Move of the Week: Kettlebell Side Plank

We’ve braved another snow storm this winter season. Here’s Move of the Week as a reward for that!

THE MOVE: Kettlebell Side Plank

MOVEMENT PATTERN AND MUSCLES WORKED: Core stability: abs and obliques.

WHY DO IT: As we’ve seen in Jeff’s Ab Wheel Roll-out progression on AskMen, the front plank (with your torso facing the floor) is a foundational exercise for core stability. It’s the basis of all the roll-out variations that follow.

Planks are perhaps the most direct way to build the integrity of your torso. The front plank teaches trainees to resist extension, an absolute necessity to performing ab wheel roll-outs correctly. The side plank exists in the same class as its front plank cousin, teaching trainees to resist lateral extension and flexion of the torso.

As seen in the video above, I must resist lateral extension on my right side and lateral flexion on my left side to maintain body alignment. This relationship is reversed if I was working the other side.

There are obvious ways to work in the side plank: you can either hold it for time, or breathe hard for reps. I like the second option because proper diaphragmatic breathing involves more core engagement to supplement the plank as is. When the side plank gets too easy though, one effective way to progress them is by loading up with the kettlebell.

This also adds an element of shoulder stability as well, akin to the various types of loaded carries you can do as part of you workouts. All in all, the kettlebell side plank is a great way to work both core and shoulder stability, with a little bit (or a lot) of additional load.

HOW TO DO IT: Today’s move is pretty straightfoward. Set up in a side-lying position while holding the kettlebell with your free hand. Pop up by pushing away from the floor through the elbow and press the kettlebell upwards by fully extending that free arm. Squeeze your glutes and think about maintaining a straight line from the head down to the feet, and also through the mid-line of your body. Hold this for time, or for breathing reps. Make sure not to lose the plank position throughout the set.

For the Kettlebell Side Plank, I’d recommend 2-3 sets of 8-10 breaths/side, either as a secondary exercise to a bog lift, or at the end of a workout. I like that you can progress today’s move by simply loading up with a heavier kettlebell. Let us know what you think on Twitter or Instagram @halevylife !

by Jeremy Lau

Jeremy Lau

Jeremy Lau Halevy Life Staff CoachJeremy Lau is a Senior Staff Coach at Halevy Life.

Jeremy graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BSc. in Biomedical Engineering and received his Master’s in Exercise Physiology at Columbia University. In addition to his academic accolades, Jeremy is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).

Prior to joining the team at Halevy Life, Jeremy completed a coaching internship at Cressey Sports Performance, where he coached both amateur and professional athletes, among whom were many professional MLB baseball players.

As an athlete, Jeremy has played baseball competitively for most of his life.