Here is the final installment of my planche progression exercises, these are the most advanced exercises in the series so make sure you have worked through the other two before you try any of these exercises. You can find Part 1 and Part 2 here, and more about the Planche Challenge here.
Planche Progression Exercises Part 3
The elbow lever is a great exercises to learn to distribute your weight over your hands. It is also going to help you keep your body in a solid straight line, this is an obvious progression for planche training so get good at them!
To do an elbow lever, there is a small set of progressions in and of itself. Start with your hands together knelt on the floor. bend over you hands placing your elbows into the center of your body, about hip height.
Lean forward onto your arms and straighten out your legs behind you. From here you want to push forward with your hands leaning your elbows in front of your palms on the floor to lift your feet off the ground.
Remember to stay steady, move into this position slowly and remember to keep breathing the whole way.
This is the basic elbow lever. As you get stronger, you can slowly bring your hands and elbows further out from your body until they are at your side, and you are supporting yourself in a bent elbow planche, not resting on your arms.
Straddle extensions are an exciting step in the planche progression. Once you can do an advanced tuck, you want to start getting your legs out behind you. Straddle extensions are the next move.
To do a straddle extension, you stick your legs out as far and wide as possible from the advanced tuck so you are doing an air split.
Hold this straddle planche as long as possible, I can barely squeeze a few seconds in at the minute, try your best to keep good posture when you do the extension too. It can be quite easy to extend into a very awkward looking handstand rather than the planche. This is your body compensating for the lack of strength by adjusting your center of gravity.
To fix this you just need to work on it, as your shoulders get stronger, as your wrist strength improves, you will slowly lower your body into the correct position.
Straight Leg Extensions
Straight leg extensions are the final extension progression for the planche. Here you are going from tuck into a straight planche, as opposed to a straddle. Once you can get the straddle down, a straight extension is the only thing left for you to master in order to do a full planche.
Get into a tuck, then instead of going into a straddle planche, put your legs directly out behind you and hold solid, perfectly horizontal, a true planche!
Handstand – Elbow Lever
The handstand to elbow lever is pretty self explanatory, you are going from the handstand position into the elbow lever!
This can be quite damaging to your planche technique because you are bending your elbows, but it is worth doing to build strength in the shoulders and will help improve overall body tension which is needed to hold the planche.
Get up into a handstand and stay nice and still. Split your legs into the straddle shape and then begin leaning your head and shoulders forwards looking at the floor in front of you further and further as you begin to arch.
You will slowly begin to bring your body down behind you, keep tight and begin to bend your elbows slightly. You may bend your knees slightly to start counter balancing yourself so that you don’t fall too fast and flop onto the floor.
Bend your elbows in under your body and lower your core onto them so you are ready to support your body as it comes down. You should finish in the elbow lever straighten your legs back out if you have too.
Tuck Planche – Handstand
The tuck planche to handstand is similar to the elbow lever variation but this time you aren’t allowed to bend you arms.
Get into the tuck planche and lift your bum up into the air, unfolding into a handstand. This in itself is a great shoulder strengthening exercise to work on.
But you want to get back down into the tuck planche.
The easiest way to accomplish this is to fold your knees back in first and then rotate at the shoulders, the exact opposite of the movement up.
Once you can do one of these, go for reps. Once you can do reps, go for a straddle finish, get your legs out wide from the handstand and instead of tucking in, try and come down into a straddle planche.
The assisted planche is a great way to build stability with your planche. It will help you get hang time with the planche to build strength in the planche position.
An assisted planche does require a training partner of some kind.
Get into a tuck planche and get into the advanced position, with your training buddy behind you, supporting your feet, extend your legs into a straddle or straight planche and hold tight, your partner will assist by supporting your feet only enough for you to maintain the position for longer.
One thing to be careful of here though is how much support your training partner provides, too much and you won’t be working hard enough, but also be wary of getting out of it, I have face planted because my training partner didn’t let go of my feet and I overbalanced.
The Planche Progressions
This brings us to the end of the planche progressions series. Once you have been training these exercises you will almost have a solid planche. The final step is to keep pushing and keep improving your planche time every week so that you are continually getting better at it.
When you have that down, a handstand to planche is on the cards . . . One day guys, at the minute I am still learning the planche, I’m getting closer every time I work on it, but it takes a lot of time so be patient and don’t over train or you will hurt yourself.
Coaching Call Availability
In my last post I said that I will soon be opening coaching call opportunities for people who want personal help with their calisthenics training.
In a few short weeks you will be able to buy my time for personal one-on-one coaching. If you would like any information on the coaching calls, or to jump the cue and get in early, email me at: