The beginner side plank is a great exercise to tone muscles and help lose weight. This exercise will not only make you look better, but will help you feel better, too. Be sure to follow some basic guidelines in order to achieve optimal results. Once the basic side plank leg raise becomes too easy, kick it up a notch by adding some "flutter kicks."
About the Side Plank Leg Raise
Before actually discussing the side plank leg raise, it it important to understand what muscle groups are worked. This exercise helps to strengthen the muscles in the hips, lower back, glutes and oblique muscles. Strengthening these muscles will not only help to tone and define these areas, but also helps to give stability to the core, which is important for preventing back pain, maintaining good posture and promoting overall good health.
Get into Position
Start by laying a towel or yoga mat on a flat surface. Get onto the floor, and roll onto your right side. Rest your right elbow firmly on the mat or towel, with your forearm resting on the ground. Make sure your right knee is also resting on the ground, with the lower leg extending at a right angle away from your body. Finally, extend your left leg on the ground. You should now be resting completely on your right side, in a straight line from your left foot up to your head with your left foot, right knee, and right elbow planted firmly on the ground.
Perform the Side Plank Leg Raise
Take a few deep breaths, and close your eyes if this makes your feel more comfortable. As you exhale, slowly lift the left leg off the ground until it is at the same height as your hip. Hold your leg here for a count of ten. Carefully lower the leg back to the ground. Repeat this process two more times, taking a short break between each repetition. Once you have performed three sets of ten second intervals, roll onto your left side and perform the exercise with the opposite leg.
Intensify the Exercise
There are a number of ways to make this exercise more difficult. The simplest way is to add leg kicks instead of performing a simple leg raise. Position your body is the same manner as described above. Raise your leg so that it is at hip height. This time, instead of simply holding the leg here for a count of ten seconds, do a "flutter kick," lowering your leg almost to the ground and then lifting it back up to hip height again. Do this for about thirty seconds, or until your leg fatigues. Roll onto your other side, and perform the same exercise with the opposite leg.