Planche – Exercise That Will Help You Build Superhuman Strength
Planche is one of those extreme skills only a few humans will ever be able to pull off. It requires balance and almost superhuman strength.
However, it will still be beneficial to work on achieving this difficult skill. Even if you never reach the full planche hold, you can still benefit from going through a planche progression.
It will help you build your strength which can be used in other pushing exercises. You will experience these benefits if you are working on one arm push up or handstand push up.
If you want strong shoulders, wrists, and core muscles, you will definitely benefit from doing preparation exercises for the planche.
What is a planche
Planche is the pinnacle of a planche progression. It’s the hardest exercise in this progression. This skill will help you improve the strength of your shoulders, abs, back, and your arms. You will also need to balance your body in this position.
It’s an isometric hold exercise. This means you will not be moving during the exercise. You will just be holding one position and that’s it.
However, “just holding” is something most people will never be able to do.
The main benefit of this skill is developing enormous strength. Especially the strength of your deltoid muscles. Delts are your outer shoulder muscles.
But, without strong arms, back, and core muscles, you will not be able to do it. You will also need flexible and strong wrists to pull it off.
So planche will help you build strong shoulders, arms, back, and abs. It will also help you build strong and flexible wrists.
Even if you never reach the strength required for a full planche, working on its progression will help you develop strength beyond what you might ever expect.
Who should avoid doing planche?
This skill is advanced and you should not just jump into it. Yes, there is a progression that will prepare you for it in step by step fashion. But it will still not be the best choice for some people.
You should avoid doing planche in case:
- You have weak wrists / your wrists hurt
- You have weak shoulders / your shoulders hurt
- You are overweight
- You are injured or recovering from any kind of injury
- You are just starting out and can’t do basic moves like push ups and plank on knees
Planche muscles worked
Delts are the primary muscles worked in this move. However, there are other muscles involved in it too.
Planche muscles worked:
- Upper back
- Lower back
To be able to do a full planche, you should be able to do a straddle variant first. To be able to do a straddle planche you will need a lot of strength in your entire body. You will primarily need a lot of strength in your shoulders.
Secondly, you will need strong and flexible wrists that can endure this load. But, if you are not already at this level of strength and flexibility, you can start with easier skills in planche progression.
There are some other things that should be considered when working on this move. The planche will be easier to do for shorter people with shorter, leaner legs. It will also be easier for leaner and younger people.
However, if you have mastered basic skills like push up and plank on knees you can start at the beginning of the progression and work yourself up step by step.
There are no actual prerequisites for starting a planche progression. It will start with knee leaning planks which should be doable for almost all levels of fitness abilities.
But, it would be beneficial if you are able to do a standard push up and plank on knees. You can start with leaning planks – the easiest exercise in a progression.
If you start slowly and take care you don’t feel pain in your shoulders you should be fine. You can start this progression safely.
How to perform a planche
You can perform a planche on the floor, or on dip bars. It is easier to do this exercise on dip bars than on the floor.
If you are doing it on the floor, more wrist strength and flexibility will be required.
Let’s assume you are doing planche on the floor.
Lay down on your belly. Place your hands right next to your hips. Lift your entire body up from the floor.
You should balance your entire body parallel to the floor. Only your hands will be on the floor. Your arms would hold your entire body weight. To be able to hold this position your arms should be angled to the floor.
Hold this position as long as you can.
If you are not able to do a full planche hold, you can start with easier exercises. Easier skills will help you increase your strength and flexibility so you can do this challenging version with perfect form.
If you want to do something easier to prepare your body for this version here are a few exercises that you can try from easiest to hardest:
This skill is the hardest one in the progression.
How long will it take to do a full planche
This is a tough question to answer. As already mentioned it will depend on a few different things:
- Your weight
- Your height
- Length of your arms and legs
- Weight of your legs
- Your age
Depending on those traits it will depend on how long and if you will ever be able to do this exercise. If you are young, you are short with short arms and legs, your can expect to do it in 6 months up to a year or two. If you are over 50 and have very long arms and legs you might never be able to do it.
Planche is a great exercise for developing primarily your deltoid muscles. But, you will need your entire body strength improved to be able to do it. It will also improve your balance.
This is the hardest skill in a planche progression. When you master it, you will be able to use acquired strength in other upper body progressions and exercises. Especially in pushing exercises and progressions like one arm push up and handstand push up progressions.