account My cart 0
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

WAY More Than A Side Plank

sandbag fitness program

It can be difficult to help people see the FULL value of ideas over exercises and muscles. For example, the majority of people would probably easily say that a side plank is a very useful and effective core exercise. However, the side plank is only one of many versions and levels of a MUCH bigger concept of lateral stability.

ultimate sandbag exercises

Not the “sexiest” topic or one that is going to even be a part of most blog or social media posts, but lateral stability and strength is probably one of the biggest keys in getting stronger and building injury resilience. That is due to the fact that a MAJOR part of our body’s efforts is devoted to resisting lateral motion. However, if we didn’t have that built in our our bodies, we would develop major knee, low back, and even shoulder/neck issues.

Having a model walk is a good example of how not having the right lateral stability would make us move very awkwardly, inefficiently, and end up having many problems. 

It is THIS reason that experts like Dr. Stuart McGill prioritize a side plank even to a front plank. The lateral strength/stability we gain has a positive transfer to almost everything including sagittal plane dominant exercises like squats, deadlifts, presses, etc. That is because if we have energy leaks in our movement even exercises that don’t LOOK like they have any frontal plane strength to them actually suffer.

“When you consider performance enhancement, the hips are the centre of power production. But for hips to create power, the torso needs to be stiffened. Take for example a rugby player making a cut planting one leg in order to change directions. If the player’s hip on his/her non-supporting leg (the non-planting leg) drops, there will be a loss of energy which has “leaked” out due to the lack of torso stiffness created.

To stop this energy leak from occurring, one must consider training muscles like quadratus lumborum, latusimus dorsi and the full erector spinae.

These muscles together work to create this stiffness and permit the hips to generate more power. If you can fixate the core, it will unleash the power in the hips to optimize performance.This mechanism also can help protect the back. If the spine is stiffened in a neutral position, the most resilient position for the spine, it will be able to withstand much more loading than when in a deviated posture.”-Dr. McGill

That’s why in DVRT we use a lot of not only side plank training like you see below (where we actually get MORE out of the side plank by recruiting the lats into the movement), but half kneeling positions that train lateral stability as well!

Physical therapist, Jessica Bento, shows how we made side plank training better!

Jessica highlights how overlooked many half kneeling exercises can be in building lateral strength /stability

While these are all important foundations, the truth is that it shouldn’t all of a sudden just stop here! The idea of lateral strength and stability should keep progressing to our higher level strength and power training as Mitchell Cook highlights below. Not only does this really help us developing functional strength and resilience, but incorporates SO many more muscles than we would normally see in such movements.

If lateral strength is THAT important how come MOST people don’t really incorporate it heavily into their training? Well, because for one, most people still look at isolated muscles in their training. You can see from the image below that really isn’t possible with lateral strength and the muscles we use aren’t necessarily your household name ones like pecs, quads, etc.

However, you can see some “big boys” like the obliques, lats, and glutes play a big part in lateral stability. That is why we want and need to keep progressing such training as Larisa Lotz shows below. The point is there is a MUCH bigger world and opportunity available with understanding the value of lateral strength training.

Don’t miss our 25% off sale with code “winter” HERE on Ultimate Sandbags/Water Bags, Online Fitness Education, & Workouts!