In the kingdom of bodybuilding, crunches have a place among the highest of honors when it comes to hardcore exercises. It is undeniably famous for building your abs and your core.
It is also a great cardiovascular exercise and has the reputation to be both hard and simple.
Simple, because the steps are simply doable and you can do it anywhere, but hard because it is difficult to sustain.
Crunches have a way of grinding every piece of belly fat through each torture reps.
Although crunch is a commonly known exercise, it has limited benefits to your body, plus it focuses mainly on your abs workout. So over the years, strategies and several modified techniques of crunches had been made by expert bodybuilders. One of which is the side plank crunch, which will be our awesome subject for today.
So in this article, we are going to know more about the side plank crunch. We will lay down to you the step-by-step process of doing this exercise accurately, plus we will also teach you some awesome alternatives for the side plank crunch and all the other things that you need to know.
If you want to start (or improve) your body building routine, you have just come to the right place!
Today, let’s find out the different techniques on how to achieve the perfect side plank crunch. And we really do encourage you to try and incorporate this exercise to your routine and see first-hand the amazing effects of this exercise. So, let’s get started.
What is a Side plank crunch?
The side plank crunch or the side plank with crunch is a type of exercise that works on your core muscles like your abs and your obliques. This is either a different method of planking or a different method of crunches, or both.
This exercise is not very common already, but a lot of bodybuilders had been realizing the amazing effects this exercise is causing, especially if you want to perform an exercise that works both as a cardio and muscle workout.
We know that the best way to introduce this exercise is to lay down the step by step method of it. So, without further ado, let’s get it on.
Proper guide to side plank crunches
Believe us when we say that this exercise is really simple, this is even good for beginners. For a start, you can do just 2 to 3 reps in one set, especially if you are not used to planking, because this might shock your body.
And as we said, this exercise is really doable. Basically, you can do it anywhere, whether you are at home or you are away travelling, you can always do this because you wouldn’t need any equipment. Some people like to use a yoga mat with this exercise, but that won’t really be necessary. So, now let’s jump into the steps.
Step by Step Process
- First thing you need to do is to lie down on the floor and you place your body on an askew position.
- Put your legs straight. And place them on top of each other (or crossing each other). You really want to even them out.
- Then place your arm flat and straight on the floor. You can either make a fist or just straightly lay down your hands on the floor. So, basically you support yourself on the floor.
- Now that everything is nice and straight, put your other hand at the back of your head. (Although, this step would not be necessary, we suggest that you do this because it’s helpful, which we will explain to you in a little while.)
- And get ready to lift your body up from the ground and after that, let your waist come down or lower, making your body form a little arch
- Putting your other hand at the back of your head just subconsciously makes you want to do more crunch. And you have your crease at the center right.
- So just continue the steps back and forth, crunching up and down.
- We also suggest that you synchronize your breathing with your steps. So you want to breathe in when you lower and breathe out when you pull up.
- After 4 to 5 reps in one set, you may turn to the other side by simply rolling on to the other side.
NOTE: Always maintain a neutral spine throughout the entire exercise. And keep your other hand behind your head when you do the exercise. You are not pulling your neck or your head. But by doing this, you’ll get more stretch.
Elbow or plank position v. hand position
This exercise actually has a lot of variations. You can either plank with your elbows laying your foundation on the floor or you may also use your hand as your support from the floor while you plank.
However, we strongly recommend that you prefer the elbow support or more of the usual and accurate way of planking.
And this is how we think why…
Hand position is quite dangerous because you only have a little to support your body. It may also cause harm to your hand and wrist. By doing the hand position, you are going to have more strength on the hand and put more pressure on your hand and wrist.
However, with the plank position you will need more oblique strengths. So basically, this step is what we call the side plank oblique crunch. The term oblique is actually coined by two reasons; some say that it’s because the exercise is mainly focused on the oblique muscles, while others swear that it’s because the performer in this exercise is more of the oblique position.
What do you think is right?
Crossed legs and feet v. on top of each other
The way your feet and your legs are positioned has honestly nothing to do with your muscle workout. But this is really important when it comes to your balancing.
If it’s your first time to do the exercise, we suggest that you do the crossed position. So that’s the same steps that we taught you, it’s just that your feet is positioned crossed from each other. This way is safer and it gets you more balance and much support from your feet as needed.
But, if you have been doing this exercise for a while, or you want to strengthen your arm muscles more, too, then we suggest that you do the parallel feet way. This way, your body weight is more likely depending on to your arms and shoulders.
