The RKC Plank
A common point I hear being made is “once you can plank for a minute with ease, you need to progress the exercise”.
In my opinion, if you are planking with ease, then you are not properly engaging your core musculature.
My go to front plank variation is the RKC Plank.
The RKC plank is named after the Russian Kettlebell Challenge by Pavel Tsatsouline, a famous Russian strength coach. It uses a few slight variations from the standard front plank while concentrating on engaging total body tension.
The RKC plank has been shown to get four times the ab engagement compared to the conventional front plank.
You don’t need to hold the RKC for minutes at a time. If you contract your core maximally, short rounds with even shorter rest periods work perfectly – 3-5 sets of 30 seconds, with 15 seconds rest.
Engaging your TVA
Plank variations are isometric holds where your core musculature works to resist gravity as it pushes you into hyperextension and lateral flexion (side bending) of your spine.
The key to isometric core exercises is to consciously engage the musculature of the core, specifically your transverse abdominis (TVA).
The TVA is the deepest muscle of the abdominal wall and is an integral component of the core. It is often seen as the body’s natural weight lifting belt, commonly being trained with the vacuum exercise.
The vacuum exercise involves drawing your belly button inward toward your spine. However, rather than performing this alone, we simply use the same technique while performing various exercises to engage the TVA.
Thanks for reading