Tag Archives: core

Get Strong Obliques: Try My Favorite Side Plank Variation

Strong Obliques

Advanced Side Plank Steps

Try my favorite side plank variation.

The obliques are responsible for lateral flexion of the torso and help the spine rotate. While running the obliques work together with other core muscles to maintain proper running form.

Why This Variation? 
In this plank variation both your left and right obliques are engaged and active working to stabilize.

Perform it

  1. Start in a side plank position. Make sure your shoulders are stacked and your body is in a straight line. Lift your top leg away from your bottom leg.
  2. Stretch and extend your top arm over your head.
  3. While laterally flexing through your obliques bring your top arm and leg towards each other.
  4. Return to side plank position, keeping your leg elevated and pause before repeating the exercise.

Try doing this plank variation at least once this week. Start by doing ten reps on each side for one set and build up from there. Feel free to modify this side plank variation by bending your bottom knee and placing it on a mat.

Plank With Purpose

Improve your plank header

Plank with purposeImprove Your Plank

During a core workout this week, replace one of your standard plank variations with this running specific plank.

Why This Plank Variation? 
When running with proper form, the trail leg extends behind the body while the hips simultaneously rotate towards that side. To achieve this form, the spinal muscles, obliques (side abdominals) and glutes (i.e., the butt) must work together to rotate the hips and extend the leg at the same time.

Therefore, this exercise is functional to running as it places an emphasis on core stabilization, core rotation and leg extension.
How to Execute It
#1) Start in a forearm plank position.
#2) Lift one leg up as high as you can by extending through the hip and lengthening out through your heel as much as possible. This is more than just lifting your leg up in the air. To get the full benefit you must extend through the hip.
#3) Move the lifted leg under your torso and across towards the opposite elbow, twisting in the spine and obliques.
#4) Return the twisted leg to the starting position and repeat the sequence on the other side.

Start by doing two sets of eight repetitions on each side. Once you master the move you can increase your repetitions or add in another challenge by placing your forearms on an unstable surface such as a Bosu.

Plank Extension Step 1

hip extension plank step 2
hip extension plank step 3


Take a picture before, during or after one of your core workouts this week (between Monday, August 10 and Sunday, August 16), post it to twitter or instagram and include the hashtag #RacePaceRunner.