Are you trying to train your defined obliques and getting nowhere? Torso twists and turns like Russian twists and wood chops target your obliques, building strength and muscle in these sought-after muscles. But which plank exercises can effectively target them?
As a personal trainer, I often get asked by clients for new ways to mix up their plank game. Planks aren’t typically associated with wavy obliques, but this is one of the best plank variations for targeting them and can be used by almost anyone.
If you have any back complaints or suffer from sciatica, you may want to skip this or at least check with a personal trainer first. Ready? Jump to it. This is one of the best plank exercises to burn your obliques – guaranteed.
How to do a hip plank
Welcome to the hip plank workout – the ideal place for your obliques using a plank. Here’s how to do the exercise step by step.
- Start in a plank position, either on your forearms or in a high plank position
- Focus on your core and glutes – there should be a straight line from your head to your heels
- With control and without lifting your hands or elbows, slowly lower your hips to the left until they are hovering just above the ground
- Pause, then rotate back to the starting position and repeat on the right side
- Continue repeating, switching sides each time.
Benefits of hip plank exercise
The core exercise uses rotation to target the obliques, which run along the sides of your torso and form the external (superficial) and internal (a deeper layer of muscle underneath) obliques.
This exercise also works the transverse abdominis – the deepest abdominal muscle – and the stabilizing muscles that support your body, including the shoulder and back muscles.
Our editor did 50 hip planks every day for a week — here are the results if you want to learn more about the benefits and drawbacks.
You can build a variety of core muscles instead of focusing on your abs with compound exercises, meaning moves that target and strengthen multiple muscle groups, such as planks. A strong core contributes to flexibility, mobility and good quality functional movement.
Is the hip plank exercise good?
For most people, yes. I will program a hip plank as part of a core workout or circuit training to help activate the obliques. Your obliques need to be worked out as they are responsible for supporting movements such as twisting and side bending, and must be strong to help the body move in many different planes of motion – think bending sideways or looking back while sitting.
That said, if you struggle with sciatica or a back injury, I recommend doing the exercise with a medical professional first, as many of the twists may not be possible. .
While chiseled curves help sculpt your waist, remember that muscle sculpting is difficult to achieve and unless you are genetically gifted to help reveal your abs, many people notice a Theirs contain the most fat. In fact, Yale research found a correlation between women with high cortisol (stress) levels and higher levels of belly fat storage.
And you can’t choose which part of your body to lose weight (sigh), so try not to get sucked in by promises of workouts that “bust belly fat” or “exercises that reveal six-pack abs.” You can build muscle and create an exercise program to lose fat, but factors such as lifestyle and diet all play a role. My editor offers 5 reasons why you still can’t see your abs, despite working out to help you decipher the basics.
A certain amount of balance is required to perform a successful hip plank, and as I discussed when talking about the benefits of a balance board, controlling body weight through a range of motion is not Stabilization requires muscles to mobilize together to help you maintain balance and improve communication skills. between the brain and body and recruit muscles responsible for stabilization – for example the rotator cuffs are responsible for your shoulders and deeper core muscles.
15-minute hip plank exercise to try at home
Next time you want to try a hip plank as part of your core workout, here’s a quick 15-minute core workout for your obliques.
15 minute hip plank exercise
Complete each exercise in the form of 45 seconds rest and 15 seconds rest, performing 4-5 rounds.
Switch sides within your half-time or each set. Expect your waistline to shine during this short core burn, while keeping your abs tight and back straight.
For an easier option when doing a side plank, place your top foot on the ground or add a hip dip to the exercise to further challenge your core. You can hold a weight at your hips — we like to use adjustable dumbbells the best — or start with your body weight if you’re a beginner.
During any plank exercise, your shoulders should overlap your wrists and your hips should be in line with your shoulders without curling up or falling toward the floor. But regardless of your fitness level, always consult your doctor if you’re starting a new exercise program or returning from an injury, and stop if you feel pain.
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