In this article, we’ll provide a method to maximize progress towards one of the most static skills which is the planche. Through static bodyweight workouts that are somewhat more complex than conventional resistance training. When training with weights, one can add weights on the bars in order to raise intensity, however as strength improves, static calisthenics workouts are usually moved by lengthening an arm to create the mechanical disadvantage. Thus, progressing in calisthenics is usually more complex and requires more thinking. An analogy that can help you get this concept in mind is to imagine standing a stick in a horizontal position with the weight attached to it. The further you remove the weight from your hands, the more difficult it becomes for you to keep the stick from spinning towards the floor. Similar is the case with levers and planchets. The closer your center of mass is situated to your shoulders, the more comfortable it is to grasp, and the farther you spread your weight away from your shoulders, the more difficult it is. This is the reason it is more comfortable to tuck than to stride and straddle is less difficult than full.
It is possible to progress to planche or lever by beginning with tuck hold. Then, over time, you can hold a position by slowly straightening the knees and hips. We don’t recommend that people advance in this way is because it’s difficult to determine the correctness with regards to the set’s progress without objective measurement or feedback. For instance, if you attempt to reproduce the hip’s flexion of 75°,, it’s likely that you’ll have some degree of error. In some sets, you could be able to flex up to 80 degrees, and others up to 70 degrees. If you’re not able to maintain consistency between sets, it’s difficult to keep track of your progress, and you could be playing the wheel during your training. I prefer clear solid progressions that can be reproduced precisely across sets. To this end, I usually advance in the form of the tuck, advance tucks to 45°, straightening, and full positions. It doesn’t matter what techniques you employ as long as they’re of increasing difficulty and are able to be replicated reliably. You can, for instance, decide to move up the advanced tucks, tucks, one foot, half-lay, and full positions.
A variation where one leg is extended to its maximum while the other leg is worthy of a detailed discussion because it is useful. It is generally of the same difficulty to a straddle variant and is generally the more comfortable or easier option for those who have low hip abduction. If you are inclined to arch your lower back while performing straddle holds, the single-leg variation could aid in learning to better manage your posture in the lumbar and pelvic areas since flexing one leg is more beneficial to maintain an anterior pelvic tilt. Lumbo-pelvic control and strength can be improved by incorporating this into the straddle.
Planche push-ups and lever raises can be used to increase muscle mass and speed up strength gains if you discover that you have an issue that is specific to you, like weak scapular protraction. When you do the planche, this issue is something that can be addressed at the conclusion of your workout.
A good illustration of how I plan my training to increase my static skills throughout the course of one week is to have planche-focused sessions on Wednesday and Monday, and front lever sessions on Tuesday and Thursday. A typical front lever session might be as follows: four sets of isometric 15-second hold with the three sets consisting of 5 lever raises, and the two sets consisting of 8 rows of scapular unilateral rows for each arm.
When choosing a progression, there’s no need to complicate the process by using every possible progression. Most of the time, you can reach your desired result with constant effort by employing 5 to 6 postures to tackle. Additionally, you can use different shapes to tackle specific weaknesses or overcome plateaus.
Let’s look at what to program. There are many methods to program to achieve similar results, this strategy is an easy and reliable long-term solution. Choose a sequence you can hold for between 10 and 20 seconds. You should do this for 4 to 6 sets, 2 to 3 times a week. You should have at least 48 hours in between sessions in this muscle. Additionally, once per week, when you’re feeling fresh, do some sets of your highest volume (five-second hold) taking a few seconds short of failing. This technique provides a healthy balance of volume and intensity. Long holds, such as 60 seconds long can be beneficial to help improve technique, for instance, but they’re not essential and shouldn’t be the sole focus of your workout. If you’re having trouble bridging the gap between levels or steps, performing additional sets using bands that are in the tougher place or with repetitions that alternate between the more difficult position and an easy one can help to get you comfortable with the next step and accelerate your progress. The addition of ankle weights to your current program can be beneficial as it offers the ability to move in a controlled and gradual manner between two levels, in combination with static holds or active exercises.