I really like planks. As long as I can remember, I have always used them in my program. Whether I called them planks or “Forearm Bridges”, planks have been a staple in the program. I think they are beneficial for all athletes for developing stability or “pillar” strength.
We are now coaching and performing planks differently. For a long period of time, we would have our athletes just hold the plank position and ask them not to move. We also asked them to think about squeezing and firing their “core”. We may have lightly tapped them with our hands and/or feet so that they resisted us moving them. Now we are using more of an “RKC Plank”. This is a version of the plank that I learned at the RKC cert in 2011.
I must be honest and say that I didn’t think there could possibly be any different versions of a standard plank. However, I may be guilty of losing some attention to detail when it comes to the Plank. Previously, we may have asked our athletes to hold the position until the time ends. We are now asking our athletes to sustain the plank position by producing total body muscular tension for the whole time. We will tell them to contract their glutes, tighten their core, lift their kneecaps up with their quads, and try to push their elbows and feet into the floor. Also, we want their feet together, head neutral, and elbows slightly ahead of the shoulders.
The Plank will also help us coach our athletes on some proper positions on other exercises. Exercises such as standing presses, pull ups, most TRX exercises, and carrying variations are going to include the plank position somehow.