3 Month Journey Learning How to do a Planche
Are you interested in learning how to do a planche? Me too; here’s my 3-month journey, my workouts, what I’ve learned and how I plan to achieve a straddle planche as a female calisthenics athlete.
3-Month Tucked Planche Progress
In the past 3 months of actively pursuing a planche, I:
- increased my tuck planche from 8 seconds to 25 seconds
- can open to a piked straddle planche for a few seconds
- Went from 0 tucked planche push ups to 5 in a row
- can almost hold an advanced tuck
- achieved a stalder press by accident
Today I’ll cover what I’ve learned training planche for 3 months, what exercises I don’t do and why, and I’ll walk you through my beginner tucked planche workout routine with the goal of achieving a full planche.
Welcome my name is Summerfunfitness. I am a self-taught female calisthenics athlete with no gymnastics training.
How I Started Training Planche
To be honest, planche didn’t appeal to me at the start; I only incorporated it because it was an area I was weak in, and I knew to become a better calisthenics athlete, I needed to improve my straight arm pushing strength. Due to my lack of interest in the beginning, I was only training it once a week.
How I avoided planche injuries
And it’s probably good that I started at such a low training frequency as it allowed my elbows, wrists and shoulders to fully recover between sessions. Honestly, had learning planche been my primary goal 3 months ago, I would have overtrained and would have ended up injured (which is common when training planche).
I was exhausted the first few weeks
In the beginning weeks, training planche was EXTREMELY exhausting – even for someone with a high level of strength. I mean, I could already do 18 pull-ups, 10 muscle-ups, human flag and even handstand push-ups. Yet, planche training kicked my butt for a while. My nervous system would be so fatigued after the workout that I’d have to go straight to bed afterwards.
Here is the planche workout I followed for the first couple of weeks:
But alot has changed since I made that planche workout.
How it started
My main exercise on my planche day was working up to 2 minutes of accumulated hold time in a tucked planche position. To achieve the total hold time, I needed massive breaks, could only hold it for 8-10 seconds, and needed foot support to finish the reps, or I’d drop down to a tucked L-sit if needed. Reaching the 2 minutes of hold time took FOREVER.
How its going
Over a few weeks, I worked up to accumulating the 2 minutes of hold time in the full tuck planche position, in much shorter sets, with less rest time in between reps. It’s much nicer now as it doesn’t take up so much time.
I don’t like using resistance bands…
Initially, I experimented with many planche exercises (like using resistance bands) in order to figure out what I liked/what worked well for my body AND what I could maintain over the next 8-week training cycle. Through this experimentation phase, I formulated a more straightforward routine that works well for my body that doesn’t require much setup time (I’ve nixed the Box Maltese Raises for now and threw the bands out the window).
The Secret to Getting Stronger at Planche?
I’ve been able to hold a tiny tucked planche for years without training for it, so in order to learn how to do a planche, I needed to put time and effort in to really see any progress.
Once I got to a place where I could complete the 2 min tucked planche holds without dying, I decided to move on to weighted tuck planche to improve the basics.
Weighted tuck planche holds are superior
I’ve NEVER seen someone do a weighted tuck planche hold…but I thought I’d try it out because I am a huge fan of strengthening the basics. So I added weight to my tuck planche as soon as I hit a bit of a plateau to increase the difficulty.
The first time I did a weighted tuck planche hold, I could open to straddle for the first time – immediately after!!!! That’s when I decided to switch to doing 1 min of body weight holds to warm up, followed by 1 minute of weighted tuck planche holds.
Why I don’t use resistance bands for tuck planche training
Most people would say that when the tuck planche becomes easy, use a resistance band to get into the next progression, which is the advanced tuck planche. But I don’t like using resistance bands for planche as you can rely on them too much, it’s easy to set up the angle differently each time, and you can overload your wrist before they’re strong enough for that position.
Plus, I see SOOO many athletes doing advanced progressions of a planche using a band without even being able to hold a bodyweight tuck planche (the beginner step), and that just doesn’t work for my style. I prefer to get strong at the foundational movement first rather than jumping up progressions that aren’t anywhere close to my current capabilities. I do think using an extremely light band could be a good way to bridge the gap between planche progressions, but I have yet to experiment with doing so.
Always strengthening the basics
So, instead of using a resistance band to get my advanced tuck, I added weight to increase the difficulty of the movement I could already do – the tuck planche. To me, making the thing you can already do harder is the easiest way to make progress.
Here’s an image of my current advanced tuck planche vs a full advanced tuck planche demoed by Andry Strong.
My Current Tucked Planche Training Schedule
I had no intention of making planche a big part of my training, but inevitably that’s what has happened. As a calisthenics content creator, I find it very difficult to balance film days and my regular training as my film days take away my strength for my regular workouts, and my regular workouts have to be adjusted so I’m not too tired to film.
Because of my career choice, I have to be more go with the flow and take workouts as they come. I’m less capable of following a regimented calisthenics training program.
Straight Arm/Bent Arm Training Split
Since starting planche, I seem to be rotating between bent arm days and straight arm days plus one handstand day. The other few days of the week, I focus on what I didn’t train that week, whether that’s legs, mobility or handstands.
I wish my routine could be more regimented, but I’m doing my best to balance work, relationships, creating content, working out, climbing, walking my dog, rock climbing, eating healthy…etc.
Beginner Workout Routine to Learn How to Planche
This is the second phase of my beginner tucked planche training. I rotate between this workout, and a bent arm day.
1. General Warm-Up and Positional Drills
2. BW Tucked Planche Holds
Accumulate 1 min of hold time. Track your hold times/sets to make sure you improve across a few weeks. Start with 10 second holds.
3. Weighted Tuck Planche Holds
Accumulate 1 min of hold time. Track your hold times/sets to make sure you improve across a few weeks.
4. Front Lever
15 sec x 3 sets x 120s+ rest
Beginner Modification: Tucked Front Lever or Banded Front Lever
5. Option A. Handstand to Straight Arm Planche Negatives
3 reps, 6-8 sec lowers, 3 sets, 120s+ rest.
You can lower to bent arm planche if you prefer.
5. Option B. Planche to Tucked Planche Push Ups
5-second planche hold, 5 tuck planche push-ups, 3-second planche hold, 3 tucked planche push-ups, 1-second hold, 1 tucked planche push-ups. 2-3 Sets.
5. Option C. Regular Tucked Planche Push-Ups
6 reps x 3 sets
Learning How to do a Planche
I’m just three months into this planche journey and starting to love it. I’m MUCH stronger at anything straight arm pushing, I can open to a pike straddle, and my core is getting tremendously stronger. I plan to continue working towards planche for the next 8 weeks, then reassess where I’m at.
How cool would it be to get a full straddle planche by the mid-summer 2023 👀
If you want to follow along with me, start with my phase 1 tuck planche workout 1 time per week until you feel ready to bump it to 2x per week. When you can easily accumulate 2 minutes of hold time in a tuck planche, move towards my 2nd phase tuck planche workout 2x per week.