Want to challenge your core, back, shoulders and legs all at once? Look no further than a plank. We don’t like to mess with a perfect formula for a full body exercise, but after a while, you might start thinking that it’s time to add a bit of spice to the mix. Here’s training expert John-Francis Kennedy’s guide to the ultimate bodyweight plank variation you wish you’d known about sooner.
The same… but different
Once you’ve mastered the standard plank, it might be time to upgrade to the RKC plank. It might look like a standard plank, but the RKC plank feels totally different and is guaranteed to challenge your maximum core strength in just 10 seconds. Doing this variation regularly will get you very familiar with having burning abs and shaking muscles. Trust us on this one.
The RKC plank was developed by Pavel Tsatsouline, founder of the Russian Kettlebell Club, in order to make the plank more effective and to save time in the gym. This plank variation challenges your strength on a new level as it involves actively contracting every single muscle in your body. It’s different to the standard plank, because you have to actively put maximum intensity into it - you get out what you put in.
How to: the RKC plank
Begin with a standard plank. Then, contract every muscle in your body. While in the plank position, go through this checklist to ensure you’re getting the most out of the exercise.
- Clench your hands into a fist.
- Contract your quads as hard as you can.
- Squeeze your glutes and press your heels together.
- Posteriorly tilt your pelvis as if you’re drawing your glutes directly beneath your stomach .
- Push your heels away and pull your toes up.
Most importantly: Don’t move. Contract your muscles without actually moving your body. Maintain maximum intensity and hold the plank for 10 seconds. Your muscles will likely immediately start to shake and burn. If not, try again and this time squeeze your muscles even harder.
To progress the RKC plank, contract more muscles and squeeze even harder. The goal is not to hold it longer, but to put more intensity into it. As you get used to the exercise, add more sets of 10 second planks.
Any type of plank can become a RKC plank and the difficulty level can constantly be adjusted: you really do get out what you put in. So why not give this variation a try now and level up your core strength training.