The saw and a side plank with a swing

The Saw.

A Side plank.

With a swing.

Sounds like perfect playground equipment.

We’ll call it playing.

I showed a quick hyperlapse video on instagram and thought it might be nice to break down this exercise. This is a classic Pilates exercise that I love but with a twist. It works a lot of things. Pretty much ALL the things. All the things that need worked. Like, even the brain. Pilates takes so much coordination. Which I do not have. But, I try.

So try it with me. Here’s what you do.

Start seated with feet wide, feet flexed and planted. Torso tall.


Think cement, at least for this first part, with feet planted, as in not going anywhere; no sliding around.

Take a breath in and turn to one side. Arms wide.

Rotate the back thumb down and exhale as you reach for the opposite foot. Squeeze all that air out.


Inhale to come up.

Place that back hand down, fingers on the floor pointed away and the arm snuggled up next to the ribs.

Turn to the outside edge of that foot you were just reaching for and lift the hips, pressing them forward into a strong, long-line side plank and with that back leg still back and lifted. The top arm is now forward as you’ve leaned forward.


Stay here and swing the back leg forward (trying not to kick the cat) as the top arm reaches back overhead.


Return the leg back and the top arm up with a nice controlled swing. Slide the back leg down and smoothly sit.


Returning to open up the arms and sit tall as you started.

Repeat on the other side.


Then repeat 3-8 times each side.


In other news, my handstand practice is coming along. More like, I’m gaining confidence, not necessarily improving. You can go to my instagram account and see video footage.

Ok, that’s all I’ve got for now. Need to go get in a 9-miler. That’ll make 19 miles on the day. Should be a 110ish week.

I love it.


How’s your training? 

Have you ever tried Pilates?

Thoughts on inversions and handstands? I’d love your insights on how to get that handstand!?


6 thoughts on “The saw and a side plank with a swing

    • This side plank does take some coordination. You could just start with pressing up into the plank and leave out the leg swing. That is hard enough. Once you feel solid in that then add the swing as it feels right. Planks are SO good for the core! Glad you’ve been adding them into your routine!

  1. New reader here! I really enjoy reading your blog. In the last 1.5 year I’ve brought my marathon time down to a 3:09 so now I have my sights set on the 2:50s and I’m getting sooo inspired from reading about your training and hard work!
    I used to be a gymnast – the handstand just takes practice and practice and more practice. Eventually your body will learn to go to that perfect angle where you can stay forever! I think allowing yourself to walk around (on your hands) can help you get stronger and find that balance faster.

    • Ouuu thanks! Great tips! Each time I invert I feel more comfortable and am getting more used to where I need to be to be upright. And I was thinking I needed to try walking. I will give it a shot. And for sure the 3:09 to 2:50s is a reasonable goal. Do it! Just do lots of miles at that 6:30-6:50 pace. I shoot for 20-30% of total weekly mileage @ race pace. Even if it’s broken up into 1000s or shorter I add it all up and some to average 5:55 for 20-30 miles/ week. It’s a nice way to get ‘comfortable’ with race pace. Glad you found my blog!

      • By the way, I’ve been trying to figure it out through old blog posts, but haven’t seen anything: do you work with a coach? It sounds like you do your own training schedules.

      • Yes, I am self-coached with lots of encouragement from my physical therapist husband. I have worked with coaches but as I’ve gotten to know myself, more I’ve enjoyed coaching. My husband says that no coach would prescribe the things to me to run or for strength training that I do to myself – some workouts are pretty psycho. Ha!

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