Side Plank Lat Row - CORE
How to Do the Side Plank Row - Oblique Core Exercise | In-Depth Guide [VISUAL LEARNERS] Advanced
Proper Form, Common Mistakes, & Harder Variations | Home Resistance Training
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE?
MUSCLES THIS WORKS
MAIN MUSCLES WORKED IN the Side Plank Lat Row
LOTS OF CORE MUSCLES - SEE BELOW
obliques, quadratus lumborum, multifidi, transverse abdominis, latissimus dorsi, erector spinae.
OTHER MUSCLES WORKED:
- Mid and lower traps
- Rectus abdominis
- Pelvic floor
WHAT WE'RE DOING TODAY
ALL WE'RE DOING:
Doing a lat row while in a side plank position.
This is an advanced side plank variation that is very effective for building upper body strength and stability, improving posture, and developing a strong core. Make sure that you have mastered the forearm side plank position before moving on to this version.
This movement combines a forearm side plank with a banded arm row. The addition of a row will enhance the benefits of the exercise by adding resisted (by the band) rotational movement, this will challenge the obliques even more. This is also a good exercise for working the muscles that pull the scapula back which is great for posture. The added resistance and arm movement will make it much more difficult to hold the body balanced and stable. This variation is done in a forearm-side plank position with the knees on the floor. Once you have the form correct you can either straighten the legs, the bottom arm, or both to make the exercise more challenging.
Band anchor position: Since this is primarily a core movement, it is nice to anchor the band so that the latissimus dorsi will be participating more. The lats help to stabilize the low back. The movement of the arm should be pulling the band down to be in line or slightly behind the torso. There is a lot of variability in the exact position of the anchor. But, it should be right in line with the shoulder, or even higher - up towards the head. And, it should be at least shoulder level - from the floor, when you are in your plank position. It can be higher but not lower.
HOW TO DO THE EXERCISE
HOW Side Plank Lat Rows SHAPE OUR BODY
Trim waist, upright posture, strong, graceful movement.
PROPER FORM: Side Plank Lat Row
EQUIPMENT, SETS & REPS
Main set (3: Light/Med/Heavy):
X-Heavy Band (I recommend getting this too if you plan to use resistance bands frequently).
SUGGESTED STARTING WEIGHT FOR WOMEN:
Light resistance band.
SETS & REPS:
1 set of 8 - 10 rows
BODY POSITION FOR THE Side Plank Lat Row
BAND: Anchor in front of you when lying on your side on the mat. The band should be level and in line with the top of your shoulder (when you are lying on your side. This is in line two ways - the height of your shoulder - or even higher is fine, and a straight line in front of your shoulder - or higher up towards your head is fine, but preferably not lower.
BODY POSITION: Lie on your side, knees bent. Sternum lifted, shoulder blades in and down the back. Lift the side of your waist up so both sides are equal (hips are still on the floor). Your shoulders should be stacked one on top of the other, your hips should be stacked one on top of the other - hips and shoulders squared.
LEGS: Feet and knees together. Knees will be in front of your body - hips bent forward - your thighs about halfway from being perpendicular (like a lap) and straight down in line with your hips.
ARM/HAND: Lying on your side, prop up on your bottom elbow so that your elbow is right under your shoulder joint. Your elbow should be bent to a comfortable angle and your forearm and palm resting on the floor for support. Top arm (working arm): hold your arm out to the front with your hand in line with your shoulder, elbow straight. Your top hand should hold the band with a neutral grip (palm down) the band should be taut in the starting position.
NECK: Neutral and relaxed, looking straight ahead. In line with the rest of the spine.
GETTING INTO PLANK: Push down into your bottom elbow and push your pelvis forward and up off the floor until you are in a straight line. You should be able to draw a line down the front of your body bisecting your head and torso. You should be able to draw a line down the side of your body through your earlobe, torso, hip, and down to your knees.
HOW TO DO
HOW TO DO Side Plank Lat Rows
CUE: Your movement should be controlled and the focus is on keeping your torso still.
Actively pull the shoulder blade of your top arm down and in towards your spine.
Pull your upper arm back, leading with your elbow. Allowing your elbow to bend.
Your upper arm will move back in line or slightly behind your torso, your elbow will be behind your torso. Pause.
Slowly return to the starting position.
Begin the next rep.
HOW TO SAFELY GET OUT OF THE EXERCISE
Release the band. Lower your hips down to the floor, and press up to sit.
WHAT TO AVOID WITH THE Side Plank Lat Row
Guess what? Good news! Many avoids are the same for most movements. Once you learn the basics, there's really only a few extra avoids for each individual movement.
1. Avoid midsection sag
AVOID: Letting the pelvis or midsection sag.
- This can pull your low back out of the neutral position and can lead to injury or muscle strain.
WHAT TO DO:
- The sides of the waist should be equal.
- Activate the hip abductors of the bottom leg to push the pelvis to a level position.
2. Avoid dropping into shoulder
AVOID: Dropping into the shoulder or letting the shoulder rise up towards the earlobe.
