Exercise of the Week

The Side Plank

Why do the Side Plank?

There are few core exercises that are as good for your midsection as the Side Plank; however it is often a forgotten core exercise! Although the normal plank is a great workout; the Side Plank is needed in order to ensure that the muscles down the sides of the abdominals are worked as well. The side plank can easily be adapted to become more difficult and it requires no equipment, just body weight!

How to do the Side Plank:

1) Start on your side with your feet together and one forearm directly below your shoulder.

2) Contract your core and raise your hips until your body is in a straight line from head to feet.

3) Hold the position without letting your hips drop for the allotted time for each set, then repeat on the other side. Ensure that you do not hunch over your shoulders and that your core is engaged the whole time.

How can I make it harder?

  • Lift up the highest leg whilst still holding the plank position so that only one foot is touching the ground and the other is suspended above. Ensure that you maintain a straight body position whilst doing this and that your hips do not rotate forwards. Hold this position for as long as you are able.
  • Curl underneath your plank position and curl back out again- be careful not to wobble over.
  • Perform knee tucks with the highest leg, whilst maintaining a stable side plank position.

Treat of the Week- Snack without the guilt!

Guilt Free Sticky Toffee Puddings

A delicious but lighter version of the classic sticky toffee pudding


175g pitted dried dates

150ml maple syrup

1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs, separated

85g self-raising flour

0% Greek yogurt and extra maple syrup, to serve (optional)


1) Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4/fan oven 160C. Put the dates and 175ml/6fl oz water in a pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Tip into a food processor, add 6 tablespoons maple syrup and the vanilla extract, and blend until smooth.

2) Transfer to a bowl and mix in the egg yolks, followed by the flour. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff, and fold into the date mixture.

3) Put 1 tablespoon maple syrup into each of four 200ml/7fl oz pudding moulds and add the mixture. Cover each tightly with foil, stand in an ovenproof dish and pour in hot water to halfway up the sides of the moulds. Cook for 1 hour, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

4) Uncover, run a knife around the edges, and invert onto plates. Drizzle over yogurt and maple syrup to serve, if you like and enjoy!

May Activity of the Month


Volleyball is an Olympic team sport in which two teams of 6 players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organised rules.

Why play Volleyball?

It doesn't matter how old you are, how fit you are or whether you're able bodied or disabled. Volleyball is loads of fun and a very social game. It's the only hi-energy, zero body contact, mixed team sport you can play indoors and outdoors - whatever your ability.

As a sport, volleyball requires skill, fitness, strategic thinking and the desire to play as part of a team, but whatever level you play at, volleyball can enhance your life, improving fitness and coordination.

Sitting Volleyball is another version of Volleyball that has been adapted to allow anyone to participate including those with a disability.

Beach volleyball is a version plays on sand outside; the sun, wind and sand make beach volleyball a difficult game to play requiring a high level of fitness.

What is Volleyball?

The main objective of volleyball is to stop the ball hitting the ground anywhere on your side of the net with just three touches - whilst trying to make it hit the ground on your opponent's side of the court. Three hits are allowed on each side, but the ball must cross the net after the third hit- a player cannot hit the ball twice in succession.

There are no specific pieces of kit required to play volleyball, with most people choosing to wear a t-shirt, shorts and trainers. Some players choose to use knee pads and elbow pads to provide protection from falls when playing on an indoor court. You can get a casual game going almost anywhere, be it the park, the beach, your back garden, university or even a swimming pool; all that is needed is a net and a ball. For more regulated play, clubs throughout the UK run training sessions and leagues for players of all abilities.

For more information on the rules of Volleyball: https://www.volleyballengland.org/competitions/national_volleyball_league/rules_and_information

You can find out how you can get into volleyball on the Leicestershire and Rutland Sport website here: https://www.lrsport.org/sports/volleyball