Although not strictly a Pilates exercise, the side plank is a great core stability exercise and utilizes many of the Pilates concepts. It’s a good way to develop the strength needed for the Side Bend or the Twist, and therefore is often found hiding somewhere within Pilates classes.

The side plank

The side plank develops shoulder stability and strengthens the obliques.

Start by sitting sideways with the upper body weight resting on the arm, fingers pointing away, in line with the body.

Bend the legs in and rest upon one side of the pelvis, bringing the top foot in front of the bottom one.

Inhale and lift the pelvis away from the floor whilst straightening the legs.

Reach the upper arm up towards the sky, aiming to hold the body in a straight and diagonal position and the arms in a straight line from finger tip to finger tip.

Hold and breathe then lower slowly to the start position.

Of course, repeat on the opposite side to maintain a balanced body.

This exercise is stepping into a more advanced realm, as all the weight is focused through just one shoulder and arm, so be careful to stabalise the scapula well, engage the abdominals, and to only hold for as long as you can keep good quality form.

An alternative version is to rest on the forearm.

More blog posts from Jamie: 

5 great ab exercises

Focus on Pilates: Leg pull front

About the instructor

Jamie Isaac is a Pilates instructor and personal trainer with over 15 years teaching experience. A former international trampolinist and a graduate in Physical Education and Sports Sciences, Jamie is passionate about the positive effects exercise can have on all aspects of life. He is the head instructor and founder of Azul Yoga & Pilates Retreat and the founder of Fluid Art Pilates.
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