The planche is a position derived from artistic gymnastics in which the arms are stretched and the body is horizontal to the ground, today it has also become one of the most coveted skills in calisthenics.
It can be performed on the rings, on the barre, or on the floor. Depending on the support, of course, the difficulty level varies. It is essential to keep it in a hollow position.
This position can be reached by extending and depressing the shoulder blade. In this article, we will see the propaedeutic of the planche and what are the correct steps to take to reach it.
Planche Muscles Involved
The shoulder in the planche is in a flexed position the muscles involved are the flexor muscles of the shoulder, the greatest involvement goes to the anterior deltoid, the clavicle bundles of the pectoralis major, the biceps brachialis, and coracobrachialis.
Since the position of the arms is extended, its main extensor, the triceps also intervenes at the level of the elbow.
The position of the shoulders is protracted and depressed in this way the great dorsal intervenes in the lowering of the shoulder, and in the protraction the contraction of the large anterior dentate is important and given the position assumed there is also a strong contraction of the ulnar flexors.
The pelvis must be well fixed and stable, therefore the activation of the gluteus maximus and the hip extensors of the abdominal muscles is strong.
Therefore, proprioception is extremely important to understand how to correctly contract the muscles involved.
Where to Start?
Before starting to delve into this guide, let’s start from an important truth, already said for the front lever the higher and heavier you are the more difficult the exercise will be.
Compared to the others this factor becomes even more important due to the enormous difficulty of the exercise.
While for the front lever you could count on numerous examples of heavy guys who performed them in the planche this number is much tighter.
It is a very long journey for those who are prepared for those who are not even more so, but let’s stop the chatter, and let’s get on with it!
The planche is a thrust exercise it follows that you must be very strong in all these types of exercises specifically, the exercises that give the planche the most transference are those of vertical thrust, as the planche is, to put it in the “BB ”, a shoulder exercise.
Make sure you do about ten vertical push-ups on the wall before approaching the planche.
It will also be fundamental to strengthen the hollow position, the position in which we will find ourselves with the shoulders retracted and depressed, and the pelvis in retroversion, essential to obtain a beautiful planche.
To do this the most suitable exercises are boat and plank in which we will learn to activate ourselves. So make sure you are doing these two important core exercises quietly and in the right setting.
So, in summary, before starting to train the planche make sure you perform at least 10 vertical pushups against the wall and that you hold the plank firmly so that you have enough strength to approach the movement, and the ability to activate in a hollow position.
Planche: The Technique Of Execution
We are going to describe more specifically the technique of execution of the planche which will be in its cornerstones the same for all the preparatory courses.
Let’s start with the arms they will be kept taut in the joint block. To succeed in this, since working with outstretched arms is not natural at all you can initially think of pushing from the elbows instead of from the hands, this should help you to keep them straight.
In any case, any proprioceptive input that leads you to the correct position will be fine.
As far as the position of the shoulder blades is concerned they must be protracted and depressed: a proprioceptive input, in this case, maybe the thought of being hunchbacked contracting the dorsal.
To keep the correct position you must always be in thrust, never in support, under penalty of loss of protraction.
Finally again to respect the dictates of the hollow position the pelvis must be in retroversion. This can create some problems at the level of the line in the legs, especially in some preparatory work – work on the mobility of the lower limbs to reduce this problem.
A final note on the form like all bodyweight exercises, the main discriminating factor is the final aesthetic result of the movement: making a planche activated correctly but broken in the line will be much uglier to see than an in-line planche where you may lose a little ‘protraction and retroversion.
Among other things in the Olympic finals in the rings we often see bulky planche: we always work to get the best but if you make a planche in line even without the accentuated hollow you can consider yourself extremely satisfied.
Now let’s see, step by step, what are the preparatory preparations for the planche:
Frog And Elephant Stand
These first preparatory steps are used to learn how to balance the hands in a horizontal position.
At the level of strength, there are no particular requests as even a sedentary if a minimum coordinated can get to perform the position of breaststroke after a few attempts.
The frog stand is performed by placing the knees sideways to the elbows, the elephant stands on the other hand with outstretched arms with the knees resting behind the elbows.
The latter is already much more complex on a proprioceptive level. Master the frog stand for at least sixty seconds before switching to the straight-arm version
The imbalances in planche are certainly one of the most important preparations which will accompany you from the beginning to the end of your journey.
This is because they are a self-regulating exercise, the more you will unbalance the more you will increase the difficulty as the weight passes hand by hand from the feet to the hands.
The mistake that practically everyone makes at the first approach in the planche lean is to keep the butt at the same level as the shoulders.
To do it in the right way shoulders, hips and feet must be along the same inclined straight line and since the feet are on the ground the line will be oblique, sitting lower than the shoulders.
