The Planche is the holy grail of every Calisthenics athlete.
It takes longer to achieve than other skills such as the front lever and back lever, because your body needs to build enough connective tissue to hold it.
These 5 tips will help you unlock it faster :
1. SHOULDER AND STRAIGHT ARM STRENGTH
The first thing you need to do before you start training for the planche, is build strong enough shoulders to support your body.
Your shoulders and specifically your anterior deltoids (front part of shoulders) need to be really powerful if you want to hold this position.
Planche leans and pseudo planche push ups are some bodyweight exercises we use in Calisthenics to strengthen this part of the shoulders.
More advanced trainees could use handstand push ups and planche push ups as alternatives – more physically demanding variations.
Straight Arm Strength
The planche, also, requires good Straight Arm Strength, which takes a lot of training time and effort to develop, as it implements greater stress on your tendons and joints.
So you need to keep working out with straight – locked arms, instead of bend arms.
This way, you are going avoid using your muscles’ strength (Bend Arm Strength) for support and focus on performing exercises using Straight Arm Strength.
2. TRAIN IT AT THE START OF YOUR WORKOUT
As a general rule, you will get better quality training at the beginning of your sessions.
Advanced movements like planche, front lever and back lever require high level of power and endurance (both physical and mental), which you will be lacking as your session progress.
Also, it is better to avoid difficult and hight risk exercises at the end of a session when you are exhausted and more likely to let your form regress or get injured.
So start your Calisthenics workouts with your planche training, before losing all your energy with other exercises.
3. USE PARALLETTES AND RESISTANCE BANDS
For the planche you need to lean forward in order to balance your body. That implies that your wrists will take a really big pounding.
Use Parallettes to destress your wrists and increase their movement range.
Also, Resistance bands can be used to unload some (or a lot) of your weight and help you maintain better form wile getting stronger.
When you feel comfortable holding the position, change the resistance band with a thiner one to continue challenging yourself, until you manage to hold the planche without assistance.
4. USE PROGRESSIONS AND DO REPS
Don’t go for the full planche from the start.
You need to spend time working each progression in order to “unlock” the next one.
You could, also, start by doing reps until you feel comfortable with holding each position.
Make sure you can hold each progression for several seconds (around 30) before moving to the next one.
That way, your body will adapt faster and you will feel stronger and more confident for moving on.
Calisthenics training is highly neurological.
You need to start with greater frequency and a moderate intensity in order to train your cerebellum to get used to holding the planche position.
But as you progress, and your body and brain start getting used to the new movements, you will find that your biggest achievements occur after rest periods.
During the recovery period, the body is allowed to adapt to the stress associated with exercise, replenishes muscle glycogen (energy stores) and provides time for the muscles, nerves and connective tissue to repair.
Also, as a new NIH Clinical Center study suggests, our brains may use rest periods to strengthen memories.
“Everyone thinks you need to ‘practice, practice, practice’ when learning something new. Instead, we found that resting, early and often, may be just as critical to learning as practice,”Leonardo G. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., senior investigator at NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
The planche is an impressive Calisthenics skill that requires a lot of strength and coordination.
It is usually a long journey to unlock it, so training the simpler progressions is the key.
With work and determination it can and will be achieved.
Are you ready for a