The planche is one of the most impressive physical feats you’ll see performed.
In this gravity-defying exercise, you start in a push-up position, lean forward slightly, and then raise the feet into the air so that the body is parallel with the ground.
It takes a tremendous amount of strength to hold the body in this position, and this is done by starting with easier exercises and gradually increasing the resistance.
With dedication, you could be holding a full planche in a year.
Push Up Plank
The first exercise to start with is the standard plank from a push-up position – that is, the top part of a push-up.
You should be able to hold this position with your body perfectly straight for 60 seconds before moving on.
Get into the push-up position but with your feet raised up onto a bench or chair.
Slowly lean forward, and hold this position for as long as you can. When you can hold this position for 60 seconds, move on.
Put your hands on the ground, bend your arms so that your upper arm is roughly parallel with the ground, and then balance your knees on top of your elbows.
Aim for one set of 60 seconds.
This may take 2-3 months, but it is important to give the wrists time to strengthen before you increase the leverage.
Now, instead of balancing on your elbows, tuck your knees into your chest.
Your shoulders and arms are now supporting all of your weight, and you will also develop strength in the hip flexors, as they hold your legs in place.
Flat Tuck Planche
Do the tuck planche as normal, and then straighten your back.
This may only be a small difference, but it increases the difficulty significantly.
Now you are starting to strengthen the lower back, which will eventually be holding your legs extended.
Half Tuck Planche
From the flat tuck planche position, untuck your legs so that your thighs are roughly perpendicular to the ground.
As you progress, you can also untuck the lower legs so that your shin bone is parallel to the ground.
This moves more of your body mass away from your hands, increasing the leverage and the difficulty.
From the half tuck planche position, raise your hips and lean forward very slightly as you straighten and spread your legs.
As your strength increases, try to lower your hips and extend the legs as much as possible, ideally so that your body is parallel with the ground.
Now you are finally ready to attempt the full planche! Start from the straddle planche, and simply close your legs as you attempt to straighten your body.
The Planche Push Up Training Plan
Unless stated otherwise, aim for five sets of 20 seconds in each exercise before moving on.
You can practice these two to three times per week- but listen to your body and stop if you feel pain in the joints.
Don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t seem like you are making progress – just stick to the program diligently, and you’re sure to be successful!