If you hear “ab workout” and think crunches, you’re not alone. The popular move is an effective exercise for your core, but it really only targets your rectus abdominis, aka your front abs. An even better way to tone not only your entire core but fire up your whole body is to focus on your obliques and try side plank dips.
Josh Vela, Daily Burn trainer and Fitness Producer, says, “We need to work not only our abdominal muscles, but our obliques. These side muscles help to support our spine, and strengthening them can help prevent movement-related injury.”
Most core workouts focus on working towards “six pack abs,” but it’s just as important to condition the side body. “We often forget to condition our side body because the plane of motion – ‘frontal’ – is not as common as the front to back, or ‘sagittal,’ movements we do throughout the day,” explains Vela.
Check out his tips for mastering one simple move that has total-body impact.
What Are Side Plank Dips?
A side plank dip is a total body exercise that focuses primarily on the core musculature, and specifically the side body. From a side plank position, you raise and lower your hips with control. When done correctly, Vela says, your focus is on the obliques, but all of the abdominal muscles, glutes, and even lats and rotator cuff muscles get in on the work.
How to Master a Side Plank Dip?
- Lie on your side with your feet stacked on top of each other, or stagger your feet by placing your top leg in front of the bottom leg for additional support.
- Position your elbow directly underneath your shoulder (setting your elbow out further can cause unnecessary tension in the rotator cuff.)
- Press down into your bottom leg to float your hips up into your side plank.
- Continue to lower and lift your hips with control. Maintain downward pressure in your bottom leg to keep the glutes active, and think of pulling your elbow inward (without actually moving it) as you lift your hips to create more activity under the arm and into the lats.
How Many Reps Should You Do, and How Often?
Vela suggests setting a timer for a minute, and doing as many reps as possible while maintaining proper form. Slow and controlled is the best way to do a side plank dip, and they can be done daily.
Add this move to your daily routine and in just one minute, you’ll work your entire body. Try it after a Daily Burn 365 workout for a power finisher!
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GIF by Josh Vela / Daily Burn. Cover image via Shutterstock