Breaking down the Planche
The Planche requires an incalculable amount of straight-arm pushing strength. Full Planche on the floor is graded as a B-Level skill in the Gymnastics Code of Points. However, this skill becomes a C-level difficultly if attempted on the rings.
Shoulders: should be tight and engaged, and the scapula should be protracted and depressed as far as possible to avoid rounding the upper back. This active position is essential to keep shoulders safe from injury, allow better leverage, and to keep the body aligned properly.
Biceps: the muscle responsible to keep your elbows safe. Gravity will put an enormous amount of pressure on the elbow joint. The bicep will be responsible for elbow integrity and avoid excessive load on the passive tissue (e.g. tendons and ligaments). Engage (squeeze) the bicep as much as possible before loading into the planche position.
Lower back and core: Squeeze all of the core muscles, glutes, and legs to generate tension throughout the lower body. This helps maintain a strong line.
There are a few different hand positions that can be used for planche training. Each position has its own pros and cons.
Hands forward: This hand position places more leverage on the fingers, which makes the skill easier. However, hands forward puts more tension on the wrists.
Hands to the side: easily transfers from the floor to the rings, but it makes the skill more difficult than the hands forward position.
Hands backward makes the skill the most difficult but directly works the biceps and connective tissue strength.
If you are new to planche training, we recommend starting with your hands to the side because it is the most applicable and causes the least amount of wrist irritation. If you prefer to use hands forward position, make sure to include extra wrist work in your routine to prevent overuse injuries.
We do not recommend hands backwards. This position can be very demanding on your biceps and you can get injured easily if you are not properly conditioned for it. Only gymnasts or calisthenic practitioners with at least 10 years of training under their belt, can practice with this hand placement.
You will likely get frustrated while working towards the planche, simply because it takes a long time to achieve this position. However, the key to training for the planche is consistency and use of regressions to progressively overload your muscles and connective tissue.
The tuck planche is the first skill in this series of progressions. One of the issues that arises when performing this skill on the floor is the lack of strength to raise your feet off the floor. This can be an issue of core compression strength. You can improve this by incorporating some compression exercises or L-sit training. Another way to overcome these issues is to raise your hands by using parallettes or yoga blocks.
The advanced tuck planche position is a progression toward flattening the back from a more curved traditional tuck planche. By continuing to keep the hips and shoulders in line and parallel to the ground, move your knees away from your chest slightly more than the tuck planche position. Once you master this position, the next progression is the straddle planche.
To bridge the gap between advanced tuck and straddle position you can use a band to assist the straddle or any advanced tuck variation with a higher level of difficulty. You can add ankle weights or a weighted vest while performing the advanced tuck position.
The planche position with one leg extended is an optional step between the straddle and full planche. If you can achieve this position, you can use it as an intermediate step before attempting the full planche.
Full planche typically requires some specific supplementary work. The exercises below can be included in your routine to help condition your body while practicing any planche progression.
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