How To Do Side Jackknife Properly

If you are looking for no-equipment training, then the side jackknife workout is for you.

The only equipment you need is an exercise mat. Even better is that you can do it at the beginner level as long as you have the correct technique.

Side exercises such as jackknife, which primarily work the obliques, are great for toning the entire body.

Their callisthenic nature works the primary muscles in the body, thereby giving you more strength.

And this article tells you everything you need to know about this workout, including how the steps on doing it.

Here they are:

  • On an exercise mat, lay on your left side with your legs extended straight down.
  • Your right leg should be on top of your left leg.
  • Put your left hand on your stomach and breathe in and out.
  • Let go of your right hand and place it on your forehead.
  • Lift your chest and raise your right arm straight up.
  • Move your right elbow towards your right leg at the same time.
  • Return to your starting position after a brief period of holding.
  • Repeat this by swapping sides.


Side jackknife is a reasonably easy exercise targeting major muscles in your body. It targets the following muscles.


They are popularly known as abs which are a group of five muscles. They are:

  • Pyramidalis,
  • Rectus abdominus
  • External obliques
  • Internal obliques
  • Transversus abdominis

These five muscles play a vital role in holding your organs, but more importantly, they support all body movements.

They firmly hold your trunk whilst keeping the spine aligned for proper balance.


External and internal obliques are among the muscles that make up the abs. They allow the rotation and flexion of the trunk.


Despite the fact that side jackknives are unquestionably a core exercise, they also work your hip flexors.

To perform this exercise, you lift one or both of your feet. The hip flexors, a three-muscle group, enable you to lift your leg.


As easy as the side jackknife workout is, it has immense benefits. And this is your objective when you get down on it.

But what exactly do you gain from this callisthenic exercise?


The exercise strengthens the upper and lower abdominal muscles all in your core.


Although somewhat challenging, the side jackknife is a relatively simple exercise to learn and perform.

Besides, you do not need gym equipment to do it. A folded towel or an exercise mat is all you need to execute side jackknives on the floor. Therefore, it is the best option for people who like to work out at home.


There is no compression on your spinal column when during this workout. Compared to other exercises such as side bends, which engage the abdominals and obliques, it’s safe for your spine.

Exercisers suffering from minor back pain may find side jackknives to be beneficial.


Side jackknife takes a fast pace. Therefore, it is appropriate for circuit training, high-intensity interval training, and other high-intensity activities.


Repeating the same routine over and over again leads you to boredom. That’s why the following side jackknife alternative workout exists.


Side planks are exciting much as they are isometric exercises. This means that they do not require any physical movement.

If you have challenges completing side jackknives correctly, spend a few weeks practising side planks to gain the appropriate strength.


  • In a supine position on the floor, lay your forearm on your elbow.
  • The elbow should be under your shoulders.
  • Lift your torso while keeping your legs and hips straight. It ensures your arm and the sides of your feet support your weight.
  • Hold this position but breathe properly.
  • Lie down with your hips touching the floor and roll over to repeat on the other side.


The lying side hip raise is a more active form of side planks. This exercise helps you burn more calories and improve your overall fitness.

How to do it:

  • Put one hand beneath your shoulder while lying on your right side with the weight supported by your elbow.
  • Bend your knees, putting your feet behind you with your left leg on top of your right leg.
  • Make sure your back is straight, and you are not hunching over or slouching forward.
  • To raise your top leg, you must lift it slightly and move it slightly upward.
  • Straighten your left leg
  • While raising your left leg, lift your right hip and out to the side.
  • Repeat on the other side before returning to the starting position.


Side jackknife and the single-arm farmer’s walk both similar target muscles. With the added benefit of improving core stability, lifting a heavy object requires the utilisation of your obliques and abs to keep your body upright.


  • Place a dumbbell on the ground and then stand near it.
  • Squat and grip it with both hands, then lift it with your deadlift until you’re standing upright.
  • Focus on your core.
  • Take a brisk walk around your training area until you lose your grip.
  • Switch hands, then lower the weight to the ground.

Alternatively, you can use a kettlebell or a barbell to perform this exercise.


It’s essential to keep in mind the following mistakes when doing side jackknife.


Laying on your side is difficult because your lower hip may get stuck on the floor, resulting in pain. Thus, always place a folded exercise mat beneath your hips for additional cushioning protection.


With both legs straight, you are still confined to utilising your body weight as resistance when practising side jackknives. As a result, you may need to perform a higher number of repetitions to tyre the target muscles.


You can exercise your obliques using a side jackknife, which is convenient. You can do this workout anywhere and at any time because it doesn’t require any equipment. Additionally, there are options for beginners, intermediates, and experts. When it comes to strengthening your core, don’t forget to work on your obliques!