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Six-pack strength: Star move

workout
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The star side plank is a great but strangely under-used core stability exercise – add it to your workout to build stability and strength across your whole body.

You can’t overestimate the importance of having a solid core. Not only will it allow you to lift heavier in all the major lifts and move more effectively on the sports pitch, you’ll also have the foundations to build an impressive six-pack.

Like every other muscle, your abs are made up of two types of fibres: slow-twitch and fast-twitch. Static holds, such as the plank, work both types at the same time by making your muscles work hard to maintain a stationary position for as long as possible. That’s why you should end your workouts with planks and side planks to work the entire core region.

This upgrade to the side plank will work your core and obliques – those muscles either side of your abs – really hard, as well as recruiting muscles in your shoulders and quads as you raise and straighten your arm and legs to form a star shape.

If you begin to find it too easy and can hold it for 15 seconds each side, make it harder by holding a light dumbbell in your raised hand.

Star side plank

Sets 4
Time 10-15 seconds each side
Lie on your side, supported on one forearm with your elbow under your shoulder and one leg on top of the other.
Raise your hips off the ground to form a straight line from head to heels, then raise and straighten your arm and leg and hold.

Sam Rider is an experienced freelance journalist, specialising in health, fitness and wellness. For over a decade he's reported on Olympic Games, CrossFit Games and World Cups, and quizzed luminaries of elite sport, nutrition and strength and conditioning. Sam is also a REPS level 3 qualified personal trainer, online coach and founder of Your Daily Fix (opens in new tab). Sam is also Coach’s designated reviewer of massage guns and fitness mirrors.