Side Plank Dips: How To Do, Alternatives,…

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Sometimes adding movements to an exercise can offer nice effects. Find out how to do side plank dips and why you would do so.

Side plank dips are a side plank variation where you move your hips up and down in this position.

This makes the exercise work your obliques and outer thigh muscles harder and through a bigger range of motion.

In turn, you can say that side plank dips are a more effective version of the regular side plank exercise.

One thing to keep in mind is that advanced lifters may still need to add weights to the movement to see optimal muscle growth and strength increases.

Additionally, some people may find the movements of side plank dips uncomfortable. These individuals may want to stick to the regular side plank or one of the other effective alternatives.

How to do a side plank dip correctly

Something soft to put below your forearms can make side plank dips more comfortable. That aside, take the following steps to do the exercise correctly:

  1. Sit sideways on the floor. Lean on one forearm and keep the upper arm of that side vertical throughout the movement.
  2. Walk away from your upper body with your feet until you are in a straight line from your heels to your head.
  3. Lower your hips as far as comfortable.
  4. Raise your hips as far as comfortable.
  5. Complete a certain number of up-down repetitions.
  6. Repeat the same number of repetitions while resting on your other arm.
How to do a side plank dip

Make sure you give each side about the same side plank dip workout to avoid muscle imbalances.

If this exercise is currently too hard for you, you can start with a variety of side plank progressions like regular side planks or even knee side planks.

Muscles worked with side plank dips

The main muscles you work with side plank dips are your obliques and hip abductors (outer thigh muscles).

Your abs, shoulder, back, and chest muscles may have to work to a certain extent to keep your body balanced and in position.

The extra movements from the hip dips change the side plank from an isometric (static) to an isotonic (dynamic) exercise.

This is generally beneficial for muscle growth and strength progress if you don’t find side plank dips too uncomfortable.

Besides that, keep in mind that you still need enough resistance and reps to see results.

For something like muscle growth, you should do about 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 side plank dips per side.

You want to make these numbers very challenging to complete.

This can happen by elevating your arm with a stepper or just holding some type of weight on your hips.

Side plank dips benefits

The positive aspects of side plank dips are relatively similar to the benefits of regular side planks but they are worth mentioning again.

Additionally, the more dynamic movements tend to be better for muscle growth and strength progress.

  1. Stronger muscles: Side plank dips in combination with the right resistance, sets, and reps can help grow and strengthen your obliques and outer thigh muscles. Even more so than side planks.
  2. No equipment or location required: While some people will need extra resistance, bodyweight side plank dips can already offer nice benefits.
  3. May reduce or prevent back pain: Making your obliques stronger with something like side plank dips tends to be useful for reducing or preventing back pain (1, 2). People with issues in this area do want to be careful with side plank dips.
  4. Balance and coordination: Side plank dips will require some balance and coordination. You can improve your skills in these areas by challenging yourself in safe amounts.

These benefits are not completely unique to side plank dips but they could still make you consider this exercise.

Potential risks

Side plank dips are relatively safe but you want to know that some people will find them uncomfortable on their back and elbows.

If you are in this category too, you may want to stick to static side planks and/or do other exercises that work similar muscles.

As your body gets stronger over time, you can re-consider more dynamic exercises like side plank dips for their effectiveness.

Side plank dip alternatives

You may like the positive effects of side plank dips but not the exercise itself. In that case, you can also consider one of these side plank dip alternatives:

  • Side bends
  • Side planks
  • Side leg raises
  • Ab wheel V roll-outs
  • Clamshells
  • Sideways knee raises on the captain’s chair
  • Weighted leg abductions
  • Bicycle crunches

To choose between these side plank dip alternatives you want to think about what muscles you want to work in what ways.

You can also try a few options to see which ones you like doing.

Are side plank dips a good exercise?

Side plank dips can be a good exercise to work your obliques and outer thigh muscles.

To be able to work these muscles to the point of muscle growth, some people will need to hold some type of weight on their hips.

Besides that, it is worth mentioning that not everyone likes the feeling of side plank dips.

You can start with regular side planks if the spine bending is uncomfortable or something like side bends if you don’t like the side plank position aspect.

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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.