The level of body strength and control needed for planche move depicts makes it difficult to find any other comparable static hold. Even the well-trained athletes see it as a milestone.
Clearly, this move is not for everyone, even before starting to train with the planche progression exercises you need to be properly prepared. You have to work on your balancing, core and shoulder strength. If you have all that and a will to train smartly, patiently and consistently then it is definitely within your reach.
Along with everything mentioned you will also need a guide that will lead you to the right technique towards achieving a planche hold. This article will be that guide for you.
The planche hold, balancing the body parallel to the floor, by straight arms. You need to know some things about it before moving on to the tutorial about planche progression exercises. Till now, you might have guessed that planche is quite advanced and not everyone can start training planche progressions right away.
There are some things you need to know before heading towards planche progression exercises. If you are already following some other goal specific exercise plan then you should probably come back to planche progression after you achieve that target. It cannot be mixed with any other fitness program. If you are new to hand balancing and if your goals are generic like weight loss then you should probably skip it for now.
What muscles do Planche work?
Planche is one of the coolest body weight balancing hold. There aren’t many who can hold this position. If you can, then you have impressive shoulder strength, strong arms and equally robust wrists.
Other than being a proof of your strength the planche hold helps you in strengthening all major muscle groups. It works almost whole body but the primarily involved muscles are abs, arms, chest, shoulders, upper back, lower back, and glutes. To be specific here is list of technical names of the muscle groups that planche hold works: Major (clavicular), Pectoralis Major (sternal & Abd), Anterior Deltoid, Biceps Brachii, Coracobrachialis, Pectoralis Minor, Rectus Abdominis, Pectoralis, Serratus, Triceps Brachii, Anterior.
How do you do a Planche?
Balancing skills and upper body strength needed to hold a planche position are comparable with a skilled gymnast. There is proper form of holding a planche it is not just hanging your body in the air. To start with, planche is a postion in which entire body is held in the air parallel to the floor being supported by straight arms.
From the beginning you must train correctly cause in planche a slight mistake in the position of shoulders, arms, wrists may lead to strain or injury. Following things must be checked true to call it a proper planche.
- Hands must be planted at shoulder distance
- Position of the hands relative to body must be roughly parallel to belly button
- Arms must be completely straight
- Back must not be arched
- You body must be completely lifted from the ground
- Body completely parallel to floor
- To call it a full planche hold your legs must close together
- Fingertips facing front
- Core muscles engaged
Planche hand position
The hand position for planche can be experimented with. Your hand grip with the floor for a particular hand position and relatively comfortable hand position for the wrists can be different from others. It is developed through other exercises. What suits you might not suit others. So you can develop a personal preference through experimenting with some common variations such as;
- Fingers spread
- Fingers closed and facing forward
- Hold the floor with fingertips
- Flat hand position
- Fingers facing sideways
Before getting in to planche progression exercises you must make sure that you are properly prepared for it. The pre-requisites for planche progressions are; Good shoulder strength, insane wrist flexibility & mobility, and a lot of core strength as well. If you can’t even do frog stand with good form, just skip it and focus on getting stronger shoulders and core (Pike push ups, dips, so on)
How to warm up for Planche?
- Arm Circles
- Wrist rotations
- Alternating Chest Hugs
- Rolling Shoulder Circles
- Planche Lean
- Straddle Planche Lean
Planche Progression Exercises
Before reaching to the final full planche hold you have to go through eight progression exercises. It is recommended that these progressions to be followed in the order given below. Each progression must be held comfortably more than twenty or thirty seconds then only you can move to next one. From the day you start practicing the first progression, the cumulative hold time must be twenty seconds or more no matter how many sets this may take.
A side tip, do not combine planche progression exercises with other intense straight arm exercises. Do not get overwhelmed, take one step at a time, be consistent and patient and you will get there for sure. So, lets begin with the progressions.
In all the planche progression exercises hands can be put on the floor or the bars alternatively.
|Planche Progression Exercises|
|Advanced Frog Stand|
|Tuck Swings: should be slow|
|Advanced Tuck Planche|
|Tuck Planche Push Ups (optional exercise, but a recommended one)|
|One leg Planche|
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The first step towards achieving your goal of full planche hold is holding a frog stand. It is good exercise to begin with in order to be able to hold a full planche one day. The frog stand is designed to develop strength and balancing skills.
To get into frog stand, first get into squat down position and place your hands flat on the floor next to toes. Now move your legs closer so that your knees or inner thighs are touching or resting on your elbows from the outer side holding the arms in between, this way the legs help a bit in carrying the bodyweight. Let your arms be slightly bent in elbows. Now lean forward, take the bodyweight on your hands, slowly raise your feet – heels first. The aim is to raise feet completely off the ground.
