Side Planks for Everyone

Follow our step-by-step guide to help you do sideplanks correctly and safely. Start out with Level 1 and only progress to the next level when you become confident and comfortable with 1 minute at that level.

The Side Plank is a slight variation to the regular plank. This exercise focuses on the core but also brings in your obliques (the muscles on the side of your body). Some people find it easier to hold than a standard plank but you can always mix and match whatever suits you.

Level 1 – Side plank on your knees


Have a look at our SidePlank on Knees Video here.


Step by Step Instructions

  • Start by lying on your side
  • Place your  elbow underneath your shoulder and hand straight out in front.
  • Bend your knees behind your body.
  • Ensure a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
  • Push up through your elbow and forearm
  • Raising your hips high off the ground while remaining on your knees.
  • Place your other arm on your side or outstretched above (which ever is most comfortable).
  • Keep lifting through the hips
  • Hold for 30 seconds then change over to the other side.

Note : Stop and reposition your arms if you are feeling any pressure or pain into your shoulders.

Level 2 – Side plank with staggered feet


Have a look at the correct positioning for level 2 here. Video for Staggered Sideplank


  • Similar to level one start on your side
  • Place elbow underneath your shoulder and forearm outstretched.
  • Instead of bending your knees you are going to keep your legs straight
  • Stagger your feet to give you extra balance
  • Push up through your forearm and legs and raise your hips up high.
  • Place your other arm place on your side or up straight for an extra challenge.



Level 3 – Side Plank with straight legs


Check out our video for the Level 3 – Side Plank on Toes Video

  • Lying on your side, elbow underneath shoulder and arm out straight in front.
    Keep your legs out straight with your feet stacked on top of one another
    Push up through your feet and forearm and raise your hips up high.
    Hold for 30 seconds and change over to the other side.


Thanks to Hayley for proving you can do your sideplank literally anywhere!   

Bonus – side plank with a twist.

Have and look at this short bonus video which can be done at any level of the side plank.


When in your side plank position with arm up towards the sky slowly lower the arm and wrap it underneath your body then return to out straight position all the while holding your hips up high and engaging your core.


Best of luck – and when you are comfortable with all that, google ‘side plank march’ – that will be the next step on your side plank adventures! Don’t attempt it yet if you are not comfortable at 30 seconds on your side. There is always more to work on… just start at the basics first.

Make sure you have your doctors approval to start any new exercise routine. If you feel any pain when doing the exercise, please stop immediately. Correct form is important, so be sure to follow the tips and hints.

Before embarking on this or any other exercise programme you should consult with your doctor. By participating in the programme you acknowledge that ForgetTheGym or their agents cannot be held liable for any injuries or other problems that may occur as a result.