After a few years of training, I can finally say these words: I can hold a Planche. It’s pretty crazy what happens once you get it – for some reason, now that I’ve “gotten it,” I can hold it pretty easily every time now (that’s the goal right?).
In case you didn’t know, a Planche is when you hold yourself Parallel to the ground just using your hands. The picture for this blog post is actually the first time I held it for roughly 5 seconds (luckily it was on video!). Essentially, picture the push-up position without your legs touching the ground.
Like anything in life, if I had to go back and do it all over again, there would be a lot of things that I would do differently. My goal with this post is to help you speed up the time to get a Planche, whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been doing it for a while.
Side Note: Regardless of your skill level, remember that a Planche takes a long time to achieve. Your body needs to build enough connective tissue to hold it, and that takes a lot longer to create than just muscle alone. Being patient is actually one of the best Pro Tips I can give right off the bat.
1. No Weightlifting
I experimented a lot by lifting weights that train the muscle groups involved in the Planche, and I noticed zero benefit in doing so. This has also been documented by many “Planche Experts” (if that’s a thing). Because your body needs to build connective tissue in a very specific way, nothing beats doing Planche/Bodyweight Exercises over and over.
Even Simonster, who’s an absolute beast at Bodyweight Holds, stated that the one thing he regrets is lifting weights while training – he admits he wishes he just stuck to bodyweight training. While combining weights and bodyweight is good for other disciples/moves, it doesn’t apply to the Planche.
2. Use a Weighted Vest
I started using a weighted vest near the end of my training and I really wish I used it in the beginning. When it comes to the science of strength training, it’s best to do a ton of weight with extremely low repetitions.
Translating this over to the Planche, I currently do all my exercises with lower reps while wearing a 12lb weighted vest (click that hyperlink to see the exact weighted vest that I personally use). I’ve personally noticed that the ROI (return on my investment) is insane – meaning that while my workouts are a bit harder, the benefits are insane.
3. Train Asymptotically
An asymptote is a line that continually approaches a curve but never actually touches. What does this have to do with Planche training? A lot.
With all other types of training, I usually train until failure. Push-Ups, Bicep Curls, Squats, 100m sprints, etc – it doesn’t matter. Each and every workout I make sure is a completely 10/10 where I push myself 100%
Wither Planche training, however, it’s been discovered by many gymnastic and strength training coaches that it’s best to push yourself but not to the point of exhaustion. For me, I push myself in my Planche workouts to a 9, maybe even 9.5/10 but I’ll never go until failure.
Not only do you increase the risk of injury (especially in the beginning), but you’ll actually get better results working out asymptotically (as I call it). Although this is counter-intuitive, it truly speeds the learning curve.
Anytime you workout you release a bunch of hormones that help you lift more and build muscle. The bigger the body part, the more hormones released. This is why, out of any move in history, the deadlift releases the most amount of muscle building hormones (it targets your back and lower body simultaneously).
Side Note: The Kettlebell Swing also achieves the same result, and I actually prefer the Kettlebell Swing to Deadlifts.
In order to prime my body for 100% Planche action, I’ll make sure to introduce either Hex-Bar Deadlifts or Kettlebell Swings into my workout. This is the only exception where I’ll be lifting weights to get the Planche, however I’m not directly trying to build the Planche – I’m indirectly activating various muscle building hormones to optimize my performance. This is why I call them “Hacklifts” while Planche Training.
5. Use Momentum
One great tip to go from one Planche progression to another is to use Momentum. For example, when training to go from Staddle Planche to Planche, I would get in a Straddle Planche and “clap” my legs. Therefore, I would be holding a Planche, but only for a millisecond. I kept training and worked to increase the time held.
This is also a great way to make your workout more fun. It sucks doing a Planche over and over again, so I always mix it up with some Momentum and movements to make it more interesting.
6. Every Other Day
Especially if you train hard, I highly suggest working out every other day. I’ve seen some suggestions online of working out the Planche everyday, and while that can help if you do it right, you’re more likely to just tire yourself out. Give yourself a days rest in-between workouts, and do zero lifting or strength training on your days off.
In terms of a Planche “schedule,” that’s exactly what I would prescribe: Workout every other day for roughly an hourish.
7. Check Yourself Out
Last but not least, I can’t suggest enough to workout in front of a big body mirror. If you don’t have one, either buy one or you can use your front camera on your phone (although I still find a mirror to be better).
The reason why I suggest this is because it’s very difficult, especially in the beginning, to gauge how your body/form is. By having a mirror right in front of you, you can make quick glances and adjust your body accordingly. The more you do this the more you can quickly “feel” when you’re in the right position – and that just comes with a lot of practice.