Side planks are a great workout that pushes your limits. If you are committed to getting a stronger overall core, you want to make sure you have the proper form of side planks. Avoiding these mistakes will prevent back pain and get an effective workout.

Unfortunately, some fairly common mistakes can make the exercise way less effective and, ultimately, a waste of your time. So if you’re trying a plank challenge or incorporating side planks into your regular workout routine, get the move right and avoid these five errors.

The five errors to avoid include:

  1. Dropping your hips – With any plank exercise, you want to avoid dropping your hips, and when you are targeting your obliques with a side plank, you want to think about actively lifting the bottom hip. Keeping those hips elevated will activate your core. 
  2. Not keeping your head and neck aligned – Planks are exhausting, but it’s essential to keep your head from dropping or looking up at the ceiling. Not keeping your head aligned can lead to injuries such as neck strains and other strained muscles. Think about your chin being tucked in to restore proper alignment. 
  3. Putting pressure on your bottom foot – Since your feet are stacked during a side plank, you want to know how much pressure you are putting on your bottom foot. If your lower foot is digging into the ground, you are putting too much weight on your foot. Wearing shoes will help with not putting too much pressure on your foot. 
  4. Arching your lower back – You want your body to be in a long, straight line. When you start to get tired throughout your workout, you back may start to arch. Arching your back can ultimately lead to strained back muscles and not activating your core correctly. Think about pulling your belly button towards your spine, and this will keep your abdominal engaged and will not strain your lower back. 
  5. Mind your elbow placement – If your elbow is too far from your body, it places an unnecessary amount of stress on your hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder. Your obliques should be holding the body up for balance, not your arm. Place your elbow right below your shoulder and think about pushing the ground away.

With this knowledge, you’ll take your side planks to the next level and get stronger. 

thumbnail courtesy of livestrong.com