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Paige Waehner

Exercise of the Week - Pushup with Side Plank

By October 6, 2009

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As a personal trainer and a fitness writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about exercises - specifically, new exercises (or at least twists on the old exercises) that will keep my clients and readers challenged and motivated. That means wondering things like, "How I could incorporate even more muscle groups during pushups?"

My clients are always thrilled when I come to them with new pushup exercises, shouting things like, "Oh my gosh! Another new pushup? When do we start?"

Okay, I might have heard that wrong.

The plank pushup is the latest exercise my clients love to hate because it incorporates even more core strength than traditional pushups. I know, it's like a small miracle. The idea is to do a pushup (on the knees or toes) and, as you pushup, rotate your body to one side into a side plank. You'll not only build more strength and endurance in your arms and shoulders (since holding your body weight on one arm is much more challenging than two), you'll feel your obliques really kick in during the rotation. The legs work as well to stabilize your body, making this a full body exercise.

Do it right: In pushup position, bend the elbows and keep the core stiff and braced as you lower into a pushup. As you push back up, rotate your body to the left, taking the left arm straight up as you balance on the right arm, feet staggered (you can also stack your feet to make it harder). Lower back down into another pushup and then rotate into a side plank on the other side. Repeat for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps (1 rep includes side planks to the right and left).

Modified Version on Your Knees

October 6, 2009 at 8:01 am
(1) Mark says:

This Looks great! I’, going to try it today. Thanks for the idea :) I’m always looking to a new twist to the old push up.

October 6, 2009 at 7:14 pm
(2) Tom says:

Let me tell you…I really like the descending degree of difficulty example you provide. I am currently training less-than-middly proficient women in my class, and they lack significantly in any core stabilization. I love the side plank and pushup and become so frustrated when I cannot provide a discipline that makes it simplier (the knee thing) so they don’t frustrate and loose commitment. Thanks I will use this……

October 10, 2009 at 8:42 pm
(3) Harold says:

It’s a fine exercise. See the WII Fit System under Strength Training–it’s there!!!

October 13, 2009 at 8:15 am
(4) Amanda Wright says:

Another twist on the good old ‘push up’ is a ‘plyo’ or plyometric version, alot more dynamic and demanding.
Be careful if you have weak wrists or shoulders, stick with the normal version. Otherwise standard push up position, as you push yourself upwards, clap your hands. Repeat as many times till failure. Or include in a super or giant set for chest, shoulders and triceps.

November 30, 2010 at 10:17 am
(5) Ragemichelle says:

Oh..okay. Yes! I can do the modified version. This is awesome. Looking forward to trying it out.

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