A great workout is perhaps best defined in the euphoric and sweaty aftermath of performing an RKC plank. Your muscles burn with a fiery intensity while your body cries out for you to mercifully finish the last excruciating seconds.
Yet, as the perspiration glistens off your body and you gasp for breath, you will recall with a smile why you just did this grueling exercise.
There are many variations of a traditional planking exercise that you can easily incorporate into your workout. However, the Russian Kettlebell Plank is the most formidable.
It is the creation of former Soviet special forces instructor, Pavel Tsatouline. The intent? To test the endurance of the targeted muscle groups more thoroughly than a traditional plank.
The great thing about any planking exercise is that you don't require any equipment. Thus, you can read about and create an improvised workout at home that includes the RKC plank when you aren't able to get to your local gym.
Let's take a look at the critical aspects of this challenging workout maneuver.
How to Perform the RKC Plank
The first thing to remember when performing any exercise is that it must be done correctly. Your muscles will not fully benefit from your strength training, and you can also hurt yourself by not exhibiting proper form. So, take the time to get the fundamentals of your routine down.
As you incorporate the RKC plank into your workout, make sure that you properly loosen your body up before attempting. Start your workout with some cardio, get your heart rate up, and perform the RKC plank during the strength training part of your exercise routine.
Let's get to it!
Set up in a traditional plank position. Remember always to keep your head facing the floor. By lifting it, you strain your neck, and this will also affect form. Place your hands under your shoulders, a little more than shoulder-width apart.
Stretch your legs out and press your toes against the ground. Don't lock your elbows or knees while maintaining a straight back. Now, let's transition from the traditional plank into the RKC position.
Clasp your hands together into fists. Rather than extending your arms, sit down on your forearms so that they are at a 45-degree angle. Keep your legs extended, tensing your glutes.
Pull the muscles in your upper body together, such that it feels like your elbows, shoulder blades, and forearms are contracting. Pull your midriff up, such that you are attempting the pike position. Hold, tense, and control your breathing.
There you go! That's the RKC plank!
The big question that you may be asking is, will it really benefit you to incorporate this plank variation into your next workout? Indeed, will it increase your gains more quickly than a traditional plank? The simple answer is yes. It will certainly will.
If you are an avid member of the fitness community and want to amp up your workout, then take the RKC challenge. The reason is that it does target major muscle groups in your body more intensely and effectively than a typical plank.
Deep core activation
One central part of the body that this exercise affects is your intricate, core group of muscles. There are many reasons to develop this area besides the superficialities of sporting defined abdominal muscles.
Your core extends beyond the abs. It is responsible for the necessary stabilization of the spine while affecting movement throughout the rest of your body.
Therefore, there a multitude of reasons to build your core beyond appearance value. The RKC plank is the exercise to use to develop this area of your body. If you have a strong core, the rest of your workout will become easier and more rewarding.
And yes! Your abs are going to look great!
The glutes are considered to be part of your core. Specifically, they are the muscles located in your posterior. If you are looking to define this area and make it look great, the RKC plank is the move that you want to perform.
Additionally, the fact that your glutes are partly responsible for working with the rest of your core to establish balance makes it even more profitable physically.
The quads are considered to be the four muscles making up the front of the thigh. They are partly responsible for the force of motion. So, yes, good looking quads are nice to show off but don't forget the extra benefits that come from having a sturdy pair.
The tension that is created from maintaining your position while doing an RKC plank will build these muscles.
How to Incorporate into a Workout
You can add this planking, or method of training, into your workout by determining the most effective time perform it.
There are different schools of thought as to when you should do the RKC plank. The debate concerns whether you choose to work your abdominals at the start or towards the end of your ensuing strength routine.
As we have seen, focusing on your abs works your core, and working your core helps your abs. It is suggested that the most appropriate time to work the abs is indeed right after your cardio warmup, as you start your workout.
The reason is to ensure that your body feels energetic and robust, not drained from an hour of working out.
The intensity of the RKC plank means that you don't want to wind your workout down with this type of move. By working the core at the start, you will ensure that they benefit to the most significant degree possible.
You should always remember that when it comes to the realm of working out, there are many schools of thought. Each one with their idea's as to the when, why, what and where of the gym. Such authority includes how to end your training regimen.
Generally, though, stick to this advice and try and wind down your exercising routine with a less strenuous move.
Sets and reps
If you are doing exercises using weights, then you are used to sets and reps. For example, a bench press might involve performing three sets at 12 reps each.
However, an RKC plank is a different sort of animal. You are maintaining and holding a specific position, rather than lifting a free weight or a chest press machine.
Therefore, it is essential to use timing as part of the sets and reps equation. Start slow. Hold your RKC plank position for a 10-second rep at one set.
Depending on your level of fitness, gradually increase both sets and reps. Work yourself to three sets at 20 seconds each. Don't forget to focus on your breathing as you hold your position.
The primary goal of this exercise is to create tension in your body. Regardless of how often you are hitting the gym, try and incorporate the RKC plank into your routine regularly.
Sometimes the most effective workouts aren't the ones that use actual weights. Instead, through inventive techniques, you can build your body and increase your endurance.
Eat, drink and sleep
So, you are doing your RKC planks and staying in shape. How do you maximize the potential gains from this exercise? Well, you need to focus on various issues other than sets and reps.
Working out is a multi-dimensional effort. Sure, you can hit the gym, but you also need to ensure that you have all the aspects of your health aligned. For example, if you are not eating properly, drinking plenty of water, and getting the right amount of sleep, no amount of planking will help you grow.
Sleep helps repair your body, while healthy eating ensures that you are putting on muscle, not fat. Also, while water hydrates, a general and overall awareness of taking care of both your physical and mental realms will increase all the benefits that you seek through exercise.
There are many exercises that you can perform to increase the strength of your body. Free weights and machines are great tools to develop muscle. However, an RKC plank is the move that you can use, whether you are at home or at the gym to build your body's core.
Everyone wants to look their best and feel great. However, it is reassuring also to know that this particular workout, building your core, also has a positive effect on your stabilization muscles.
Thus, your balance will improve, as will your posture and the parts of your body that are responsible for movement will benefit.
So, whether you love going to the gym or have an improvised workout routine at home or when traveling, consider using the RKC plank as part of your routine. It is challenging, but you will feel rewarded upon completion.
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