Calories Burned Calculator for Side Planks
Side planks are a great way to burn a lot of calories and tone your abs at the same time. In fact, depending on your weight and exercise intensity, you’ll burn about 6.9 calories each minute you do side planks, equaling about 414 calories each hour.
Calories Burned with Ab Exercises (weight: 170 lbs)
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Read on to find out everything you need to know about side planks and how to do them correctly to reap all the benefits that come with this potentially challenging ab exercise.
How the Side Planks Calculator Works
This side plank calculator uses a MET value to give you an estimate of how many calories you can burn from doing side planks. High MET values correspond to burning more calories, while low MET value activities don’t burn as much
What is a MET Value?
MET stands for metabolic equivalent of task, and they show the estimated expenditure of energy for many different activities, such as side planks.
The MET value is also a ratio between the working metabolic rate and the resting metabolic rate , which is the rate of energy that is used relative to the duration of time spent doing the activity.
You may also be surprised to know that you’re actually burning calories while you’re at rest. A MET value of 1 is the equivalent of the amount of energy you expend while resting, and a MET value of 5 means you are expending 5 times as much energy compared to being at rest.
Almost all activities that you can think of have MET values assigned to them. Some activities with MET values are common, and some are not so common. For example, there are MET values assigned to activities like shopping, soccer, and playing table tennis!
Most activities come with varying levels of intensity and have different MET values assigned to them, but the side plank has a single MET value of 5.
The formula that our calculator uses to determine the number of calories burned per minute is (body weight in Kg x MET x 3.5) ÷ 200.
A person weighing 175 pounds will burn approximately 414 calories per hour from doing side planks. This activity has a MET of 5, which means that it burns 5 times as many calories compared to being at rest.
This is what the formula for calculating the calories burned will look like for a 175-pound individual at a MET value of 5.
- Calories burned (per minute) = (body weight in kg x MET x 3.5) ÷ 200
- Calories burned (per minute) = ( 79.4 x 5 x 3.5 ) ÷ 200
- Calories burned (per minute) = 6.9 calories x 60
- Calories burned (per hour) = 414 calories per hour
How to do Side Planks
Side planks are considered an intermediate exercise that you should try once you have the regular plank mastered.
While side planks certainly target your core, you’ll also find that they target other muscle groups as well. Below you’ll find step-by-step instructions on how to do side planks correctly.
- To start a side plank, lie on your right side with your legs extended and stacked from hip to feet. Your right elbow should be directly under your shoulder. Also, ensure that your head is directly in line with your spine and that your left arm is aligned along the left side of your body.
- Engage your core muscles and draw your navel toward your spine.
- Lift your hips and knees into the air from the mat while exhaling. Your torso should be straight in line without any sagging or bending. Hold the position.
- After several breaths, inhale and return to the starting position. The goal should be to hold for 60 seconds or more. Change sides and repeat.
Tips and Technique
People that do side planks are often prone to some common mistakes. First, you should be conscious that your hips don’t start to sag once you start doing the movement. This is an indicator that you haven’t built enough strength in your core to do the side plank just yet.
If you don’t have enough balance to perform the side plank correctly, you may find that you start to roll forward and that you can’t keep your hips and legs stacked as you’re doing the movement.
If you find yourself struggling with these two things, you can try to perform the side plank from your knees instead of your feet as you start to build up your strength.
Ideally, you also want to keep your face and bottom hand relaxed during the exercise to help with your balance and stability. If you have any pain in your shoulders, arms, or core, you should try other abs exercises that you’re better suited for.
As one of the most popular core exercises done today, side planks pack a powerful punch and provide many different benefits for those that are serious about their gym routines. Below are the top benefits of side planks:
- Building a strong core. Above all else, side planks help to develop your abdominals and increase hypertrophy, meaning you’ll see these muscles get bigger and more pronounced the more that you do side planks.
- Strengthening multiple muscle groups. Side planks are a dynamic exercise that work several different muscle groups in addition to the core. You’ll also find that your shoulders and hips get an intense workout as well as all areas of your abdominals.
- Improving your balance. Side planks are a great exercise if you’re looking to improve your balance for this exercise and many others. Having a good balance will allow you to do other lifts like squats and deadlifts more easily while also improving your coordination.
- Reduces the risk of injury. Having a weak core was shown to be linked to increasing the risk of back injury . That’s why incorporating side planks and other ab exercises into your routine will help to reduce the chances that you become injured down the line.
- Protecting your spine. Your spine is the most important part of your back, and working the muscles of your spine help to keep your back straight which improves posture and minimizes the risk of chronic back problems.
Side Plank Variations
If you mastered the basic side plank, you may be looking for a bit more of a challenge. Below are some variations of the side plank that you’ll find useful if the regular side plank has become too easy for you.
Side plank dips
Side plank dips are a great exercise if you’re looking to fire up your obliques and really see some results. This exercise also engages your shoulders and lat muscles in your upper back as well as targets the glutes.
To do side plank dips, start in the regular side plank position and raise your top arm straight above you. Then you’ll drop your hips until they come in contact with the ground. Then return to the starting position and repeat for about 10 to 15 reps on each side.
Side plank rotations
Side plank rotations are another common variation of the side plank that also engages your shoulders and lats while primarily targeting the obliques.
To do the side plank rotation, get back into the traditional side plank position, raise your top arm above you and then lower your arm and rotate your core as you put your arm through the space under you.
You should stop the movement when the shoulders are close to being parallel to the floor. Reverse the motion and return to your starting position and repeat for 10 to 15 reps on each side.
Elevated side plank
This exercise emphasizes the shoulders and is most likely going to be harder to do than the other variations we’ve covered.
To perform the elevated side plank, you’ll again start in the side plank position and lift your hips off the mat with the palm of your hand supporting you under your lower shoulder. Then reach your top arm up to the ceiling and hold the position for up to 60 seconds.
The Bottom Line
The side plank is a useful exercise to do in addition to other ab exercises in your routine. While it does provide some benefits on its own, we recommend mixing it into your routine if you need some variety, as the side plank is not the most effective ab exercise you can do.
Mastering the form of the side plank may take some time, but doing this exercise correctly will help you strengthen your core and avoid many of the common injuries associated with having poor ab development.
Use our side plank calculator to get an idea of how many calories you can expect to burn, and be sure to check out all the other calculators that we have to offer at Fitness Volt!
- Jetté, M., Sidney, K., & Blümchen, G. (1990). Metabolic equivalents (METS) in exercise testing, exercise prescription, and evaluation of functional capacity. Clinical cardiology, 13(8), 555–565. https://doi.org/10.1002/clc.4960130809
- Abdelraouf, Osama Ragaa, and Amr Almaz Abdel-Aziem. International journal of sports physical therapy vol. 11,3 (2016): 337-44.