Copenhagen Side Planks: How To, Alternatives,…

Photo of author
Last Updated On

Sometimes you can change the focus of an exercise with a few changes. Discover how to do Copenhagen side planks and what they work.

Copenhagen side planks are a side plank variation where you support your body weight with your upper leg which is placed on an elevated surface.

By doing this you shift the focus from obliques and outer thighs, like with regular side planks, to inner thighs (hip adductors) and to some extent obliques.

One thing to note is that Copenhagen side planks are an isometric (static) exercise. More dynamic hip adductor exercises tend to be more effective.

Additionally, some people will find the full Copenhagen side plank too hard. If you are more of an inner thigh training beginner you may want to lean with your knee on the elevated object.

That being said, Copenhagen side planks can still offer muscle growth, endurance, and strength increases if you do them long enough.

How to do a Copenhagen side plank

To be able to do a Copenhagen side plank you need a sturdy elevated object. Even something like a stable chair can work but a weight bench would likely be more comfortable.

Additionally, something soft to put below your forearm can be more comfortable.

With these things in mind, take the following steps to do a Copenhagen side plank:

  1. Sit sideways on the ground in front of the elevated object. Lean on one of your lower arms with the upper arm of that arm vertical and your shoulder above your forearm.
  2. Put your upper foot/leg on the elevated object.
  3. Move up your hips in a controlled motion until your body is in a straight line from the ankle of your upper foot to your shoulders.
  4. Slowly return your body to the position of step 2.
  5. Repeat the same duration while leaning on your other arm.
How to do a Copenhagen side plank

While you do want to keep the technique points in mind, Copenhagen side planks are a relatively straightforward exercise in terms of technique.

The main challenge is the exercise itself.

It is possible that inner thigh training beginners need to start with a Copenhagen side plank progression where you lean with your thigh on the object.

Besides that, make sure you work each side to about the same extent to avoid muscle imbalances.

Copenhagen side planks muscles worked

The main muscles worked in Copenhagen side planks are your hip adductors (inner thigh muscles) and to some extent your obliques.

Your ab, shoulder, trapezius, and chest muscles have to work to a certain extent to keep your body balanced and in a straight line.

Because the inner thigh muscles are relatively weak and because the exercise puts a lot of pressure on them, Copenhagen planks tend to be hard.

This can be a good thing in the sense that many people don’t need a lot of equipment to get to the recommended planks sets and reps for muscle growth and other fitness goals.

On the other hand, you still need to be able to get to these ranges. This could mean doing the easier Copenhagen side plank variation mentioned.

If you do have really strong hip adductors, you could also make them harder by holding weights like a medicine ball, sandbag, dumbbell, etc. on your hip.

One thing to note is that Copenhagen side planks work your muscles in an isometric (aka static) way. This tends to be less effective than more dynamic movements for the same muscles.

Copenhagen side planks benefits

While they are not always the number one option in terms of effectiveness, Copenhagen side planks can still offer nice benefits. A few examples include:

  1. Stronger muscles: Doing Copenhagen side planks for the right durations can help you grow and strengthen muscles.
  2. Helps you avoid muscle asymmetries: By working the muscles on one side at a time, you could find it easier to keep your muscle strength balanced with Copenhagen side planks.
  3. Can help you avoid injuries: Strengthening your hip adductors can help you avoid injuries in this area.
  4. Better balance: Copenhagen side planks can challenge your balance to a small extent. This could benefit your skill in this area.
  5. Could improve athletic performance: Having strong hip adductors can help you improve athletic performance in certain movements and sports.

If these benefits align with your training goals, you can consider implementing Copenhagen side planks or one of its alternatives to your routine.

Copenhagen side plank alternatives

You may also wonder how you can work the muscles involved in Copenhagen side planks in more dynamic ways. Some of the Copenhagen side plank alternatives include:

  • Lying leg adductions
  • Side bends
  • Standing leg adductions (with resistance bands or cable machine)
  • Ab wheel V roll-outs
  • Side planks

Whether you are interested in working your inner thigh muscles or obliques will play a big role in what Copenhagen side plank alternatives you prefer.

Are Copenhagen side planks a good exercise?

Copenhagen side planks can be a good exercise to work your hip adductors (inner thigh muscles) and to some extent your obliques.

Keep in mind that you still want to implement the repetition duration and set ranges that align with your goals.

This could mean starting with the easier variation where you lean with your thigh on the elevated object instead.

That being said, it is also worth mentioning that Copenhagen side planks are an isometric (static) exercise. More dynamic exercises tend to be better for things like muscle growth and strength progress.

Isometric exercises can often be good in terms of comfort but it is hard to really call the Copenhagen side plank a comfortable exercise.

In simpler words, you can see nice results from Copenhagen side planks but if you don’t have a specific preference for this exercise you likely want to go for more effective alternatives.

Photo of author


Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.