One skill everybody who practices calisthenics aspires to learn is the straddle planche. The planche is one hell of a challenging move, which will take a lot of time and practice. On Youtube, countless videos are telling you to do this exercise or that exercise, but the planche is more than that. Your mindset also needs to be on point, otherwise, you will fail in the progress.
A couple of months ago, I made a post on how to achieve the tuck planche. This week I decided to make a post in which I will explain how I unlocked the straddle planche and how you can learn it too!
I will give you a complete break-down of the move, and I will show you all the exercises and tricks I used to master the straddle planche.
Before I start anything straddle-planche-related, there are some conditionals you must meet before you start training. To avoid injuries and other problems, you must have a solid base of shoulder strength. I advise you to have at least a couple of seconds of advanced tuck planche. Handstand push-ups are also a need. These does not need to be free-standing handstand push-ups against a wall is also fine. The next crucial thing is core strength. If you lack core strength, you will never be able to hold a clean straddle planche.
If you don’t meet these criteria, make sure you focus on these first before moving on to the straddle planche.
Understanding the move
If you are still reading, I assume you met the criteria. If so, it is time to dive into the next subject, understanding the straddle planche.
It is essential to know what kind of skill you are dealing with, doing some research can really help you to prevent injuries and optimize your workouts.
The straddle planche is a skill that demands a crazy amount of strength and a little bit of balance. The whole purpose of the move is to lean forward, which makes it possible to lift your legs. This however, requires a lot of shoulder and core strength. Besides these two, wrist mobility also plays a crucial part. If you practice the planche on the ground or with parallettes, with both, it is very important to have well-developed wrists. Wrist mobility should become a side-goal if you want to learn the straddle planche, otherwise, it could limit your progress.
Straddle planche progressions
When it comes to progressions, you should keep it simple. I am assuming your current level at this moment is advanced tuck. If not, I suggest you achieve this progression first.
The traditional planche order is tuck planche-adv tuck planche-straddle planche-full planche. So if you have mastered the advanced tuck planche, your focus is going to be entirely on the straddle planche.
Some people suggest you work on the one-legged planche, but I strongly advise you don’t listen to that. The one-leg planche is, in my opinion, a waste of time. It uses different muscles and could create muscle imbalances. Keep it uncomplicated and let your main focus be the straddle planche.
Straddle planche exercises
Training for the planche isn’t just strength training, you need to specifically train for it. Many people are strong, but only a few can do a planche. The exercise I have listed below are some of my favorite straddle-planche exercises that helped me achieve this skill.
Swing to straddle planche
Entering a straddle as a beginner can be a real challenge. However, by using momentum, you can make it more bearable. To execute this exercise, you do need a set of dip bars or some higher surface from where you can swing your legs. Swing yourself back and forth. Use the momentum to enter the straddle planche position. Try to hold this position for as long as you can, fall back in the starting position. Repeat this process for a couple of sets and reps.
Tuck planche push-ups
The tuck planche push-up is a perfect exercise to strengthen the needed muscles for the planche. You start in a tuck-planche position and lower and push yourself up while maintaining the tuck-planche position. In the beginning, this exercise can be quite hard, but it will definitely improve your planche-game. I highly suggest you implement this exercise in your planche routine.
Assisted straddle planche
For this exercise, you have to own a resistance band. In this exercise, you basically attempt the straddle planche with the cleanest form. With the band, it is possible to do harder progressions. This way, you get to know the movement, which will improve your technique. You probably need a strong resistance band at first. But, over time, you can decrease the load until you can do without a band.
If you have trouble holding the straddle planche, try to lower yourself into the planche from a handstand. Entering a planche with a negative motion will make it easier to hold it. Start by jumping into a handstand and slowly transition to the straddle planche. Move controllably and keep your arms straight. Eventually, you will notice the straddle planche will get easier, a great way to increase your hold time.
When I was still learning the straddle planche, I did a ton of handstand push-ups. The handstand push-up is, in my opinion, the best shoulder exercise. They demand strength and balance, which are both needed for the straddle planche. If you cannot do a handstand push-up freestanding, begin with doing them against a wall. After some time you will be able to do it without a wall.
Straddle planche attempts
Last exercise but definitely not the least, Doing a ton of attempts is probably the best exercise to get the straddle planche fast. There is a method called greasing the grove. This is when you do attempts all over your day when you have some spare time left. In my opinion the more times you try, the faster you will achieve it.
In this video all exercises mentioned above will be demonstrated.
Tips and tricks
To end this tutorial, I have some tips and tricks that will help you with your progress.
Floor and parallettes
There are two ways to practice the planche, on parellettes or the floor. Most people will find the planche on parallettes easier. That is because, on the ground, it is harder to balance, and you use fewer muscles in your wrist. However, in the end, it does not matter. It is all personal preference. But, I highly advise training both regularly. I did most of my planches on parallettes and almost none on the floor. Now, I realize that I’m a lot weaker on the ground than on the parallettes. Therefore, try to balance it.
Doing the calisthenics basics are a crucial part of your training, do not neglect these. Exercises such as push-ups, dips and, pull-ups help you build and maintain a solid foundation, which you need for the hard calisthenics skills like the planche. So besides doing the exercises mentioned above, do your basics too!
Like I said earlier, the planche is impossible if you lack core strength. Therefore I recommend you train your core frequently. With this, I mean your abs, but also your lower back. The stronger your core, the easier the planche will be.
The planche is a really intensive move. You should train it often and consistently. However, do not overtrain it. Rest is besides working out a major part of your training. Therefore, I suggest you plan around three planche workouts a week. It is possible to do four, but if you feel sore you should rest.