Need A Full-Body Move To Get Your Blood Pumping? Enter Side Plank Crunches

mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant By Sarah Regan
mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant

Sarah Regan is a writer, registered yoga instructor, and Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

How to do a side plank crunch

We're always looking for new exercises to practice any time, anywhere. Side planks are a killer move to work core, and when you add a crunch to the mix, you get additional oblique-toning action.

Side plank crunches lengthen, strengthen, and tone your whole body—and they're sure to get your heart pumping in no time. Here, certified personal trainer Katie Dunlop demonstrates how to do them correctly, plus why they're so effective.

How to do side plank crunches. 

Side Plank Crunches with Resistance Band

Image by Katie Dunlop

  1. Begin in a side forearm plank with shoulders stacked over the elbow. (For a bonus challenge, you can place a resistance band around your thighs just above the knees, as pictured.)
  2. Inhale, actively extending your top arm up past your head, bicep by the ear. Keep legs and core active, extending through the feet and lifting the hips up. Keep hips and shoulders vertically stacked.
  3. On an exhale, contract your core and drive your upper knee toward your chest as you pull your elbow to meet the knee in the middle.
  4. On your inhale, come back to side plank with your arm extended. That's one rep.
  5. Complete 10 reps on each side.

Tips to remember.

It's easy to let your hips sink toward the floor, so focus on lifting that bottom hip up, keeping your plank straight and aligned.

When you come back to center, keep a slight tuck in your tailbone. This will support your hips and lower back, plus add a little extra glute action.

Remember to flow with your breath: Exhaling on the crunch will allow for more contraction; inhaling when extending will allow for more lengthening.

Benefits of side plank crunches.

As Dunlop explains to mbg, combining these two moves makes one good workout. "Side plank crunches are far more effective than just a regular crunch or simply holding a side plank," she says.

"You'll work more muscles like your transverse abdominis, external abs, internal obliques, as well as your glutes, getting more bang for your buck." Not to mention, that bottom arm and shoulder holding the plank will also start to feel the burn. And the more you actively engage the top arm, the more your triceps will feel it, too.

Side planks and crunches are solid standbys in the fitness world, and they're even more effective when you combine the two. So, grab your resistance band and give 'em a try next time you need a quick full-body workout.

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