February 4

Side Plank for Beginners


Do you struggle with side plank?

If you do, you are NOT alone.

There’s a reason it’s become the “unofficial” exercise of The Balanced Life Sisterhood and why we see so many side plank photos from members sharing their excitement when they finally reach their goal of doing a full side plank!

Side plank is a challenging exercise that requires your whole body and a lot of strength – which is why you’ll find it in many of my workouts. It’s so efficient!

It’s an exercise that many people who are new to Pilates struggle with in the beginning and work towards building up to – so be patient with yourself, trust the process, and you will get stronger the more you do it.

Also, remember that modifying is NOT CHEATING. Modifying is a way of working with your body where it’s at and building strength.

To be honest, there are days I modify as well – and I’m definitely not a Pilates beginner. So no guilt if you aren’t a beginner and choose to modify when doing side plank. It’s an amazing exercise in every progression and sometimes it’s good to go back to the basics!

So let’s dive in…

How to do a side plank

To get started, prop yourself up on your forearm, making sure your shoulder is right over your elbow. You want to create a base of support for your shoulder so be careful to not draw your arm in too close. Then lift your rib cage away from your mat to lengthen and align your spine.

how to do a side plank

To take it to the next level, straightening your top leg, but keeping your bottom leg bent for support. In both positions you’ll get great work for your full body, with an extra focus on the core!

side plank for beginners

Once you feel strong in this position, the next step is to take both legs up and into a full side plank! Continue to keep your shoulder stacked right over your elbow, lifting from the underside of your body, and pushing down into your bottom leg to keep your legs active and strong!

pilates side plank

Feeling really strong and ready for more? For an extra challenge, take that top left and LIFT!

pilates side plank how to

The side plank is a true full body exercise, you’ll work your entire body just by holding it for 10 seconds – no matter which level you are at!

Remember, wherever you are in your Pilates journey and which ever version of side plank you choose today, you’re right where you need to be.

Be patient with yourself, remember to breathe, modify when you need to (some days you’re going to feel stronger than others and that’s totally normal), and trust the process.

And if you have any questions about the side plank, leave them for me below!


PS – Looking for more Pilates modifications and progressions? Check out my Pilates exercise breakdowns for more details on popular Pilates exercises!

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