The side plank leg lifts are a mid-region strengthening exercise that targets a variety of areas within said area.
This is mostly done by forcing the target areas to distribute and handle your own body weight.
As a result, the engaged areas are forced to adapt and develop higher levels of strength.
WHAT TO DO:
- Place your right elbow on the ground. Extend both legs out so that your body is in one straight line and you’re balancing on the outside edge of your right foot.
- Flex both feet if you can and either rest your top hand on your upper hip or extend it in the air.
- Keeping your spine lengthened and your abs engaged, lift your left leg up just higher than your top hip. Then slowly lower it back to your bottom leg.
- Do 15 to 20 reps on each side
WHAT MUSCLES DO THE SIDE PLANK LEG LIFTS WORK?
The obliques are part of the larger abdominal muscle region and are responsible for movement of areas.
They include the trunk and more relevantly at least in this case – the core. Therefore when you lean and then proceed to lift your leg, it’s the oblique that is primarily engaged
The core is formed as the sum of a number of areas.
All these areas are engaged when the core is braced in order to do the side plank. This is followed by the facilitation of raised legs in a correlated series of movements
The shoulders perform a pivotal role – literally when doing the side plank leg lifts. This is because most of your body weight is directed towards this area in order to achieve balance.
As a result, the shoulders adapt accordingly in order to handle the said weight. This often comes in the form of the added strength and in certain cases muscle hypertrophy.
The side plank leg lifts involve a lot of movement away from the body also known as abduction.
The abduction comes about when lifting the leg away from the central body line. This engages the thighs as the area is forced to bear the weight exerted from gravity and leg weight.
The glutes provide stability while lifting the leg during the side plank leg lifts. They also provide support to the lower back which prevents overexertion and injury.
Therefore, this enables you to do the exercise in a much more efficient way for the recommended amount of time.
BENEFITS OF THE SIDE PLANK LEG LIFTS
IMPROVED BODY STABILITY
The state of instability triggered by positioning your body at a side angle is a tactic used to build better balance for the body.
This is because instigating a state of imbalance forces the body and the engaged areas to find a way of adjusting accordingly in order to handle the requirements of the exercise.
ACTIVATES UNDERUTILISED MUSCLES
The side plank leg lifts isolate and engage areas that are often not used in a fair chunk of common exercises.
This includes areas such as the obliques and thighs. Therefore by incorporating the side plank leg lifts into your workout routine, you increase your chances of achieving uniform conditioning.
BETTER HIP FLEXIBILITY
Your hips are called into action every time you open and close your legs while doing the leg lifts.
For beginners, this might pose a challenge. However, the more reps you do, the easier the reps become and consequently, the more flexible you also become.
It is however important to note that taking on a manageable workload and exercising patience during this process is extremely important.
IMPROVED MUSCLE ENDURANCE
Lying in a side plank is bound to test just how long your muscles can endure your own body weight.
This directly translates into the ability of your muscles to bear the weight of something.
The more you do the exercise, the stronger your muscles get in order to enable endurance.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE SIDE PLANK LEG LIFTS
TRX SIDE PLANK
- Attach cables to an anchor point above your head. Lower the straps to hang down mid-calf
- Lie on one side aligning the hip to the chosen anchor point above your head.
- Place your feet securely in the designated foot section. The leg closest to the anchor will be directly in front of your back leg.
- Place your elbow or hand directly below your shoulder.
- Tighten your core, flex your feet together, exhale, and raise into a side plank position.
- Maintain a neutral spine not allowing your hips to sag.
- Rest the non-active hand on your hip or raise it toward the ceiling forming a suspended side “T” with your body.
- Hold the side plank for 8 to 10 seconds or a predetermined amount of time.
- Slowly lower your body to facilitate maintaining a tight core and neutral spine.
- Repeat the exercise for a preferred amount of repetitions.
To do this exercise:
- Place your feet in the middle of the designated area and assume a plank-like position
- Keeping your back in a straight line, slide your feet forward 4-6 inches and then move them back to starting position.
- Repeat this motion for the desired amount of repetitions
To do this exercise:
- Lie down on your back with your arms and legs spread out in an X-like shape
- Slowly move up one leg and the arm of the opposite side until they reach the middle while keeping the other body parts stretched.
- These movements should come as much from your core muscles as possible.
- Lower your arm and leg to the position back to the X-like position in a controlled manner.
- Repeat the same movement with the opposite arm and leg.
MISTAKES TO AVOID
ALLOWING YOUR HIPS TO DROP
One of the key positional mistakes while doing the side plank leg lifts, is allowing your hips to drop.
This is because it often means you’re not bracing your core which consequently affects the general goal of the workout.
By keeping your hips elevated and the core engaged, the primary target muscle springs into action which ensures you’re working the right area and achieving maximum efficiency.
LETTING YOUR TORSO SWAY FROM SIDE-TO-SIDE
As a coping mechanism, it is common to see instability when the engaged muscles are tired or incapable of handling the workload directed towards it.
This often waters down how much strain is being directed to the target muscles. Therefore it affects how much work the body put in which can affect the expected results
The side plank leg lifts is a simple exercise that is three-pronged in the sense that it allows for exercise without equipment, it is low impact and engages neglected areas.
Therefore, if you’re looking for an all-action workout on a budget, look no further than the side plank leg lifts.