Are Side Planks Supposed To Hurt Your Arms?

side planks
July 31, 2023 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “are side planks supposed to hurt your arms?”. Side planks are a great core exercise that help to improve your core strength and stability.

You can make the exercise more challenging by holding a dumbbell while doing them. Some people have issues when doing the side plank which causes them pain.

This can include forearm and elbow pain, this article will explore this topic in more detail. There are other exercises that can be done if side planks don’t agree with you. 

Are Side Planks Supposed To Hurt Your Arms?

Side planks are not intended to hurt your arms. They are designed to help to improve your core strength and stability. Side planks are also a fantastic exercise for helping to rehab a lower back strain.

Most people don’t experience pain in their arm when doing side planks. Your core muscles should be turned on when doing this exercise.

Feeling some tension in the supporting arm when doing side planks is normal. However, it shouldn’t be painful and you certainly should not have any lingering pain in your arm after your session.

To address arm pain from side planks you can rest your forearm on a soft mat with lots of cushioning. Do a form check as well to ensure that you are not in a compromised position, you need to pack your shoulders by pinching your shoulder blades back.

Ensure that your forearms are positioned directly underneath your shoulder and that your body is in a straight line when performing the movement. If side planks simply don’t agree with you, then there are other variations you can do.

You could perform side planks with more bend in your knees to take pressure off your supporting arm. You could also try other exercises that work similarly to the side plank.

Lateral core exercises with bands work well. Instead of bending at the hip you want to tilt left and right. It is important to keep a neutral spine and not go into hyperextension.
side planks

Side Planks Should Not Cause Sharp Pain In The Arms

Side planks overall are a safe exercise and shouldn’t cause arm pain for the vast majority of people. I want to say that it is normal to experience some discomfort in your supporting arm.

If you are holding a side plank position for time with extra weight then there will be a little discomfort. However, you shouldn’t get any sharp pains from this exercise.

As with any exercise, it is critical to establish good technique from the outset. You don’t want to be putting too much weight onto your supporting arm.

You have to ensure that your core muscles are switched on and activate them when holding the side plank position. If you lean too heavily on your arm your body will lose tightness and you will lose tension on the core muscles.

By using solid technique you will minimise arm discomfort as well as discomfort in the shoulder. If side planks are still causing you pain then you need to consider alternative exercises. I will go through these later on.

Proper Mechanics

It is critical to maintain proper tightness when getting into position for side planks and holding the movement.

Ensure that your body is in a straight line and that your forearms are directly underneath your shoulders. You want to pack your shoulder by pinching your shoulder blades back.

Everything should be tight, when getting into the side plank you shouldn’t put too much of your weight on your supporting arm. Your core muscles should be engaged and you should feel the movement mostly working your core.

It is a good idea to do form checks when you are starting to perform side planks. You can evaluate your technique and make comments on how the sets felt. This will help to reinforce correct technique and reduce the likelihood of experiencing discomfort.

Side Planks Don’t Work For Me!

Just like every exercise, there are some that suit people and some that don’t. Everyone is different in this regard.

One of the skills that comes with many years of training is being aware of which exercises agree with you. The key is to perform exercises that you can do safely and make progress on.

This will facilitate better longevity in your training as you will suffer fewer injuries. A lot of injuries happen from pushing on exercises that are causing you pain and don’t agree with you.

So if despite using great technique on the side plank you are still having pain, what can you do? Well, there are other exercises that you can do that work in a similar way to side planks.

You can work on lateral core exercises with bands. Keeping tension in your core and tilting your body from side to side. You want to ensure that you keep your lower back neutral and not let it hyperextend.

When you want to work your core in general, you never want to get into a hyperextended scenario with your lower back. Keeping a neutral lower back position on core exercises is the best practice.

You can also do weighted side bends, but go with a more slow and controlled motion. Pallof presses are also a good exercise to work on anti rotation. You can simply do step outs or you can press the bands away from you and do step outs.

Final Thoughts

Are side planks supposed to hurt your arms? The truth is that they are not! It is important to perform this exercise with solid technique and maintain tightness throughout your body.

You want to ensure that you keep your core engaged and don’t lose tension there. If you find that side planks don’t work for you then you can try alternative exercises.

You can try variations of side planks that involve you having less weight on your arms. You can also try exercises like the Pallof press and exercises where you use bands to work on lateral movements. 

If you have any comments on side planks please leave them below. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

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