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exercise of the month

The Side Reach

June 2019


To strengthen the side of the torso and shoulders in this side plank position

Starting Position

Lie on the right hand side with the legs on top of each other in a straight line.  The right elbow props up the body.  The right shoulder should be directly above the right elbow with the forearm pointing forwards.  The feet, knees and hips are stacked directly above one another.  The left arm rests along the side of the thighs.


Inhale - To prepare

Exhale - To engage the core abdominals and lift the hips and pelvis off the floor as high as the body allows.  The feet and elbow remain on the floor.  The left arm rises up in an arc overhead

Inhale – To return to the starting position

Target Muscles

Quadratus Lumborum, obliques, deltoid, core abdominals, scapula stabilisers


Ensure good oblique engagement to prevent the bottom rib sticking out towards the floor

Ensure good scapula stability to prevent collapsing onto the supporting shoulder

Maintain the distance between ear and shoulder

Keep the head in line with the spine

Ensure that the elbow is directly under the shoulder at all times

Contra Indictions

Variation One (Adaptation)

The top leg may be crossed over and in front of the bottom leg to allow for a wider and more stable base.  The top arm may be placed on the floor and pressed into the ground to assist in lifting the body.  

Variation Two (Progression)

Inhale to raise the hips and then exhale to lift the top leg up off the floor.  Keep the top leg slightly forwards on the lift otherwise the body tends to fall backwards.  Inhale to place the leg back down and exhale to lower the torso to the floor.

Variation Three (Progression)

Inhale to raise the hips and then exhale to twist the torso towards the floor.  The left arm passes underneath the body and the head turns and looks behind the body to the right.  Inhale to twist back around again and exhale to lower the torso to the floor.


This exercise places extra stress on one side of the spine (depending upon which side is lifting) and this side may feel uncomfortable when performing this exercise so it may be unsuitable for certain back problems. 

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July 2022

A lovely exercise for spinal articulation to open the back of the body and assist in coordination

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