Super Planks

Planks take the monotony and dullness of “ab work” and take it to a whole new level by eliminating all movement. Despite how boring they are I actually think the plank is an effective exercise. I even use it regularly with clients. Personally though my brain just won’t allow me to hold still and stare at the floor for more than 58 seconds unless somebody is standing there making me do it.

Super plank variations give you the benefit of the plank + a little extra in less time. The first variation will be planks with leg raises. These actually take the same amount of time as a normal plank but you have something to focus on besides holding still. The second variation I’ll go over are called RKC planks. RKC planks are deceptive in their simplicity but can be very difficult especially when you toss extra weight on your back.

Plank with Leg Raises

What You’ll Need

  • Nothing!

The Technique

Setup/Start

  • Start on stomach with elbows beneath shoulders
  • Push your hips off the floor
  • Maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles

Movement

Try to minimize any extra movement during the leg raise. Common mistakes are to allow you hips to move up (making it easier) or to let your hips dip down (likely resulting in low back discomfort). Another common mistake is to allow your hips to teeter from side to side. Excess movement is often due to a weak core or weak glutes or a combination of both.

If your not strong enough to hold a solid plank position without the added movement then I recommend going back to the Dead Bug and working hard on that exercise until your stronger.

  • Contract left glute to lift leg
  • Keep both quads contracted to lock your legs straight
  • Lower your left leg back to the ground and repeat movement for 6-12 reps
  • Repeat on other side

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RKC Plank

What You’ll Need

  • Weight Plates – For progressions only

The Technique

Setup/Start

  • Contract left glute to lift leg
  • Keep both quads contracted to lock your legs straight
  • Maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles
  • Tuck your hips like your trying to hide your butt (the opposite of twerking)

rkc plank

Movement

  • Squeeze your fist, butt, abdomen, and quads as hard you possibly can. Don’t let off the pressure for 20-30 seconds. Instead think about trying to increase the intensity of the contraction over the length of each plank.
  • If you have trouble keeping your glutes squeezed for the duration of the exercise then you might be suffering from weak butt syndrome. I recommend checking out some glute specific exercises such as clam shells, glute bridges, lateral walks, and monster walks.

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Progressions

  • Progression #1 – Add Weight – A very simple way to increase the intensity of this exercise is to simply add some weight in the form of a weight plate to your hips/low back.Your ready for added weight if you can hold the basic RKC plank for 30 seconds without any issues keeping your abs or butt contracted and in the correct position. Start with 10 pounds and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger. 45 pounds is a good maximum. For those of you at home without any weight plates a small child can work as a last resort.

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Endurance Coaching demonstrates the Dead Bug a great entry-level exercise. He demonstrates several Plank variations. Once you’ve mastered those exercises, you should consider moving on to more complex […]nn1

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