How To Do Side Plank Hip Lifts Properly

The side plank hip lifts allude to an exercise that is dedicated to engaging the hips. Whilst this is partly true, it instead mostly involves the obliques.

The obliques refer to a set of muscles located along the abdominal walls.

As such, the exercise involves plenty of rotation and bending of the trunk region – a staple in exercises that involve the obliques.

The obliques are an area often ignored in favour of the abs area. However, for proper toning of the general core area, it is crucial that you also engage the obliques.

This is why the side plank hip lifts are so important.


To do the exercise:

  • Start by lying on one of your sides, i.e., the left side and prop yourself on your left elbow and forearm.
  • While doing this, your shoulders should be stacked over your elbow, and your legs stacked on top of each other
  • Hold a dumbbell in place on top of your right hip.
  • Raise your hips so that your body forms a straight line from head to heels. This is the starting position
  • From this position, keep your core braced and your glutes engaged. Then slowly lower your left hip, tapping it gently on the floor.
  • Reverse the move, and return to a side plank position.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times then switch sides, performing equal reps on each


Although the side plank hip lift is known for the work it does in and around the core area, it goes beyond that. In fact, the side plank hip lift actually engages the full body.

Some of these areas include:


Also known as the rectus abdominis, the abs are a natural area of engagement while doing the side plank hip lifts.

This is because the positions and movements taken up while doing the exercise heavily require the support of the abs.

This is especially so when you brace the core area in order to generate power in your movements.


As mentioned above, the obliques are a group of muscles located along the abdominal walls.

They are therefore the most important muscles while doing the side plank hip lifts. This is because the nature of the movement’s triggers engagement mostly from the obliques, making it the primary muscle.

The obliques are responsible for the facilitation of side-to-side movement of the body. For instance, by turning to the right, you’ll have to engage the left external oblique and vice versa.


For the sake of stability, the gluteus muscles are often engaged while doing the side plank hip lifts.

The elevation and suspension of the body while doing the exercise means that the body is highly unstable.

This is where the gluteus muscles come in to stabilise the hip and enable you to do the necessary steps to complete the exercise.


The shoulder area acts as a pivot while doing the side plank hip lifts. This is because it holds a large percentage of your body weight throughout the exercise.

This forces the shoulder area to spring into action and adapt accordingly. As a result, it leads to stronger shoulders that can handle the requirements of the exercise.


Due to its wholesome engagement of numerous parts of the body, the side plank hip lifts come with a number of benefits. They include:


The core is the most engaged general area when doing the side plank hip lifts.

It is for this reason that your core ultimately adapts in order to handle the strain directed its way by the side plank hip lifts.

Therefore, the more reps you do the more the core is engaged and becomes stronger. A strong core also comes with trickle benefits such as more balance i.e., in movements and during strenuous activity.

It also prevents injuries that come about from overexertion.


One of the most difficult fat deposits to burn are the subcutaneous fat deposits. These refers to deposits of excess fat that lodge themselves in between organs.

One of the most common fat depositories includes areas such as your sides where coincidentally the obliques are also located.

Consequently, this burns fat from the subcutaneous fat deposits


The side plank hip lifts work multiple muscle groups across various areas of the body. As a result, this creates room for uniform conditioning.

Grasp one end with your right hand

In the long run, a uniformly conditioned body is better for you than a partially conditioned body.


The fact that the side plank hip lifts engage the whole body can make finding an exercise that’s an exact fit a bit hard.

However, the exercises that come closest to working the same exact areas include:


This is an exercise that uses the hips to facilitate movements that engage the core, back and hips.

It involves the use of a dowel rod however; this can be substituted with a regular rod. To do the exercise:

  • Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, toes and point your toes outward.
  • Place a dowel rod (or any kind of rod) vertically on your back
  • Grasp one end with your right hand and the other end with your left hand
  • Shift your weight to your heels and push your hips back towards the wall behind you while you hinge forward at the hips
  • Lower your torso until it’s midway between vertical and parallel to the floor. Pause.
  • Reverse the movement by contracting your glutes and pushing your hips forward and upward to return to the starting position.


To do this exercise:

  • Lay down with your back flat on the floor and your arms on your side.
  • Place the small ball under your right foot.
  • Point your left leg straight up to the ceiling. Rotate your leg in small circles clockwise and then counter clockwise.
  • Lower your left leg down onto the ball and then repeat the motion with your right leg for the desired amount of time.


The side plank refers to the standard variation upon which the side plank hip lifts are based upon.

It is however an exercise that places a bit more emphasis on the core region. To do the exercise:

  • Lie on your side and bend your knees. Prop your upper body up on your elbow.
  • Raise your hips off the floor, and hold for 6 seconds.
  • Rest for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 5 to 10 times.
  • Switch to your other side and repeat the process


Below are some commonly committed mistakes that affect your efficiency while doing the side plank hip lifts

They include:


An unaligned body position often affects several areas of the body i.e., the back which ends up being arched.


This can lead to excessive strain on the back which causes injury.


Engaging your core is one of the most crucial steps while doing this exercise. This is because failure to do so means that the core will not be targeted.

As a result, you will be working out the wrong area while doing he exercise


The side plank hip lifts are a simple exercise that can be done by anyone. However, it is this simplicity that can blind you to the fact that you need to start slow and rest accordingly.

Therefore, even as you engage in the exercise, prioritise what you can handle, ensure you have good form and rest



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