This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body, which was voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
You need stability in your hips and oblique muscles (the muscles that run down the sides of your torso) for body balance and core strength in sports and everyday life. But many people neglect the obliques and hips in their quest for strong center abdominals. Side pillar hip lifts address that by working on the endurance strength of both your right and left sides individually.
Lie on your side and support yourself on one elbow. One foot should be one on top of the other, and your lower hip should be on the floor. Your lower arm's elbow should be directly under your armpit. The forearm of your lower/supporting arm should point directly forward. Bend your upper arm's elbow and place that hand on your hip (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, use your obliques and hips on your lower side to lift up to a flat position. Your body should be in a straight diagonal line from head to feet. Be careful not to tip your shoulders or hips forward or back as you lift (see Photo 2).
- From the top of your lift, lower slowly down to your starting position, but do not let your hip touch the floor between lifts (see Photo 3).
- After you have finished 20 lifts on one side, switch to the other side and perform 20 more.
For a more advanced version of this exercise, keep your supporting arm straight and rest your weight on your palm instead of bending at the elbow and resting your weight on your elbow and forearm. For another advanced version, lift your top leg away from your body as you hold the side pillar position (see Photo 4).
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body, which was voted the best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was recently named by Men's Journal (December 2005) as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America.