Modifying more standard exercises can sometimes offer more results. Find out how to do feet elevated side planks and whether they are good.
Feet elevated side planks are a side plank variation where, as the name implies, your feet are on an elevated surface like a bench or chair.
By doing this the exercise becomes a tiny amount harder for your oblique and outer thigh muscles than the regular side plank.
In turn, feet elevated side planks also offer the option to grow and strengthen your obliques and outer thigh muscles in a static way.
That being said, if you don’t have any issues with more dynamic exercises, these tend to be more effective for these fitness goals.
Additionally, just raising your feet may not be good enough to make side planks challenging. In that case, you could still need one of the weighted side planks.
How to do a feet elevated side plank
The main thing you need to do feet elevated side planks is a stable elevated surface to put your legs on. Some examples of objects include a weight bench or sturdy chair.
Additionally, something soft to put below your forearm can make the exercise more comfortable.
With these things in mind, take the following steps to do a feet elevated side plank:
- Sit sideways on the ground in front of the elevated object with your feet toward the object. Lean on your lowest forearm and keep the upper arm of this side about vertical
- Put your feet on the elevated object. Your upper foot should rest on the lower one.
- Raise your hips in a controlled motion until your body is in a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders.
- Hold this position for a certain amount of time.
- Repeat the same duration of feet elevated side plank on the other side.
To avoid muscle imbalances, you want to do feet elevated side planks of the same duration on each side. Setting a timer or something similar can help with this.
Feet elevated side planks muscles worked
Similar to the regular version, the main muscles worked in feet elevated side planks are your obliques and hip abductors (outer thigh muscles).
Besides these, your abs, erector spinae, deltoids, trapezius, and chest muscles have to work to some extent to keep your body in a straight line.
By elevating your feet, you make it so your obliques and hip abductors have to work just a bit harder than in the regular version.
Theoretically, this could also lead to slightly more muscle growth and strength increases.
That being said, in the bigger picture, feet elevated side planks are not that much harder either. If you find regular side planks too easy, you will likely still need to add weights to see your desired results.
Additionally, feet elevated side planks are still an isometric exercise. The static muscle engagement is typically less effective than more dynamic exercise alternatives.
In short, the tiny amount of extra muscle engagement is likely not worth the extra setup effort.
Instead, you want to add weights to the side plank or even better, do more dynamic exercises (if your body is able to deal with these).
Feet elevated side planks benefits
As you can expect, the regular side plank benefits will also apply to the feet elevated variation. Some of these include:
- Stronger muscles: If you approach feet elevated side planks in a smart way you can get bigger and stronger outer thigh and oblique muscles.
- You could find them more comfortable: While isometric exercises like feet elevated side planks are not always the most effective, they could be better for people who find dynamic movements uncomfortable.
- May reduce or prevent back pain: Improving your oblique strength with feet elevated side planks can help you avoid and reduce back pain (1, 2).
- Helps you avoid muscle asymmetries: Unilateral exercises like feet elevated side planks make it easier to work each side to the same extent. This can be helpful for avoiding muscle imbalances.
If you don’t mind the extra setup requirements and like the benefits of feet elevated side planks, you can definitely consider this exercise for your workout plan.
Feet elevated side plank alternatives
You could also conclude that you are fine with more dynamic exercises and want to see more results in shorter amounts of time.
For this or other reasons, some of the feet elevated side plank alternatives below can be better for your situation:
- Side bends
- Lying side leg raises
- Hanging sideways knee raises
- Weighted leg abductions
- Other side plank variations
Thinking about your training goals and potentially trying out a few exercises can make it easier to decide what feet elevated side plank alternatives are the best for you.
Are feet elevated side planks a good exercise?
Feet elevated side planks can be a good exercise for people who want to work their obliques and outer thigh muscles in a static way.
At the same time, it is worth mentioning that the feet elevated setup is not that much more effective than regular side planks.
Additionally, you may still need to add extra weights to feet elevated side planks reach your fitness goals anyway.
If that is the case, you may as well avoid spending extra time and effort on the extra setup and do regular weighted side planks.
Besides that, people who are comfortable with more dynamic movements and don’t necessarily like feet elevated side planks likely prefer one of the more effective exercise alternatives.
- Side Plank Leg Lift: How To, Alternatives,…
- Copenhagen Side Planks: How To, Alternatives,…
- Side Bends: How To Do, Benefits,…
- Bulgarian Split Squats: How To Do, Is It Good,…
Are side planks with feet elevated harder?
Yes, side planks with your feet elevated are a tiny amount harder. That being said, if you find regular side planks too easy, you will likely need more of a challenge increase than just elevating your feet.