Side plank

Fitness and flat stomach go hand in hand. People who wish to remain fit set out a routine and follow it judiciously. Along with treadmill, spinning and lifting weights stretches are also important to keep your body flexible. This is where plank poses help. There are several types of plank poses and side plank also known as Vasishtasana in yoga is one of them. In side plank the person works the back and strengthens the spine, buttocks and legs. Start holding side plank for 10-15 seconds for each side and gradually increase time to 60-90 seconds. Do 3-5 reps for each side. The Guinness book of world records for side plank pose is 36.58 minutes. Amazing, isn’t it? So, are you game to try it out? Side_plank

 

Technique

Keep elbow at 90 degrees angle

Side plank pose is performed by lying on the ground on one side and lifting your body away from the ground resting on your elbow. Your elbow should be resting at 90 degrees angle. Your hand should be at right angle in ‘L’ shape. Don’t keep it too far away from the body or too near. In case you’ve a frozen shoulder or rotator cuff issue then don’t perform side plank. You can take to other plank poses where shoulder is not involved.

Body should be straight

Now that you’re resting on your elbow, stretch your body straight parallel to the ground. In case you’re resting on your right side your right leg/ feet will be supporting your body weight on the ground. Your left feet will be resting on top of your right one. See to it that your feet are together as one. Your other hand is resting closer to your body or you can also keep it on your waist at an angle. This straight line side plank pose stretches the back, works the leg muscles and also gives your hard core abdominal contractions. Your shoulders, hips, knees and feet are in one straight diagonal line. Make sure that your head and neck are also in line with your spine. Don’t bend backward or forward.

Spine is erect

Since the entire body and legs are stretched the spine becomes strong giving you an erect posture. See to it that your hips don’t give in and sink to the floor. Core strength is very important to perform side plank. The buttocks are squeezed and all the extra fat is burned. You get a shapely figure as well as become strong and energetic.

Breathe heavily

As you’re resting on your side plank breathe out/ exhale at regular intervals. This breathing will help the lungs and stomach muscles to expand and contract. This works wonders for asthmatic patients. The exhalation locks down all the muscles giving you extra power.

Once you’re comfortable performing the side plank, ready yourself for a more challenging version. By lifting one leg i.e. the top leg at an angle till it is parallel to the floor or bend the bottom leg from the knee. These two variations are tough yet they work on your abdomen.

 

Muscles involved

 

There are two types of muscles in our body. They’re primary muscles and secondary muscles. Primary muscles are what control the movement you are performing.  Simply put, it’s the muscle intended and targeted during a said exercise. Secondary muscles are what assist the primary muscles to complete an exercise.

Primary muscle group

The side plank pose works out the primary abdominal muscles, back and shoulder muscles. It targets transverses abdominis, obliques, rectus abdominis, and quadratus lumborum and also the core muscles at the hips and inner thigh.

Secondary muscle group

Secondary muscles like the gluteus maximus, the quadriceps on the front of your thighs and the hamstrings on the back of your thighs are also involved to perform side plank pose. All these muscles get worked up and burn fat.

Benefits

This pose is ideal as a stretcher where it strengthens core muscles, arms, legs, buttocks, spine, and feet. It also improves balance and co-ordination between all the muscles. Vasishtasana in yoga is named after the sage Vasishth meaning brilliant, best, etc. Performing this pose not only has physical benefits but also helps to de- clutter the mind. This aids in focus and concentration helping you to achieve success in whatever you set out to do.

Take into consideration

While performing side plank pose you should see to it that you’re not suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Since you’ll be resting your hand on joints like elbow it may aggravate your RA.

In case you’ve back ache talk to your GP before performing any form of exercise. In side plank the spine gets stretched. So it is better to avoid if you’ve low back ache.

Before performing the side plank try out other simple poses that can help to strengthen muscles.

Take your body weight into consideration. A fat and bulging tummy can be a hindrance for performing side plank.

 Common mistakes

  • Sagging hips is not correct for a side plank.
  • Head is not aligned with the body. Holding it in line with the spine is a task.
  • The free hand is not aligned with the body.
  • Don’t lift your shoulder where it meets the ear. This is a definite no, no.
  • Don’t cross your legs. Rest your one foot on the other.

A good work out should include side plank pose as it is part of a good workout routine. See to it that you don’t overdo it. Combine it with other yoga poses to sport a trim and slim figure. Not only will you physically be agile and flexible you’ll also feel mentally rejuvenated and refreshed.

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