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3 Side Plank Variations to Build a Strong Core

It is crucial to build a strong core to successfully complete the work we do in CrossFit. In order to support the heavy weight and protect our backs we need to work on strengthening our abs, obliques, and lower back. Whether it is an overhead squat, pull-ups, or moving a heavy weight over our head, a strong core will help improve all of those movements.

When we talk about exercises to build a strong core, we’re not just talking sit ups and crunches.  The core is your whole trunk, and those muscles wrap around the sides and back. Side planks are a great way to strengthen your obliques. Through different side plank exercises, we will work on dynamic movement, static holds, and body awareness.

Side Planks to Help Build a Strong Core

Side Plank, Hip Pop


  1. Prop your body up on your elbow so that it is positioned under your shoulder.
  2. Brace your core and raise your hips so that your body forms a straight line.
  3. On a slow count of 1-2-3 lower your hips and then immediately pop them back up!
  4. Complete 3-5 reps per side.

Side Plank, Star Fish


  1. Position yourself into a side plank.
  2. Lower yourself to a slow count of 1-2-3, then pop your hip back up, while simultaneously raising your top leg.
  3. Return to original position and repeat 3-5 reps per side.
  4. For an added challenge hold the position at the top for 10-20 seconds.

Side Plank, Captain Morgans


  1. Position yourself into a side plank.
  2. Move your top leg forward so that both feet are on the ground, one in front of the other.
  3. Shift your weight to the front foot and raise your lower leg so that the thigh forms a 90-degree angle with your hip. Hold for 5 seconds and return to start.
  4. Shift your weight to the back foot and raise your upper leg to the same 90 degree angle. Hold for 5 second and return to start. That’s 1 rep.
  5. Complete 2 reps per side.

If any of those get too easy, you can always increase the number of reps or length of time you’re holding the position. Important thing is to make sure you are constantly challenging yourself.