What is the Planche?
If you follow even a handful of calisthenics athletes, chances are you've seen the Planche. It's all over Instagram or YouTube. Maybe you've even seen it at the park or on the beach.
For those with little interest in fitness, the Planche is a cool-looking gravity-defying exercise. For those that practice bodyweight fitness and calisthenics, the Planche is an incredible test of wrist, shoulder, arm, chest, and core strength.
Because the Planche places a lot of intensity on several muscle groups, it's important to not overtrain it. This is especially important for those beginning their Planche journey. Inadequate Planche preparation can lead to tendonitis, or other nasty injuries in the arms, wrists, and shoulders.
Before performing a Planche workout, change your warm up so you adequately warm up the shoulders and wrists. An example Planche warmup would be 3 sets of the following:
- 5 x Wrist Circles each side
- 8 x Scapular Push Ups
- 10s Planche Lean
Fortunately, when preparing for the Planche, there are loads of regressions you can use to build slowly toward the Planche. An exercise like the Planche requires plenty of patience.
For those that haven't achieved the Tuck Planche yet, ensure you can hold Crane Pose for 20 seconds. Crane Pose is Crow Pose, but with the arms straightened.
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How to perform the Planche
We'll go through the form cues of the Planche regressions. These are ordered from least difficult to most difficult. The progressions are Tuck Planche, Adv. Tuck Planche, Straddle Planche, and Planche.
Hand Position for the Planche
Where should you position your hands? You can place your fingers directly in front of you, or out to the sides. For those with weaker wrists, hands out to the side might be more comfortable. Hands to the side increases the difficulty slightly.
Beginning the Planche
Begin the exercise as if you're moving into Crow/Crane Pose. Come into a deep squat and place your hands in your desired formation. Begin to lean forward while tucking your knees to your chest. Keep them as close to your chest as possible.
Your feet should start lifting off the ground now. Once they do, start lifting your hips until they're level with your shoulders. Ensure your arms straight. Bending your arms, even slightly, makes the exercise a lot easier, which removes many of the benefits from performing the Planche.
Increasing the difficulty.
Once you can hold your Tuck Planche with straight arms for 15 seconds, start bringing your knees out away from your chest. Bring your knees out so they point toward the ground. This is the Adv. Tuck Planche. Your back should still be straight when performing this exercises.
Once you've achieved the Adv. Tuck Planche for 10-15 seconds, move on to the Straddle Planche. Begin in the Adv. Tuck Planche with your hips level and then slowly bring your legs straight, but wide apart.
The Full Planche
The final exercise in the Planche progression. An incredible test of physical strength. Begin the Planche in the same way as the previous exercises. When you're in the straddle position, slowly bring your legs together and point your toes.
Have you achieved the Planche? Amazing! And if not, keep it up! We'd love to see your progress. Share your progress with the Cali Skills crew on our Instagram.