Video Demonstration

Use the Side Plank Crunch to challenge your abdominals, increase your balance and strengthen and tone your core.

This lift gets classified as a calisthenics, pilates, and yoga training method.

You should be able to hold a side plank for at least 30 seconds before trying to do this plank variation.

Read on for instructions on how to do this exercise. Its difficulty level, the equipment you will need, and the different muscles that get worked.

The article will also cover the benefits of including it into your training routine, and some training tips to make sure you are not making some of the errors commonly done with this lift.

Side Plank Crunches How to Guide

Image Example

Woman showing how to do the Side Plank Crunch exercise

Side Plank Crunch Image source

Step by Step Description

Step 1: Lie down on the floor on your side. Stack your feet on top of one another. Place either your elbow or palm on the floor directly under your shoulder.

Step 2: Lift your waist and use your arm touching the floor to prop your body up. Make your body form a straight horizontal line from your head to your ankles. Put your other hand behind your head.

You are now in the starting position.

Step 3: Bring your top leg upwards toward your shoulder and bend it at the knee. Keep moving your leg until your knee lightly taps the elbow of your arm NOT on the ground.

Step 4: Return your leg back to the starting position to complete one repetition. Repeat for the desired number of reps. Switch your body, so you are laying on the opposite side and repeat all of the steps outlined.

Difficulty Level

This lift gets rated at an early intermediate difficulty level. You should have a solid technique with the traditional side plank before moving to this lift.

You can increase the difficulty and balance required by placing your palm on the floor with your arm fully extended.

Putting your palm on the floor instead of using the elbow will make your muscles work harder to stabilize your body. It also requires your arm to support a higher percentage of your bodyweight.

Equipment Required

Since this is a calisthenic form of training the only thing you need to perform it is your body.

You can also use weighted cuffs around your ankles or a weighted vest to make this lift more challenging.

Muscles Worked

The primary muscle group worked by this lift is your Oblique muscles. The Obliques are the muscles that run along the sides of your core.

The secondary muscles worked when you perform this movement are your Upper Abs, Lower Abs, Transverse Abdominis, Glutes, and your Shoulders and Triceps.

Side Plank Crunch Benefits

When you perform this lift, you will have to balance your body with one arm. Using one arm makes it excellent for strengthening your shoulders, wrists, and arms.

Using this lift will increase your athletic ability in any sport that requires rotation at the waist.

If you have a weak core, many other lifts like squatting and deadlift will suffer. You may find that by strengthening it, you can move more weight on many other lifts.

Training Tips

Keep your entire body tight and form a straight line from your head to the feet. Do not let your hips sag. If your hips sag, the lift will provide a very small amount of core activation.

Tighten/engage your core like you are bracing your stomach to get punched.

Have your palm or elbow placed directly in line with the shoulder.

If your arm is not in line with the shoulder, it will cause additional force will be exerted on your shoulder increasing the chances of a shoulder injury.

Do not lock out at your elbow or the knee of your supporting leg.


Building a strong core is critical to help prevent injuries and can even contribute to reducing back pain.

Use the Side Plank Crunch to increase the strength of your obliques while trimming and sculpting your waistline.

Since you do not need any equipment, it is a useful exercise to know on days when you cannot get to the gym. As long as you have enough room to lie down, you will be able to use this lift.

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