• Robert Karpathios

Integral Movement Series: The Side Plank

In this series, we'll be addressing some key movements that serve a very important purpose for becoming strong, resilient and pain free. These movements act as functional cornerstones, providing us with the capacity to move efficiently, buffer ware and tear and drastically increase strength. Whether you're looking to eliminate your aches and pains or increase your strength, this series will shed some light on these movements and the many benefits of performing them on a regular basis.


This is by far one of the most underrated core movements of all time. If learned and applied correctly, the side plank can be an absolute game changer, taking your low back health and stability to new heights. Here's why we love the side plank.


The primary job of the core is to stabilize the entire spinal column along with the rib-cage and pelvis. It does this by resisting any external forces placed on the body. In order to increase our core’s capacity to resist force and prevent injury, we must train using force resisting movements as opposed to force producing movements. The side plank does just that, resisting lateral flexion of the spine. We categorize this as an anti-lateral flexion exercise.


The side plank increases core stability within the frontal plane (side to side). This plane in particular often gets overlooked for more popular exercises that act on the sagittal plane only (front to back). If the frontal plane is neglected for long enough, the instability within this region can rear it's head in the form of low back, hip, and shoulder dysfunction.


Many actions of our hips and shoulders rely on our anti-lateral flexion capacity. If our core is missing the capacity to stabilize in this manner, unwanted demand can be placed on the stabilizing muscles of our hips and shoulders, causing major compensatory dysfunctions and the potential for serious injury.


With effective anti-lateral flexion capacity comes absolute strength and resiliency in all areas. Once you can demonstrate proficiency with this movement, expect to see the quality and capacity of all major movements improve as well - squatting, deadlifting, pressing and more.


Set yourself up for long term strength, resiliency and pain free movement. If you're not incorporating side planks into your programming, take the time to learn the movement safely and effectively. Perform them on a regular basis and always prioritize perfect execution. You'll thank yourself, we promise.

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