Core Builder: Not just any plank, The RKC Plank

We all know how a lot of the dynamic, explosive power of kickboxing and taekwondo comes from the core, which I covered in my last post: Your Core is your Source of Power.

Everyone complains about all the planks I always incorporate in my kickboxing and taekwondo classes. But I do it for a reason: they’re the simplest way to strengthen your core. Without needing any equipment or specialized space. What’s even better is, both kids and adults in my classes can do them (with the same level of complaints!)


The RKC Plank, or the Russian Kettlebell Challenge, looks like a regular plank. But a whole lot more is happening behind that hovering. It doesn’t require kettlebells, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’ll be easy.


The Plank vs the RKC Plank

What’s the difference? The RKC Plank involves a whole-body tension, which means you flex every muscle involved as hard as you can. It’s a great exercise to learn how to contract your core to its maximum, as well as to incorporate your entire body, core, arms, quads, even your glutes. And like its name, it is challenging.

Don’t be surprised if you can’t last as long as you would holding a regular plank. And that’s ok. Your goal is to go for high tension, not time.


How to do the RKC Plank right:

  1. Start in a plank position with your elbows right underneath your shoulders.
  2. Clench your fist, and keep your head in a neutral position
  3. Engage your core (check out how in my previous post here)
  4. Contract your glutes and quads and keep them tight.
  5. To spread the tension further, think about pulling your elbows towards your toes as you contract your entire core.


Start by holding this position for only 5-10 seconds before resting and repeating. You can extend holding the position for longer, but your aim is to keep the tension high, rather than lasting longer.


Stronger Kickboxers and Taekwondo Athletes

This is my go-to plank alternative. The best time to do this is after a kickboxing blast class or a taekwondo sparring session when your muscles are still warm. Throw in a couple of sets with your kickboxing partner. Or get your Taekwondo team to add this to their conditioning workout. You’ll soon see that the RKC Plank is a great addition to your training.

My next post will cover my second favourite core exercise, the Dead Bug.

About the Author:

Jeff is a 4th Dan blackbelt in World Taekwondo, and a Certified Personal Trainer through the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology. He is currently working on his Kinesiology degree. When he’s not teaching kickboxing, or yelling “holy buckets” during taekwondo classes, he is on the field, coaching football in his trademark ugly bucket hat. Jeff enjoys weight training, martial arts, and lunges; and going on adventures with his puppy, Koa, and his girlfriend Kiana. Find Jeff on Instagram @jeffmock72

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