Building a Bulletproof Core with The High Tension Plank

Plenty of people can hold a standard front plank for over a minute without breaking a sweat. Some can even hold a plank for hours. The record is currently 4 hours and 26 minutes. While that’s pretty amazing, it’s pretty inefficient for your training.

The High Tension Plank or RKC Plank, is a great anti-extension (avoiding extension in the lumbar spine) exercise for training the anterior core and pretty much your entire body. The High Tension Plank is a lot more intense than your basic front plank and requires a lot more muscle activity.

Done properly, the High Tension Plank will be difficult for anyone to hold for as little as 8-15 seconds. Just 10 seconds will work your core more efficiently and effectively than a lengthy traditional plank.

Here’s a quick video on how to perform it:

A video posted by Adam Pine (@adamnpine) on


Things to keep in mind:

  • Tightly Interlock your fingers and pull your shoulders down via a reverse shrug.
  • Keep your neck neutral and stare at your fists.
  • Keep your legs at hips width and squeeze your legs together like you’re trying to pop a ball between your thighs.
  • Straighten your legs hard, flexing your quads.
  • Tuck your tail between your legs, flexing your glutes.
  • Pull your elbows towards your toes, pull your toes towards your elbows (neither will move because they are firmly planted in the ground).
  • Create tension through your entire body and become immovable.

Common mistakes:

  • Arching your lower back.
  • Hips too high.
  • Pulling your head up or hanging your head down.

If you are holding it easily for over 15 seconds, you are not creating enough tension. Work on getting as tight as possible and making it as challenging as you can for under 15 seconds. Remember to SQUEEZE!


I like to perform High Tension Planks at the beginning and end of my training.

You can incorporate this movement into your warm up to activate your core and help improve performance:

2 – 3 rounds: 10 seconds on (contract)/30 seconds off (rest)

Do this at the end of your workout and really strengthen your core:

3+ rounds: 10 – 15 seconds on (contract)/5 – 15 seconds off (rest)/10 – 15 seconds on (contract)

Begin counting when you’ve fully setup and are holding a maximal contraction. It may take a couple seconds to get properly set.


My favorite way to progress the High Tension Plank is to practice it more. The more you do it, the more proficient you’ll get and the more tension you’ll be able to create. The more tension you create the more challenging it will be, so try to make it as difficult as possible in as little time as possible.

No more wasted time holding a standard plank for minutes at a time. Lose the traditional plank and give the High Tension Plank a try. A more effective and efficient method that will leave your whole body shaking.

If you have any questions regarding the High Tension Plank or how to program it, send me an email at:, with “Plank” in the subject line.


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One thought on “Building a Bulletproof Core with The High Tension Plank

  1. Adam Trainor

    A simple modification to an otherwise boring exercise. The greatest hurdle with isometrics is the static nature of them, and getting better just means more static-ness. That’s hardly a reward. This sounds a lot better.


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