The RKC Plank gets a whole lot of lovin’ among personal trainers and not for bad reason.
It’s an effective drill that can dramatically increase anterior core (AKA your abs) activation while simultaneously teaching you how to create total body tension.
The RKC Plank is Overrated
There, I said it.
The RKC Plank is a massively overrated exercise especially for intermediate to advanced lifters.
While the RKC Plank can be good for beginners, as a lifter progresses in strength the RKC plank becomes increasingly useless.
To help you better understand why the RKC Plank isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, I filmed the short video below explaining the RKC Plank as well as a brand new plank variation of my own creation which is far more effective (and brutal on the abs).
The RKC Plank is Massively Overrated
Try This Brand New Plank Variation to Blast Your Core
The RKC Plank: A Brief Re-Cap
Without going into mind numbingly boring detail, the RKC plank purposefully forces you to generate as much tension as possible throughout your entire body from your toes all the way to your fists.
And while this can be useful in some circumstances, in this instance when you generate tension throughout your entire body, you rely less on your core muscles to stabilize your torso and more on the stability you’ve created elsewhere throughout your body.
While this isn’t inherently a bad thing, the goal of a plank is to strengthen your core muscles to resist lumbar hyperextension (i.e. overarching your lower back) – not to increase muscular activation simply for the sake of increasing muscular activation.
Granted, muscular activation is a very important component to consider when designing a training program and considering exercise selection, but other factors must be taken into account as well, not least of which includes understanding the goal of the exercise in question and how to perform it to get the most bang for your buck.
With that in mind, when performing planks my goal is not to increase muscular activation.
Rather, my goal is to create an environment that challenges my core musculature to work their hardest while resisting lumbar hyperextension. And, not so coincidentally, the long lever low tension plank does exactly that while simultaneously increasing anterior core activation.
It’s a win-win.
The Long Lever Low Tension Plank
1. Get in a standard plank position: if it’s too easy, increase the lever arm by keeping your elbows in the same spot while moving your feet further back. Learn exactly how to do that in THIS ARTICLE.
2. Maintain a neutral spine: do not allow your lower back to cave inward (slip into lumbar hyperextension). Brace your abs and make sure your lower back is completely flat the entire time.
3. Relax your entire body: except for your abs, consciously focus on relaxing your feet, calves, quads, butt, shoulders, hamstrings, and fist. The more relaxed they become the harder the drill will be for you abdominals.
^^^Click to Learn The Truth About Weighted Planks^^^
Intensity: On a scale of 1-10, difficulty should fluctuate between 5-9 on a regular basis
Sets & Reps: 2-4 sets of 10-30 seconds per set
Workout Placement: near the beginning of your training session as a warm-up (in the 5-6 difficulty range) or the tail end of your training session after your main strength movements (in the 7-9 difficulty range).
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