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RKC Plank: Exercise of the Week

One the outside, the RKC plank is a simple tweak to the basic plank. The only difference between it and the basic full plank is that there is added contraction of other muscles. Those this sounds simple it drastically increases the difficulty of the exercise.

How to perform the RKC plank

Start RKC plank by placing your body on the floor, with your elbows out in front of your shoulders. This will create a longer level arm when compared to the traditional plank where the elbows are directly under the shoulders.

Before you lift yourself up off of the ground, clench your buttocks, causing your your pelvis o rotate backwards slightly. Then contract their quadriceps, thus straightening your knees. So now your knees are off the ground. Lastly, before lifting your hips off the ground, externally rotate (turn out) the arms while keeping your forearms planted on the ground. You are ready to lift off the ground

Lift your hips off the ground and at the same time attempt to bring the elbows and toes to each other. Do not let your hips pike; keep your thighs inline with your body.

It is an interesting concept to an old exercise.

According to a paper in 2015, the authors conclude that the RKC plank “increases muscle activation compared to the traditional prone plank”. “The long-lever component tends to contribute more to these differences than the posterior-tilt component.

I would love to see someone like Stewart McGill analyze this exercise and compare to the basic plank. My assumption is that the RKC plank will increase the compressive loads on the spine. Depending on the lower back’s tolerance to compression this exercise may or may not be appropriate for those who are recovering from back pain.

If your spine can tolerate it, give the RKC plank a try. What are your thoughts?

Dr Notley
The only Chiropractor/Athletic Therapist in Winnipeg

Originally posted 2012-01-12 04:23:00.