Amazing benefits of side plank crunch
It is really important for a bodybuilder or a performer of the exercise to be well-versed of the benefits he could get from the exercise. Because this would serve as your motivation to perform that exercise in the most accurate manner. No matter how difficult and challenging the steps are, you would never want to cheat!
So, today we are going to pick 5 of the many amazing benefits of the side plank crunch exercise that you surely need to know.
Core strength and abs building
A beach-ready body is really worth all the sweat we can get from this exercise. As mentioned, this exercise will tone up your body, pull out your astonishing abs and firm your arm muscles like no other.
However, this exercise is not just abs building, this will also strengthen your core and make it firmer.
Arm strength and arm muscles development
Of course this will also gain you more strength when it comes to your shoulders as it requires you to balance on one arm while you perform the entire exercise.
When you do the other variations, this will also strengthen your wrists, your hands and your elbows. Doing the side plank crunches regularly will give you a J-Lo arms in no time.
Side plank crunch improves your balance
We all agree that the side plank crunch is a no-joke exercise. This is a little challenging when it comes to balancing your body and maintain a steady, perfectly straight position. As you do the exercise, you realize that the sweat keeps on dripping on your forehead and your legs and hips shake as they struggle to maintain the balance.
So, this exercise is not only good for your muscles but it also improves your endurance and your body balance.
It is good for your back pains
If you know someone to have a reoccurring back pains, tell them about this exercise. As you do the steps on this one, you are basically maintaining a good posture for your back. It slowly strengthens it and helps it recover from the abnormalities that it is experiencing.
It improves breathing
We might as well point out that when you do the synchronize breathing along with the steps, then this actually helps improve you breathing patterns and even blood circulation!
Synchronize breathing in hard-core exercises would actually help improve your breathing patterns. Plus, it well strengthen the lungs. So, don’t forget to inhale – exhale while you do it.
5 alternatives that will smack your core like no other
If for some reasons you could not do this exercise or you want to try out different variations for a more fun workout routine, then our job is to make you happy and lay down some alternatives of the side plank crunch exercise.
These exercises don’t have necessarily the same effects, but somehow they have a common strength, sharing almost identical benefits to your body.
Sit ups with twists
We all know for a fact that sit-ups are awesome workout for the abs or for getting rid of ugly belly fats. However, incorporating twist once you land up during the exercise will also target your obliques, or that long forming muscles on your side.
Spiderman plank crunch or simply the spiderman
This exercise is guaranteed almost identical to the side plank crunch. As you crunch alternately on the sides, your oblique muscles develop, too. Thanks for our man, spiderman, this exercise is a true hero!
Not only this exercise gives you nice core and oblique muscles work, this will also develop strength for your arms and shoulders, just like the side plank crunch. And this will also increase you balance and agility, again, just like the side plank crunch.
So, get ready to crawl your way in to a strong and perfect body.
Trunk rotations or planking and trunk rotations
This exercise is also done in a planking position. Not only it is good for your core muscles and obliques, this is also good for your upper body strength.
Also, this exercise is less tricky and very simple. It is very good for beginners as well.
Side plank crunch hips
Although they are the same planks and crunches as the side plank crunch, this exercise is different in a way that the side plank crunch hips is trickier and a little more difficult, with a very slight margin, at least.
This exercise is more of a killer exercise, as this involves more leg movements and it flattens the core more. The side plank crunch hips is not only for the core and obliques but this is also good for toning and shaping your legs and of course it would stretch the agility and strength of your shoulders and arms.
Note, however, that this exercise is really dangerous, in a way. So it is best to follow the exact method of this exercise. It is best to have a trainer or someone like an expert to coach you.
Side plunk crunch hips with barbells
So, this one is basically, like a modified side plank crunch. You simply do the basic steps of the side plunk crunch including the hips and you do the process of up and down with the barbell on your other hand raised up and down as well.
This technique will definitely tone your arms and increase your strength as well.
Few more tips before we say goodbye..
A few Additional Tips
Hopefully this article encourages you to include this workout on your routine. We encourage you to never be afraid, step out of the box, and try something a little harder and something a little bit challenging.
Just be careful not to hurt yourself by sinking all the way down while you do the exercise. Also we want to remind you to never do this exercise with a full stomach. This will not be good for your tummy, plus you might end up vomit all that you have digested.
So, that’s it guys. May you have a blast. And don’t forget to enjoy your workout. Not everybody has a chance to do that!