Planking is known as one of the best exercises for your core, but did you know there's an even better variation you should be trying? Our friends over at Details share the best-kept secret to planking.
How long can you hold a plank? Three minutes? Five? (The current record is five hours, 15 minutes, and 15 seconds, by the way.)
Whatever your number, you probably shouldn't brag about it too much. While planks are awesome for building core strength and stability, if you do them right, you shouldn't need to hang out in them for minutes or hours on end, says Boston-based strength coach Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S. Another way to put it: If you are able to hold one for that long, you're probably using pretty bad form.
The solution: the RKC plank. It starts off like your everyday version, but you crank up the intensity by maximizing the amount of tension in your body, making your core muscles—including your stabilizers—work up to four times more than in the traditional plank, says Kourtney A. Thomas, C.S.C.S., owner of Lagniappe Fitness in St. Louis. A mere 10 seconds in the RKC plank is enough to make even the most solid six-packs shake, says Gentilcore. Here's how to do it:
Hold It Real Good: The RCK Plank
- Get into a traditional forearm plank position, shoulders directly above your elbows, feet together, face pointing toward the floor. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels.
- Clench your hands into fists, pull your shoulder blades apart, and push your forearms into the floor as if you're trying to drag your elbows toward your toes.
- Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings so that your tailbone tilts down, your lower back flattens, and you can feel your butt and legs working. Keep your knees locked.
- Hold, focusing on maintaining the maximum tension possible throughout your body.
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