Planche – The ultimate tutorial and step-by-step progressions
If you are looking for an exercise that demonstrates a high level of body strength and control, you should definitely try the planche. This physical activity is a skill in gymnastics in which the body is held parallel to the ground, giving the illusion of floating. The planche is challenging because it requires significant strength and balance. Let’s take a deeper look at how to perform this exercise efficiently and effectively.
Before Getting Started
First of all, to do a planche you need to have not only strength, mobility and midline stability, but this exercise above all also requires patience, nerves of steel and infinite determination. You cannot jump into this without specific preparation. Remember also that the planche is quite advanced and it is not recommended for everybody.
For instance, if you have an injury to recover or weight to lose, the planche is not for you. If you are new to hand balancing, you simply want to build strength, or you have problems with wrist weakness or stiffness better stay away from the planche for a while. Nevertheless, these don’t mean that you cannot perform this exercise in your life. Firstly, you have to manage these issues, then you can start to work on.
Last, but not least, the planche is an ultimate exercise which braces the core. Though, having a background in gymnastics is helpful. You can practice this exercise basically everywhere because you don’t need any equipment. This move base only on your muscles strength so performing the full planche for 5 seconds is a great achievement.
Benefits of the Planche
The planche is impressive gymnastics skill to perform. Not a lot of people are able to do this. This exercise not only looks pretty amazing. It allows you to develop strength, coordination, and stability. Precisely, it helps you to build incredible straight arm strength, powerful shoulders, and strong wrists.
The easier levels of the planche like the open tuck planche will still allow you to achieve impressive wrist, shoulder, and straight arm strength. Remember that performing the exact exercise foregoes the training consists of other movements such as a press to handstand, back levers and other hand balancing skills.
The ability to brace in this position carries over really well to any movement, like squatting, pushing, and pulling, and overhead movements like snatches and jerks. If you already have the fundamental strength and flexibility is a great base to begin working the planche.
How to Build to a Planche?
The goal of the planche is to hold the body parallel to the ground, supporting yourself on just your hands. To achieve this aim, you need to prepare for ultimate training. First of all, you shouldn’t simply incorporate these exercises into your regular workout.
Furter, don’t practice your planche work with other intensive straight arm work, such as the iron cross or one arm handstand, in the same workout. When you become more experienced, you will be able to perform both. Have in your mind that the planche is very intensive exercise and places a lot of stress and strain on the tendons of the wrists, elbows, and shoulders.
There are two methods to build to a planche: upward and downward. Both ways require similar effort and stresses. When comes to the planche, the most effective is combining those two approaches.
The first position is an intermediate yoga pose that’s great for strength and stability in the shoulders, wrists, and core. You have to start from the ground and take a crow position. When this pose becomes easy for you, start practicing a straight-armed crow, also called crane pose.
Next step is stretching one leg out behind you. Most of the people begin with kicking their leg back and then bringing it right back in. Start with one leg at the time, until you can keep your leg, ultimately legs, behind you.
The second option requires stunning handstands skill. You have to start vertical and work your way downward. Face a wall, make sure your hands stay under your shoulders, slightly bend your arms and keep your body in the crooked position. You can also rest your feet against the wall. If you feel comfortable in this position, little by little, try to walk your hands from a foot to a foot and a half from the wall. Observe how long you are able to stay in the bend-arm position before you fall.
Building to the planche is much more like a marathon, not a sprint. You need a lot of practice and patience, as well. The fastest ways to reach your goal is practicing three days per week, but remember to take a break if you can’t handle. Note that everything depends on your physical condition, strength, and body weight.
The Planche Progressions: How to Prepare?
The planche is an extremely demanding exercise because you need no equipment and you entirely depend on your own body. While this stunning skill seems to question the gravity you have to keep in your mind that only with the training prepared correctly, you can expect the progress. Remember, the planche must be practice gradually. Otherwise, you will force an injury and get set back before even began.
If you want to perform the planche correctly, you need to follow several fundamental moves. While preparing progressions of the planche really important is an accurate body positioning. Face towards your elbow pits, pull down shoulders as you lean forward, face forward fingers or out them to the side, finally, lock out your arms and push down into the ground. Note, that the legs position wasn’t mentioned here. It will be varied a little with each progression.
To achieve your primary goal, the Full Planche, you have to learn how to perform the tuck planche. Take a basic plank position and lean your body forward until your shoulders are in front of your wrists. Curl your toes under and come up onto them. Next, try to perform straddle planche lean on the floor. In this position, widen your legs, lean forward, and keep your toes on the ground.
Next step, the Raised Planche Lean, requires lifting your feet onto a chair, box, or any other elevated surface. Another progression which allows you to reach your goal is Raised Planche Lean with bent legs. Move your raised surface closer to your arms so that you can bend your legs from the raised surface as you lean your body forward.
