Posted by: pointlenana | April 3, 2016

Exercise of the Month – Apr 2016: Dynamic Side Planks

In February, I talked about dynamic front planks.  This time it’s about making side planks dynamic.  For running in particular, static exercises – like the typical static side plank which you might hold for 30-60 seconds – can build strength but the strength might not carry over well to running.  There is a moment in each stride where your body is pretty straight like in a side plank, but there’s a whole lot of body movement happening at that point and you need the strength there with/in spite of the movement.  The answer is to practice the side planks with movement, i.e. dynamic side planks.

There are two exercises to choose from.  Do one or the other, unless you are exceptionally masochistic and want to do both.  I hate doing either of these exercises and look forward to the point in any given workout when I’m done with the dynamic side planks.  I learned these from my PT – they are similar to some things you can find on YouTube but different enough that there are no YouTube videos of these exercises as I was taught.

Option 1:  Side plank with hip pulse AND leg lift/drop.  A side plank with hip pulse means you plank and then lower/raise your body at the hips, like this.

Then there’s side planks with leg lifts like this.

So, in side planks with pulses and leg lifts you do both things – from a plank position, lower your hips then raise them up while lifting the top leg, then lower the top leg as you drop your hips again, and repeat.  This exercise can be done by reps or by time (e.g. 30 seconds of movement).

Option 2: Side planks with running motion and twist.  In this one, the top leg swings forward and backwards through an exaggerated running motion, with the top foot reaching as far “up” as possible in both directions and briefly touching the ground.  From a straight two-legged side plank, reach forward and up with the top foot (knee bent), tap the floor in front of you, then reach backwards and “up” with the top foot tapping the floor again behind your rear.  This movement happens in multiple planes at once and works all the core stabilizers.  I generally do this one by time, to avoid racing through sloppy reps.  This video shows some of the movement but he’s not reaching “high” with his foot either forward or back, and he’s not tapping the floor (which makes the body work harder to handle the twisting forces).

You can make either of these a little easier by bending the lower leg and planking from elbow to knee instead of elbow to foot.




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