Bench Exercises: Side Plank Twist

The bench exercise called the Side Plank Twist is not commonly heard of. Even those unfamiliar with the exercise world know what a weight bench is, though. Bench exercises are mostly defined by an exercise that’s occurring while your back and legs are in alignment and straight as though you’re lying on a park bench. When your body is in this controlled position, many different exercises can surface from this point and muscle groups can be focused on. The side plank twist is one of them. This exercise is fun, focuses on several muscle groups at once and can be effectively performed several ways depending on what you enjoy the most.

Muscle Groups

Very often the best exercises focus on one muscle group, but time doesn’t allow you to exercise your whole body using this method. The side plank twist allows you to work multiple muscle groups. The muscle groups targeted are your external obliques (abs on the outside of the stomach), deltoids (shoulders), gluteus maximus (bottom), quadriceps (thighs), triceps (back of the arm) and forearms.

Step 1: Beginning Position

First lay on the ground on your side. Using the arm closest to the ground, push yourself up with your elbow, forearm and hand still resting on the ground. Your elbow needs to be directly beneath your shoulder, and your arm on the ground needs to be perpendicular to your body.

Step 2: Lift

Now push yourself up to make your body a straight line and hold this position. You’re now in side plank position. Your feet, waist and shoulders are all lined up with each other and your elbow is now directly below your shoulder.

Step 3:  Twist

Lift your outside arm toward the ceiling. Take your arm and reach under your body by twisting your torso (stomach, chest and above). Touch your back and hold it for one second. This turns your upper torso a full 90 degrees. Rotate back out to the original position with your hand in the air. Inhale when you rotate out, and exhale when you rotate in. Repeat the exercise on your alternate side.

Step 4: Repetition

The number of repetitions is entirely up to you. This depends on your overall routine, your time and your muscle focus. Repeat this exercise anywhere from six to ten times starting out for one set. Beginners should do three sets.

Preventing Injury 

Injuries occur when you overexert your body and muscles to the point of exhaustion. When this happens you can no longer effectively maintain and control the correct form. If you’re too tired to hold your body straight or hold your balance in the air, you should stop. As with any exercise routine, if you’re just starting out, you should talk with your doctor first.

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