There are no fixed seconds before moving on to the next propaedeutic, as your strength increases, your imbalance capacity will also increase.
The first “standard” propaedeutic is the Tuck planche version, which is the one with the legs folded up.
Although it is the first preparatory it is certainly not a trivial exercise as it will still require good strength and a good attitude to push.
It is important, especially at the beginning to keep the legs tightly folded to the chest if you do not, you will increase the leverage consequently increasing the difficulty of the exercise, bringing it to a level beyond yours.
We put our hands on the support, we collect the legs well on the ground, then we remove the feet bringing the hips to shoulder height, always keeping the legs actively pushed against our chest.
- You can move on to the next propaedeutic when you manage to hold this position for at least 30″
Advanced Tuck Planche
In this position, the legs will no longer be gathered to the chest, but the angle between the femur and the torso will be 90 °. This will greatly increase the difficulty of the exercise.
Furthermore, there is the problem of the retroversion of the pelvis, which was absent in the collected version as it came automatically. So be careful not to bow during the advance tuck planche.
Even the push of the shoulders here becomes very important as it is easy, given the difficulty to open the shoulders creating an ugly arching to see always stay close to a mirror or recover with the phone, counting only the seconds performed correctly and learning the correct thrust.
- You can move on to the next propaedeutic when you manage to hold this position for at least 15″(if you reach more, however, it does not hurt).
One Leg Planche
In this propaedeutic, we would have one leg pulled up to the chest and one stretched out.
I’m not a big fan of the one leg planche as I don’t like asymmetry and here there is also the balance component, which negatively affects learning the correct movement pattern.
In any case, it can be useful in certain dynamic exercises or as a link between the adv version tuck and straddle.
In this version, we would have the legs extended and spread apart.
Here the opposite occurs with respect to the front in the first the one-legged position is done a lot and the splayed one is not much, in the planche the opposite occurs.
The difficulty in the straddle planche depends a lot on your mobility, and on your ability to spread the more you are able to spread your legs, the simpler the exercise will be.
The demand for mobility is very high, keeping the retroversion of the pelvis apart will be really difficult, and here, more than in other preparatory courses, its absence will be forgiven.
Hold this position for at least 12 ”before moving on to the next
Half Full Lay Planche
In this version, we would have the legs together and in the line up to the knees while the shins will be held together by pushing the heels towards the buttocks.
Here, too, you will have to be extremely mobile in the lower limbs in order not to create like me, visual horrors.
The half-full lay plan is a very difficult propaedeutic, once you master it you will not be far from the final version of the isometry.
- When you get to about 8-10 “you can move on to the final version.
Here we are at the final version!
To do it correctly you will need to have your arms straight, shoulders extended and depressed, and pelvis in retroversion and you must be parallel to the ground from shoulders to feet, which must be on the same line.
- When you hold the full planche isometry for over 5 ”, you can consider yourself really strong.
Our preparatory courses can benefit from a whole series of accessory exercises that will help the nervous system not to run out of isometrics.
This version, which can be used for all the propaedeutics plans to hold the position without the hips and pelvis being in a line parallel to the ground, but oblique to the same.
In this way, it will be possible to generate the position inputs reducing the difficulty.
Planche With Folded Arms
The logic is the same as in the previous version the exercise is performed with the arms at 90° in order to make it easier and concentrate on the proprioceptive sensations on the pelvis, in order to learn the correct position of the body without the difficulties of outstretched arms.
In this exercise, we will move dynamically from one preparatory to the next without going to keep the isometry in the more difficult one.
Therefore, this too represents a connection exercise, when we keep a propaedeutic well and we have to approach the next one.
It will be important not to lose the attitude during the whole movement.
In this dynamic exercise, we will start from the standard support position on the support, to then go to raise the body bringing us into a momentary planche position.
It is important to keep the correct position of the shoulders and pelvis both in departure and in arrival.
Turn Up From Lean
In this exercise we will start with the feet on the ground, we will go to unbalance as much forward as possible until the feet come off bringing us into the planche position.
It is important to always have the body in line, avoiding lifting the butt and then detaching the feet a compensation that makes the exercise much easier.
The most difficult exercise of all among those of the planche involves moving dynamically from the isometric to the vertical position always keeping the body in line and the arms straight.
It goes without saying that to do it correctly you will need a great vertical.
Push-ups in planche, a deftly difficult and extremely spectacular exercise.
To perform it correctly you will have to move the whole body in unison an error that affects even the most experienced is to pull up on your feet before coming up with the body, using a kind of kip.
We conclude this short guide to the execution of the planche and its biomechanics for those wishing to deepen the skill!