I spend more time trying to figure out where to put my feet during a side plank than actually performing the core-strengthening move. Do I stack my feet on top of each other? If so, how do I stack them without falling over on my face? Can I put one foot in front of the other — and still get a good workout?
Since it's one of my virtual fitness instructor's favourite moves (seriously, we do them multiple times each class), I decided it was time for some answers.
Ash Wilking, an NASM-certified personal trainer, New York City-based Nike trainer, and Rumble instructor came through with this helpful guide.
By the way — her explanation on the physical benefits of doing side planks alone will convince you to figure out your feet placement.
"Planks overall are a great full-body exercise that target not only your core, but also lower and upper body," Wilkins says. "By rotating your plank on its side, you still receive full body benefits but isolate one side of the body amping up the effort. Side planks target the obliques, which are vital for anti rotation, helping protect the back and spine in more dynamic movements. They also help improve shoulder stabilization, and target hip abductors, adductors, [and] glutes."
When it comes to placing your feet, you have a few options. One variation, which is probably the most advanced, is stacking your feet on top of the other. "By staking your feet in a side plank, you decrease the surface area you are balancing on, meaning it makes balancing a little more difficult," Wilking says.
Then, you can split your feet, so the top foot is forward and the bottom foot is back: "you will feel more grounded, but you'll also target the inner and other thighs more," Wilking says.
Finally, you can place the bottom knee on the ground and extend the top leg. "This relieves pressure from the shoulder, elbow, and wrists, while still firing up the core and bottoms leg!"
Moving forward, I'm going to take the split stance variation for a spin — and fumbling over my feet will no longer get the best of my ab workout.