The plank started out with noble intentions. It quickly became a movement (or lack thereof) that anyone could do with little to no mastery. Just put your elbows on the ground, straighten out, and hold it for 5 minutes at a time! And wow, in a matter of no time you would have a rock solid core that would save you from lower back pain and injury... Uh, not so fast.
The primary problem with the traditional plank is the lack of deep core activation over an extended period of time. Traditional planks are progressed by increasing the time of the hold, along with increasing the external load placed on the body. Extended sets can cause postural dysfunction and chronic anterior pelvic ligament trauma.
The core wasn't meant to fire for extended periods of time in isolation. Rather, the deep and superficial muscles of the pillar need to have the ability to fire with maximal force repeatedly over time.
A Better Plank
The RKC plank can be programmed into any type of workout effectively. Depending on the movement or training emphasis of a specific session, the RKC plank can be programmed as a dynamic warm-up or metabolic finisher.
- Place your arms slightly farther out than you would in a traditional, non-effective plank.
- Contract the glutes and quads as hard as you can until your body starts shaking like a paint mixer.
- A good RKC plank is a full body contraction that lasts only 8-10 seconds. One pre-workout option is to do 3 "reps" with about 5 seconds between each.
It's time to throw away the traditional plank and upgrade them with a version that actually involves effort.