my torso, and with my neck. I don’t want my neck sticking out really far forward. I want it relatively in alignment with my body.

When you come up off the floor, you can either help yourself out slightly by pushing up with your arm, or just come straight up so it looks something like this. I’m keeping everything in alignment, relatively straight from my feet through to my neck.

You should feel this on the underside, in your quadratus lumborum muscles. Those are lateral or side stabilizers. Most people will definitely feel this. They are generally weak in these side muscles and you might feel shaky through here. That’s perfectly normal. After you’ve held this for 10-30 seconds, even up to a minute, you’re going to come down. When I come down, I’m not collapsing through elbow, I’m staying relatively upright, so I’m not letting everything go.

I’m staying relatively upright on my elbow. That takes some of the stress off your lower back. After I’ve rested like this for 5 or 10 seconds, I come up again. I’m keeping everything through here as straight as possible and I’m holding this.

The top arm doesn’t really matter. You can put it up, you can put it sideways. Doesn’t really matter. Whatever you’re comfortable with, and again, I’m looking at holding this for 10-30 seconds.

After I’ve done that, I’m going to drop down. I would do one more set. So ideally we are doing three sets of this, holding it for whatever you are comfortable with, whether it’s five seconds, whether it’s 10 seconds, that’s great. Or 20, or 30 seconds, up to one minute.

The key point with this is to do this nice and slowly, nice and controlled and properly. You should not have any pain with this. If this is painful, please stop. Let us know. We can work on doing a modified side plank, but it is more important to maintain proper form, to do this intermediate side plank properly than to push through, trying to do more time. Better to do shorter repetition, fewer sets, and maintain proper form, then to push through and do it improperly, potentially causing injury.

Any questions about any of this, please ask.

What is the side plank exercise on feet?

The side plank exercise on feet is an intermediate to advanced version of the side plank exercise. This is a great core exercise, particularly targeting the side muscles of the spine, like the QL muscles, which are important lower back stabilizers. This is a great exercise for people with lower back pain.

Side Plank Exercise Instructions:

  • Step 1

    Begin on your side.

  • Step 2

    Raise yourself up onto your elbow, which should be bent to roughly 90 degrees, positioned under your shoulder.

  • Step 3

    Place your top foot slightly in front of your bottom foot, to help stabilize you when you raise up into the side plank.

  • Step 4

    To raise up, either use your core muscles to elevate you, or use your other arm to help gently push you up.

  • Step 5

    Raise up so that you are as straight as possible from your feet, through your knees and hips, into your torso, and up into your neck. Try to keep your neck neutral, so it’s not sticking forward of your body.

  • Step 6

    Hold this position for as long as you comfortably can: 10, 20, 30 seconds, up to 60 seconds, keeping a contraction in your core and side throughout.

  • Step 7

    It is normal to fee shaky with this exercise, as the side core muscles, the QL muscles, are often weak.

  • Step 8

    After holding this position for whatever you are comfortable with, slowly lower yourself back down onto your elbow to rest, but keeping yourself relatively upright, as shown in the side plank exercise video.

  • Step 9

    Rest for 5-10 seconds, then raise yourself up again to repeat the exercise.

  • Step 10

    Try to do 2-3 repetitions of the exercise, holding from 10 seconds to 60 seconds, depending on your comfort level. Aim for 1-2 times per day.

  • Step 11

    If the side plank exercise is painful, please stop, and we can look at a modified side plank exercise.

  • Step 12

    Any questions, please ask.

Read More About Side Plank Exercise On Feet Below

In this video, you will learn how to do a side plank exercise, but most importantly, how to do it correctly. Side planks are a great core exercise and core workout, and is one of the best core stabilizers and low back pain exercises.

The side plank on feet is the next side plank progression after the version on the knees, and is a great exercise for back pain. There are a couple key points for how to do this exercise properly.

Make sure your body is as straight as possible from your feet, through your knees and hips, into your torso and neck. You don’t want to be hinged at your hips, at an angle, and also want to avoid your neck sticking out forwards in front of your torso, which puts excessive stress on your neck.

Side planks are great for the lateral stabilizers or side stabilizers of the spine, and a great core workout. The primary muscle group targeted is the QL muscle or quadratus lumborum, which is important to strengthen for everyone, but especially for people with poor posture or who sit all day.

A key part for how to do the exercise is to keep your elbow under your shoulder, at roughly 90 degrees, to limit the stress on your shoulder and elbow. Keep your top foot slightly in front of your bottom foot, to help stabilize you and stabilize your spine, and to avoid tilting either forwards or backwards.

When coming up from the ground, you can either raise straight up to neutral using strength from your core muscles, or push up slightly with your arm to get you into neutral posture. In the side plank demonstration in this video, I show both, either is appropriate.

One of the goals of a side plank for back pain is to not only experience less back pain over time as you strengthen your core and stabilize your core muscles, but not to aggravate your back pain in the process.

There are several variations that help with this, but a key for all of them is that if you’re experiencing back pain, please stop. This is not no pain, no gain. Consider the side plank on knees exercise if this version is too difficult to start with, then progress from there.

Ideally with this exercise, aim for whatever time you can do in a controlled manner. Whether 5, 10, 20, or 30-45 seconds, the key is to maintain proper form. Watch the video for how to perform side planks properly…better to do less time, and less sets, but to maintain proper form. Ideally, you would do 2-3 repetitions per side, holding for whatever you are comfortable.

Any questions, please ask.

For further low back exercises, low back stretches, and core exercises, refer to our back pain Toronto condition page here:

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