The side plank is a key exercise for hockey players

The push-up exercise we covered in the previous issue will strengthen your core muscles. You can extend this even further by incorporating the side plank into your routine.

The side plank complements the push-up well, as it puts extra emphasis on a muscle called the quadratus lumborum (one each side) which is important for stability in the lower back area. Together with the glutes (backside) muscles, it generates and transfers power during rotational movements like slapping and hitting.

How to side plank

Start: Lie on your side with your legs straight and your lower forearm at right angles to your body and taking most of the weight of your upper body. You might find it more comfortable to put a cushion under your elbow which should be directly under the shoulder.

Raise your hips off the ground so your body forms a straight line, with your free arm hanging down. This brings you to the starting position.

The motion: While maintaining your body shape, raise your free arm into the position shown in figure two, before returning to the start position. Keep up this movement for the full time of the exercise.

Aim to build up (slowly) to around 60 seconds and do two or three sets. An easier variant is to take the weight on your knees (bent legs) rather than feet in a half side plank.