You have many options if you want to change up your side planks. Find out how to do a knee side plank and what the benefits are.
Knee side planks, also known as modified side planks, are a side plank variation where you hold a side plank position on your knee and forearm instead of your foot and forearm like with the regular version.
This position basically works the same oblique and outer thigh muscles to a lesser extent.
Knee side planks can be a decent side plank progression for people who are not able to do a regular side plank yet.
The knee version can strengthen your muscles until you are ready for the full side plank.
That being said, it is worth mentioning that knee side planks are an isometric (static) exercise.
More dynamic exercises tend to be more effective for muscle growth and strength progress. These types of movements could get you to a full side plank faster.
How to do a knee side plank
Having something soft below your forearm and knee can make knee side planks more comfortable.
With that in mind, take the following steps to do the exercise:
- Sit sideways on the ground and put your lowest forearm on the ground. Keep your shoulder more or less above your elbow and somewhat pushed down throughout the exercise.
- Raise your hips and adjust your body until you are in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Keep your neck in line with your upper body.
- Hold this position for a certain amount of time.
- Do the same duration knee side plank on the other side.
You want to keep your shoulder above your elbow, keep your neck in line with your upper body, and keep your shoulder pushed down (not against your ear) while doing knee side planks.
Muscles worked with knee side planks
The main muscles worked with knee side planks are your obliques and hip abductors (outer thigh muscles).
You can also say your abs, glutes, a variety of upper back muscles, and your deltoids have to work a tiny amount during knee side planks.
Knee side planks mainly work the same muscles as regular side planks but to a lesser extent.
This can be a good thing if the full version is currently too hard for you.
Besides that, it is worth mentioning that knee side planks are an isometric (static) exercise. These tend to be less effective than more dynamic exercises that work the same muscles.
One of the benefits of isometric exercises is that they tend to be more comfortable. However, if you don’t have this issue with the dynamic knee side plank alternatives you want to do these instead.
That being said, you can still see results from knee side planks. The ideal plank sets and durations depend on your strength level and goals.
Benefits of knee side planks
Besides some of the regular side plank benefits to a larger extent, knee side planks also have some of their unique positive points. Some of these include:
- Stepping stone for regular side planks: By strengthening the same muscles at a more doable level, you could work up to the regular version with knee side planks.
- Get used to technique more comfortably: While they are not the most complicated exercises either, you could prefer getting used to side planks in the knee variation.
- Softer on your body: You may find regular side planks uncomfortable on your elbows. If you don’t like standing exercise alternatives you could consider knee side planks too.
Again, you typically want to look at knee side planks as a step toward the full version and not the end goal. The benefits of knee side planks are most helpful for this purpose.
Knee side plank alternatives
If you are comfortable with more dynamic exercises or strong enough to consider harder movements, some of these knee side plank alternatives could be better choices for you.
- Side bends
- Weighted leg abductions
- Oblique crunches
- Side leg raises
- Bicycle crunches
- Ab wheel V roll-outs
What muscles you want to work, what your body can deal with, and what you like doing are details that will influence what knee side plank alternatives are the best for you.
Are knee side planks a good exercise?
Knee side planks can be a decent exercise for people who want to do regular side planks but are not strong enough yet to do so.
By consistently working the same muscles at a less challenging level you could be able to do regular side planks over time.
That being said, you also want to know that isometric exercises like knee side planks tend to be less effective for growing and strengthening muscles than more dynamic exercises.
In simpler words, if you are comfortable with them, you likely want to choose one of the more dynamic knee side plank alternatives to see more results faster.
Lastly, personal preference still matters to some extent too.
If you like doing knee side planks, you could still consider them. Doing knee side planks long enough and with enough weight can offer some benefits too.