Hold this position till you can do it comfortably. Repeat till the hold time equals twenty + seconds. Strength and balancing skills will develop with regular practice. The target is to be able to hold frog stand continuously for half minute.
If you are new hand balancing then chances are you might lean too far and fall on the face. So use some cushioning to avoid injuries.
Advanced Frog Stand
Once you are able to hold the frog stand for one minute, you can move to next progression. Advanced frog stand is – as the name suggests – an advanced variation of the frog stand. You will need a little more shoulder and arms strength to be able to hold this position than the basic frog stand.
The process to get in to advanced frog stand starts similar to frog stand. From squat down position placing the hands flat on the floor lean your knees against your lower arm while keeping the elbows fully extended. The arms can not be bent in advanced frog stand. Now start lifting your feet off the ground slowly till these are completely up in the air. Engage the core muscles and hold the position.
Practice this position till you hit your goal of a consecutive thirty second hold. This variation will help you improve wrist stability and flexibility.
Tuck Swings: should be slow
There might be swings written in the name of the exercise but in practice these are slow and controlled oscillating movements.
Sit down with hand on the bars and knees bent, shin bones laying flat on ground feet facing backwards. At this moment you should be holding the bars with elbows bent. Now straighten the arms to lift your body keeping the legs bent as those were in the beginning. Now swing the lower body in a way that you are trying to touch your knees to your chest and backwards till your hips are in line with your shoulder. Arms must be straight the whole time. The movement should be smooth and slow. Aim is to get the movement slower and slower and more controlled.
You can move ahead to tuck planche progression when you are confident with slow and controlled tuck swings. The tuck planche position is similar to frog stand. To get into tuck planche position first get into squat down position, hold the floor with flat palms, this time a little in front of the toes. Keep your arms straight, now try to tuck in the knees towards your chest lifting the feet off the ground.
The difference between advanced frog stand and tuck planche is, in tuck planche your knees touch your chest instead of lower arms. Your back would be a little arched in this hold as your knees are all the way up your chest. Here too, aim is to hold the position for half minute.
Advanced Tuck Planche
After practicing the tuck planche and you reach the level of being able to hold it for half minute, you can move to advanced tuck planche.
Get into tuck planche position, which is performed with arched back. Now slowly lift your hips up till the back straightens completely. You can move ahead to next planche progression when you are able to hold the back straight for thirty seconds.
Tuck Planche Push Ups (optional exercise, but a recommended one)
As the name suggests this progression involves this progression involves bending and straightening your arms while being in tuck planche position. The aim is to achieve the movement with control.
One leg Planche
Being able to hold one leg planche means you are just a step away from your final target. To get in to one leg planche hold you need to first get in to advanced tuck planche. Now move one leg slowly out till it is completely extended. Hold this position for few seconds.
Repeat the process with other leg out. Practice till you can hold the position for half minute.
Let us increase the difficulty a bit. If you can do straddle planche then you are almost home. Start with the tuck planche position. Then move both the legs out behind you slowly extending the knees. You also need to spread the legs while moving them out from the tuck planche position. It is easier to balance if the legs are spread wide.
Begin with ten seconds and aim for at least thirty second hold. Once you have achieved thirty second hold try to bring the legs a little closer together. Progressing towards the full planche.
Progressing from the straddle planche work your way up to full planche. You are ready to balance your body parallel to the floor, keeping your arms straight, back straight, hands near belly button, legs together floating the air. Strive to hold for longer duration. Increase the hold duration slowly in small increments.
Once you have achieved this feat you might be hungry for more. If you are, you can try some advanced variations. There are many such, some of those are listed here;
- Start with handstand and lower to planche hold
- Planche push ups
- Straddle planche to full planche slow movements
- Start with tuck planche to one leg planche alternate legs consecutively
- Tuck planche to full planche repeatative, slow, controlled movements
Calisthenics Planche Progression Program PDF
Click on the button to download planche progression exercises pdf template.
More the practice better the results, but these progressions can take a heavy toll and may lead to burnout or injuries if done in high volume and frequency. Thus, irrespective of your training level do not rush into this program heads on. Slowly ease in to it. Start with spending three days a week on these. Then add one more day per week after two months of training.
On every move from one progression to next start at lowest level, five seconds, ten seconds, then work it up.
As mentioned earlier, achieving a full planche is not everybody’s cup of tea. Even with possessing prerequisite body strength, you need work hard on these planche progression exercises. Build some volume with one progression and slowly move to another till you reach your goal. Keep training.