Tip: The Hardstyle Side Plank

Get better at bracing, get better at lifting. Think of this as the RKC version of the side plank.

You're probably familiar with the hardstyle or RKC plank, its benefits, and how those benefits transfer to heavy lifting. As a reminder, the RKC plank is a full-body contraction that lasts only around 10 seconds. Everything is braced – glutes, quads, every muscle. If you aren't shaking at the end of 10 seconds, you're doing it wrong.

The idea is to not only maintain the position but to create as much tension as possible in your core for a short period of time, thus making it transfer to a heavy compound lift.

Likewise, the side plank is the window to your soul and your alignment. Generally, if you have a solid posture, regular practice of side planks can stop a lot of imbalances of the shoulders and hips. Adding this same bracing principle to your side plank will help you to "prime" your nervous system for heavy lifting.

Here's How to Do It

  1. Make yourself as long as possible, lying on one side with your legs straight.
  2. Have your elbow on the floor in line with your shoulder.
  3. Lift yourself up until your spine is in a neutral position, no sagging hips, but don't lift them too high either.
  4. Maintain this position but actively try to pull your elbow towards your feet and vice versa.
  5. Hold for 10-15 seconds and focus on your breathing while maintaining a good braced midsection.
  6. Repeat on the other side.
Tom Morrison is a British weightlifting coach, martial artist, and CrossFit trainer and competitor. Tom works with athletes on prerequisite movement capabilities for optimal strength, performance, and reduced risk of injury.  Follow Tom Morrison on Facebook