- Stresses the shoulder joints, increases the lumbar curve.
WHAT TO DO:
- Keep the shoulders back and sternum lifted and the shoulder blade depressed.
- Press down into the floor with the support hand.
- Lengthen the spine (includes neck) and energize the arm that is reaching out.
- This will activate the muscles of the core.
3. Avoid lifting hips
AVOID: Lifting the hips up into the air too high.
- This means you are side-bending the spine.
- It will decrease the activity of the obliques and quadratus lumborum.
WHAT TO DO:
- The goal is to work the muscles in a neutral spine position.
4. Avoid hip shoulder rotation
AVOID: Letting your hips or shoulders rotate/ lean forward or backward.
- This means that your spine is rotating.
- This defeats the purpose of the exercise.
- The goal of the exercise is to activate the muscles of the torso to train the muscles to hold the spine in a neutral position.
5. Avoid bent hips
AVOID: Bending at the hips.
- This is a common cheat that will make the exercise much easier.
- This happens when you use your hip flexors to hold you up.
- This defeats the purpose of the exercise - using the hip flexors instead of the core muscles.
WHAT TO DO:
- Keep a straight line from earlobe to feet - it is helpful to use a mirror, or take a video to look at your form.
6. Avoid elbow not under shoulder
AVOID: Elbow not under shoulder.
- Poor alignment can be stressful on the wrists, elbows and shoulders.
WHAT TO DO:
- Make sure that your elbows are directly below your shoulders.
MAKE IT HARDER
MAKING THE Side Plank Lat Row MORE CHALLENGING
Straight Staggered Legs
Straighten your legs. Push up into a side plank position - stacked feet and bottom elbow will be on the floor. Keep the spine aligned and stable. This is a less stable position. The muscles of the torso will need to work harder to maintain a stable and neutral spine.
- Stagger the feet on the floor (one in front of the other) to make the position more stable.
Straight Arms & Bent Legs
Straight Arms & Bent Legs
Straighten the bottom arm and push down into the palm of the bottom hand - this will decrease stability and the core and shoulder muscles will need to work harder. The hand and shoulders should be in line to avoid straining the shoulder joint.
Straight Arms & Straight Legs
Straight Arms & Straight Staggered Legs
Straighten the legs. Stagger the feet on the floor (one in front of the other) to make the position more stable. Push up into a side plank position. Keep the spine aligned and stable. Straighten the bottom arm and push down into the palm of the bottom hand - this will decrease stability and the core and shoulder muscles will need to work harder. The hand and shoulders should be in line to avoid straining the shoulder joint.
WHAT WE'RE DOING TODAY
WHAT & WHY
BENEFITS OF TRAINING THE core MUSCLE
The side plank position is a very effective position for training the core, lats, and pelvic and hip muscles. This exercise is done lying down on your side, just using gravity to work your muscles.
The spine is positioned in neutral - no side bending or flexing of the spine. Then the hips are lifted up off of the floor. I’m going to show you a way to get into a position that I’ve learned from the Physical Therapist Tim Keeley think is a little more effective at helping us be in the right position during the exercise than what I commonly see taught online.
GETTING INTO POSITION BY MOVING FORWARD, NOT UP
This is going to seem counterintuitive because we know that a plank involves our body rising vertically in the air. The regular way most of us were taught to get into position for a plank involves bending at our sides to hoist ourselves vertically up into position.
But after seeing some really good info from physical therapists, the best way to get into position is actually to start in a tipped-over bottom-of-the-squat type position & push our hips FORWARD, rather than up. This will still get us into the right place we need to be but with a higher likelihood that our body parts are in a good position to work the correct muscles.
The best way to get into the side plank position is to start with the knees in front of the torso. Using the gluteus maximus, the hips are pushed forward, like a side-lying bridge (or even like the movement at the hips when you come up from a squat or hip thrust), to straighten the front of the hips and lift your pelvis up off of the floor. So rather than thinking of lifting up vertically, which is what I think we’d all naturally do, we’re actually moving our hips forward.
It is easier to keep your spine in a neutral position when you get into a side plank this way and it ensures that you are using your gluteal muscles to hold the position (not your hip flexors). From Carol: Most people lie on their sides with their hips in a flexed position, then push up into the side plank, they keep their hips in flexion instead of neutral. And if they realize their hips are flexed once in the plank, it is very hard to adjust to correct.
Doing the side plank on the forearm and from the knees is the basic version. Once you are able to hold the position nice and steady for at least 20 seconds, the exercise can be progressed to increase the challenge. There are many different variations you can try once you have mastered the side plank. Extending the legs out, and using a straight arm instead of the forearm will make the exercise quite a bit more challenging. Many leg lift exercises and arm movements can be done in this position.
WHY BOTHER DOING IT?
WHY DO WE EVEN CARE?
