The Planche Challenge – How I Plan On Beating My Gymnastics Friends To Planche

Last night I was training for an up and coming gymnastics competition I have decided to compete in – despite having done gymnastics less than a year.


More Than Lifting Straddle Extensions Planche Training
Extended frog stand planche progression


One of the more experienced guys had come back after a few weeks off and he was telling me about his new training targets, mastering the planche and iron cross in the next 6 months.


At the end of the session I was talking with some of the guys about planche training and someone raised the challenge of straddle planche in a month!


Well if it’s a competition I’m in, so I now have to spend the next few weeks training for both the competition and my straddle planche challenge.


The Planche Challenge


The Planche is a horizontal handstand. You hold yourself off the ground on your hands, with your body horizontal to the ground – kind of like a press up.


A Change Of Training Style


To line up with my new months goal, I am going to have to change my training method. Since I injured my back earlier in the year – from over training my planche by the way! – I have been specifically training strength not skills. I have been working on the basic exercises, the pulls the dips and the leg raises.


I now have to switch this into skill mode, so I need to be putting the effort into training all of the time, I mean like 5 times a day!


I will no longer be doing reps and sets, I am going to seriously improve my isometric skills instead.


I will spend time doing pomodoro workouts – 5 minute sessions between writing or working or whatever.


Training For Skill Not Strength


Skill Training is all about training your nervous system or neural-muscular system. This is just the connection between your brain and muscles. Being able to recruit every muscle fibre in your body is the secret to mastering handstands, planches, levers and flags.


But you cant train for an hour every 2 days. I will need to work it constantly in short intervals so I don’t knacker out my muscles and can keep pushing at 100%.


Strength training on the other hand would need me to exhaust my muscles each time I work, meaning I will also need to take time to rest and recover.


I don’t have time to spend recovering, I already have a fair bit of strength, I need to focus on using the strength I have to develop control and stability.


My Master Planching Plan


So I have a month to Straddle Planche, and 6 months to pull off a perfect Planche.


Today is Day 1, I am literally writing this on my way to work Today, the 3rd of September.


Today I have a meet up to go to after work, so I don’t have a lot of chance to train today. Luckily I don’t need a lot of time to train, so what I am going to do is record my current standing with the planche when I get home.


This will be my starting point, I will be doing various exercises every day to help develop the nervous system to recruit and coordinate the muscle fibres.


I am going to start training every day specifically to develop my planche.


Over the next month I am going to be posting regular updates on my planche progress, plus nervous system training sessions and workouts for you to follow along with.


Check out my Instagram and Twitter for these updates and get involved with the planche challenge!




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