The planche has got to be one of the most “wowed” skills anyone has ever come across, especially if you see it in person: it looks ridiculously unreal. In a planche, a person begins in a push up position followed by leaning forward with shoulders to levitate their legs off the ground.
The tuck planche is a progression towards the full planche and many people find it tough to get started. This is because the first progression is usually the hardest part to learn for complete beginners. The primary muscles used in the tuck planche are the anterior deltoids, abdominals, pectoralis major, triceps, biceps, and serratus anterior.
In this article tutorial, I will be showing you exercises to work towards the tuck planche, along with the technique of the tuck planche so that you can get the best results.
Tuck Planche progression
This progression will get you used to loading your shoulders with more of your body weight along with building your straight arm strength so that you can have a neat-looking tuck planche.
- Begin in a push up position with your feet against the wall. The wall will prevent you from leaning backward and making this exercise even harder.
- Shift your weight forward so that you are leaning excessively on your shoulders. Your goal is to a point where your hands are in line with the center of your body to make it possible to eventually lift your feet off the floor.
- Ensure that your shoulders are depressed, scapular protracted, pelvis tucked under your tailbone, and your glutes squeezed.
- Hold this position for 12 seconds, 5 sets, with 2 minutes rest in between sets.
Pusedo Planche Push Ups
The pseudo planche push up is an absolute must-do exercise, whether you are a beginner or an advanced athlete holding a 5-second straddle planche. This is a great exercise to get your shoulders strong for planche development.
- Begin in a push up position with your feet against the wall.
- Shift your weight forward to be in a planche lean position. Maintain shoulder depression, scapular protraction, pelvis tucked under your tailbone, core, and glutes squeezed.
- Keeping body tension, lower down into a push up until your elbows are 90 degrees. A bad form is when there is no scapular protraction and the hip sags.
- Return to the planche lean position by extending your arms. Hold the top position with straight arms for a second before doing another rep.
- Repeat this movement for 5 reps, 5 sets, with 2-minute rest in between sets.
Standing Banded Protraction
This is a great exercise for conditioning the serratus anterior which strengthens your scapula protraction. To begin, do this exercise with a light band and gradually progress onto a heavier band.
- Begin by standing tall with a band wrapped around your middle back and your hands holding on to each end of the band.
- Keeping your shoulders depressed and arms straight in front, retract your shoulder blades.
- Protract your scapulas by pushing out your shoulder blades as far as possible. Keep your shoulders depressed, core and glutes squeezed.,
- Repeat this for 10 reps, 4 sets, with 2-minute rest in between sets.
Straight Arm Frogstand
This is an assisted tuck planche, and it is a progression towards the handstand and the tuck planche. The frog stand is pretty easy to balance and it helps to build shoulders and straight arm strength.
- Begin in a squat position with your palms on the floor, wrists, and elbows externally rotated.
- Shift your weight forward with a straight arm using your shoulders. Have your knees resting on the outside of your elbows at the same time as you are leaning forward. Your feet will naturally come off the floor.
- Once your legs are off the floor, focus on keeping your elbows locked out and use your hands/fingers to balance. This may be difficult to get used to the position and balance, but stay patient and consistent, the hold will eventually stick.
- Repeat this for 5-10 seconds, 5 sets, with 2-minute rest in between sets.
This is the official first planche variation, which is derived from the strength you have gained from the above progressions.
- Place your hands on the ground with your wrist turned out at 45 degrees, elbows are locked out and externally rotated.
- Lean forward with your shoulders and lift your toes off the ground, bringing your knees tightly into your chest and engage your core. Ensure that your shoulders are depressed, scapulars are protracted, and posterior pelvic tilt to avoid arched back.
- Hold this position between 5-10 seconds, 5 sets, with 2-minute rest in between sets. Train to hold this position for at least 15 seconds.
- If you experience wrist pain from this exercise, you can do this with parallel bars which will put less pressure on your wrists.
Tuck Planche Training
Now that you know the best exercises for the tuck planche, let’s begin your tuck planche training. First of all, you will need to warm up by doing a variety of dynamic and static stretches, with a heavy emphasis on wrist mobility, to increase the range of motion and prevent unnecessary injuries.
Start out by training 3 times a week with a full day rest in between workouts. The workouts will be consistent and similar as it is better to keep the skill and exercises consistent rather than doing something different every session. This is skill training that focuses on building the connection between mind and muscle, rather than building muscle. Consistency and repetition are key.
Here is an example workout plan that you will stick to for the first 4 weeks. Then you would apply progressive overload by increasing the number of repetitions or time held in each progression, along with introducing new exercises into the program to work towards the advanced tuck planche, which is the second progression.
The Takeaways: Tuck Planche Training
I hope that these four exercises will help you to build up the foundation for you to be able to hold the tuck planche. Just like with any skills in calisthenics, it is important to get really comfortable with the basics first as it acts as the stepping stone for the more advanced moves.
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I’m Pat Chadwick, a qualified Level 2 and Level 3 calisthenics coach and athlete from London, England, with six years of experience. I’ve competed in various UK competitions, including the Kalos Stenos Championships, where I achieved third place in the lightweight category. My passion is highlighting the beauty of calisthenics as an authentic and pure form of body expression. I believe that everyone has the potential to become a champion of their body and mind, and that calisthenics opens the door to personal empowerment.