HEALTHIER WAY TO WORK THE SIDES OF OUR CORE
The side planks are good for working the muscles on the side of the torso, the obliques, and the quadratus lumborum. Many people think that you have to do exercises that involve twisting the trunk back and forth, like Russian Twists, to target these muscles. The problem with those exercises is that they could make the lower back unstable instead of strengthening the muscles to make it more stable. Rotating one section of the spine over and over again can stretch out the supporting structures, and over time cause too much motion in that section of the spine. This excessive motion can result in damage to the joints, nerves, and ligaments.
The safest way to work the core muscles is to
1. hold the spine in neutral
2. against an outside force trying to pull the spine out of neutral.
That could be a band pulling at your, or in this case, the outside force is gravity.
When you lie on your side and suspend your midsection above the floor, gravity will be pulling it down. The obliques and quadratus lumborum along with all of the other muscles of the core will have to work to hold the spine in neutral.
The greater the distance between the two anchor points of the body, the greater the force pulling down. For the side plank - the easiest position would be the knees anchored on one end and the forearm on the other end. Extending the legs out would lengthen the distance between the two anchor points and the muscles would have to work harder.
TRAINS SPINAL STABILITY WHICH = A FEELING OF A STRONG CORE
Core “strengthening” is more about training the muscles on how and when to respond as opposed to growing muscle. Many people that injure their backs have strong back and abdominal muscles with a well-formed 6-pack appearance, but ironically, they have poor spinal stability. What exactly is spinal stability? It is basically using the muscles to stiffen the spine to prevent the spine from moving under a load. If you want to be able to lift, pull, push or carry something, first the spine has to be “stiffened”. Imagine trying to use a shovel with a flexible handle. You would not be able to pick much up with it. That is the same idea as the spine. The spine is flexible to allow movement but if you want to pick something up the muscles need to support and stiffen the spine. In order to do this, the muscles work together in coordination, like a well-orchestrated symphony - each muscle is trained to do its job, knowing exactly when to contract, how much to contract and when to relax. When the core muscles work correctly - it is like wearing one of those back braces you see people wear when they do the heavy lifting. The muscles surround and support the spine, stiffening it up so you can lift more weight without damaging the spine.
LOW COMPRESSION POSITION - GOOD IF YOUR BACK IS FEELING SORE OR TIGHT
One of the benefits of working the core muscles in the side-lying position is that there is less compression of the spine. When you are standing up there is compression on the disks of the spine because gravity is pulling the vertebrae straight down, pulling the vertebrae closer together, and compressing the disks (there is one disk between every two vertebrae). When you lie on your side there is less compression on the discs. The side plank can be very effective for targeting the core muscles while minimizing compression of the spine. This is a nice option if you have been doing a lot of loaded spine exercises or if your back feels sore or tight.
GLUTE MEDIUS BONUS WORK
Another benefit of working the core muscles in this position is that you are activating the muscles on the side of the hip that help support the pelvis at the same time - the gluteus medius. The movement of the pelvis and back are interconnected - the movement of one area will affect the movement of the other. It is important to train the muscles that stabilize the pelvis to work in coordination with the muscles that stabilize the spine.
EVERYDAY LIFE &
HOW WE USE OUR core MUSCLES IN EVERYDAY LIFE
1. ALL OF THE MUSCLES OF THE CORE WORK TOGETHER TO STABILIZE THE SPINE. THE OBLIQUES AND QUADRATUS LUMBORUM ARE PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT FOR HOLDING THE SPINE STABLE DURING:
Rotation of the torso:
- Swinging a golf club or tennis racket
- Loading/unloading the dishwasher
ALLLL MUSCLES & WHEN
ALL MUSCLES WORKING & WHEN DURING THE Side Plank Lat Row
The muscles of the upper back, shoulder blade, and arm will work to hold the body still as it is pushed up into a side plank position.
The knees and arms serve as the two weight-bearing points. In this position, the hips rest on the floor. The latissimus dorsi, serratus, mid and lower traps, and rhomboids pull the shoulder blades in and back to activate the lats to stabilize the low back. In order to lift the hips up, the gluteus max muscles on the side of the body closest to the floor contract concentrically to push up to the side plank position. The external and internal obliques and quadratus lumborum are the most active core stabilizers working as you lift the pelvis up into the side plank position.
The scapular stabilizers of the arm that is on the floor will work to hold the shoulder blade in retraction and depression. The rear
deltoid, teres major, and latissimus along with all of the rotator cuff muscles will hold the body lifted up onto the side and maintain the body’s vertical alignment.
All of the core muscles (internal and external obliques, quadratus lumborum, psoas major, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, multifidi, transverse abdominis) will contribute isometrically to stabilize the torso in the side plank position.
The shoulder blade of the top arm pulls down and back (rhomboids, traps, latissimus dorsi, serratus anterior) and holds the shoulder blade stable. The latissimus dorsi, teres major, and triceps work concentrically to pull the upper arm back into extension.
As the arm returns to the starting position, the latissimus dorsi, triceps, teres major, and muscles of the shoulder blade work eccentrically to control the movement against the pull of the resistance band.
The activity of the obliques will increase when the arm pulls back to stabilize against the rotational force of the band pulling the top arm and side of the torso forward.