While performing Crane with Raised Feet, you have to put your feet on a raised surface and tuck your knees into your arms. This guarantees you a supported crane position. When you take a pose of full crane your knees are supported by your arms and your feet are placed in the air.
Then, take one knee off your arm at a time. Once you will feel secure in this position try to perform the tuck planche by pulling both knees off, coming into the floating crane pose.
Another possibility to get into the tuck planche is to go from the Straddle Planche Lean and work on first lifting one leg off the ground at a time. Next, tuck one knee into your chest at a time, and pull both knees into the chest, coming into that tuck planche. Working on the tuck planche is a first step to perform the full straddle planche.
The Straddle Planche: How to Attain?
Achieving the straddle planche is a bit more fluid and depends on your personal preferences. There are plenty of exercises which bring you closer to your goal. Preferably, choose two of them to concentrate on at the time. During three weeks focus on these two, then switch them out for others for another cycle. Check out the variations below.
Straddle Open Tuck Hold requires beginning with the tuck planche. Next, pull your knees apart and hold. In case of Tuck Push Back to Half Straddle variation, you should start with the tuck planche, as well. Push your knees apart and back into a half straddle, and repeat. After, prepare to Tuck Push Back to Open Tuck Planche by moving your knees back until they are floating in an open tuck planche.
While performing another step, Tuck Push Back to Single Leg Planche, you have to push one leg back into a single leg planche. Finally, Tuck Push Back to Straddle Planche variation requires straightening the legs into a full straddle planche from the tuck. Conduct this exercise with a pause, a longer hold, then try to repeat for conditioning.
Don’t be afraid to modify these variations, but try to stay with chosen modifications for a few weeks to precisely learn how to do them correctly. The repeatability of these exercises allows you to achieve a satisfying result faster.
How to Train the Planche?
Rome was not built in a day, likewise the planche. This exercise demands gradually work up to higher volume and frequency of training. In the beginning work out three days per week. After two months of regular training, add one more day. During your four and five months of consistent planche training, you will understand your body good enough to start a daily workout.
Start the training at the lowest level, work up to 5 sets of 20 seconds, resting 2-3 minutes between sets. When you will be able to master these sets, go ahead and move on to the next level. Getting more practice requires working the harder progression first then going down to the previous progression. Probably it sounds a bit unclear but think about it as a “drop sets” in weight training where you work hard at one weight, then reduce the weight to gain more reps in.
If you are able to perform the Raised Planche Lean with Bent Legs, start your workout with this progression. Firstly, you will do 3 repetitions. Perform a short hold for the first one, then a bit longer for the second and later the third for 20 seconds.
Next move to the Crane with Raised Feet progression and do about 8 sets of 3-5 seconds. Don’t repeat another set if you aren’t able to, hold for a one second. Keep in mind that quality technique is the clue. Now go back to the first variation, the Raised Planche Lean with Bent Legs and perform 5 sets of 10 seconds.
If you still have energy and power to train, drop down to another level, Raised Planche Lean, and try to accomplish a few more sets. However, if you feel tired there is no reason to continue the planche training; it won’t be productive. Save the more intensive workout for days when you have more energy and experience. Remember when it comes to the planche you need plenty of patience and self-discipline.
How to Do Planche Push-ups?
In the end, check out, the icing on the top, the planche pushups. The standard push-up is a great exercise to train your chest, shoulders, and triceps, as well as your core. The planche push-ups are the challenging variation. To master this exercise, you will also need several weeks or months of regular training.
First of all, set your final goal. This is the full version of the planche push-up. You do need strong pecs and triceps but must also understand how to leverage your body weight by using your core. You should practice crow, a yoga pose, which also helps you develop the control and core strength.
The first step, lie on your belly on the ground and extend your arms by your hips. Next, put your palms on the floor, so they are in line with your abdomen. Turn your fingers out to the sides of the room.
Then, press up into the top of a push-up position. Lean your weight forward into your chest and shoulders, squeeze your legs together and engage your abs in lifting both feet and legs off the floor. Finally, bend your elbows to lower your chest to the ground. Keep your lower body elevated the entire time. Extend your elbows back up to complete one repetition.
Even the planche is a challenging exercise is still doable, both for women and men. As you can easily observe this body movement requires plenty of time, your positive approach, the right mindset, and patience, as well. As long as you fully accept this significant commitment, you can achieve your success.
Keep in mind that the planche is a rigorous exercise and it is easy to hurt yourself if you do not have appropriate levels of strength. While performing this move be careful and don’t allow your weight to fall forward over your hands.
Don’t rush the progress. Remember that the planche is an extremely advanced strength exercise that takes months, and maybe even years, to master. Keep calm, take your time and practice!
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