Full Planche (Oct 2019)

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      I managed a passable human flag after only 21 days so I wanted more of a challenge. The full planche looks insane and I don’t expect to do it in under 3 months, so luckily there are several progressions before then which I can check off.


      Advanced Frogstand (Crane Pose)
      Tuck Planche
      Advanced Tuck Planche
      Straddle Planche
      Full Planche

      The article recommends being able to hold one move for 30 seconds before moving on, we’ll see how that goes.

      7 Oct

      Plank Lean – 5 x 20 secs
      Frogstand – 10,13,7,6,10,7,25,27 secs (105 total)
      L-Sit – 20,15,15,15 secs

      Plank lean was part of another progression that counts 5 x 20 secs as a pass. Adding in an ab move every day as that’s a weak area of mine.

      9 Oct

      Straddle Plank Lean – 20,20,20,13,16 secs
      Frogstand – 5,5,5,5,30,21,10,5,5,5,5,20 secs (121 total)
      Straddle Sit – 5,5,5,10,8 secs

      The idea behind the frogstand is to accumulate ~150 secs of time under tension. I simply try to balance as long as I can with varying success. I did manage a full 30 seconds on the bars I have, I also alternated to using the floor which my current PB is 21 secs.

      11 Oct

      Handstand lean – 3,2,2,2,2 reps
      Frogstand – 25,10,5,5 secs (45 total)
      Single Leg Front Plank – 3 x 60 secs

      Handstand lean was much harder than I anticipated. You do a handstand against the wall facing towards it with body less than vertical. Then you walk your hands out to a point while walking your feet down the wall, then fix your wrists in place and keep walking the feet a little further down, which forces the shoulders to lean beyond the wrists and put you in a planche. You hold a tough position for 2-4 seconds and go back, which I counted as 1 rep. Shoulders and hands were both knackered after that and my frogstands went to pieces, so I called it a day. Plank was just lifting one foot off the ground and alternating every 10 seconds.

      Here’s my straddle plank lean. It’s a pretty intense move and my biceps feel it.


        14 Oct

        Straddle Plank Lean – 10,11,14,17,13 secs
        Frog Stand – 4,7,6,7,5,10,15,12,7,15,28,8,5 secs (119 total)
        L-Sit – 5 x 20 secs

        Very scrappy frog stands, switched to the bars to accumulate some longer holds. L-sit strong.

        16 Oct

        Straddle Plank Lean – 20,18,20,18,15 secs
        Frog Stand – 7,7,5,23,14,9,16,20,7,30 secs (136 total)
        Straddle Sit – 5,12,5,5,8,12 secs

        Hard to judge how far my straddle lean should be but it feels right. I was repeating the scrappy holds of the last session until I re-watched the frog stand tutorial from School of Calisthenics and that made all the difference (note the jump from 7,7,5 second holds to 23 secs). Previously my hands were turned out too much, trying to mimic the plank lean, whereas if the fingers face forward then they can provide a force to balance me when I lean forward too much.

        Ended with a 30 second hold from the floor, meaning I can progress to the next variation.

        18 Oct

        Raised Plank Lean – 2 x 4 x 3 sec holds, 11, 14, 14 secs
        Advanced Frog Stand (still in contact with floor) – 9, 6, 15, 12 secs
        Advanced Frog Stand (no support) – 2 x 1 sec (haha)
        Raised Plank Hold – 60,50,50 secs

        I didn’t enjoy the handstand lean so I tried to mimic it by raising my feet and walking them forward for brief holds at end range. I then realised what I’m doing is the next progression after straddle plank lean, and so I did them for single long holds of 10-15 secs.

        The advanced frog stand is a whole different challenge to the normal one and I was struggling. Rather than continue doing < 1 second holds I tried to simplify it by placing my hands ~14 inches from the wall so that if I did go forward my head would rest on the wall for support. I also had a footstool so I didn't have to "pop" off my feet into position and could turn it into a gradual lean. I had to simplify it again by getting to the point where my toes were about to leave the stool and holding it there. The advances frog stand is a serious amount of tension in the arms and was quite a strength challenge for me, and even holding just prior to toes off was something I couldn't hold for long. I read online that some people believe Tuck Planche (the next progression) to be easier or equivalent, so I'm not intimidated about being so many difficulty levels away from full planche. My experience of the human flag has shown me that I can be innovative and find some sort of hold I can do for 10-15 secs that I can make more difficult week on week to always ensure I'm progressing.


          21 Oct

          Raised Plank Lean – 5 x 20 secs
          Advanced Frogstand with Toes – 15,20,15,15,15 secs
          L-Sit Hold – 20,15,15,15 secs

          23 Oct

          Narrow Pushups – 20
          Raised Plank Lean, Tucked Feet – 3 x 20 secs
          Advanced Frogstand – 4,4,4,4,5,5,9 secs (39 total)
          Hanging Knee Raises – 12,10,10,10

          Minor concern that I’ll lose some strength so I started with some narrow pushups. I stopped after 3 sets of raised lean with tucked feet as it felt roughly the same as the straight body version, so I knew I could complete the final 2 sets. I jumped straight into the advanced frogstand with no support, feeling that I can now build some balance. I failed ‘forward’ mostly, but could quickly shift my legs to catch myself and so the concerns of falling on my head during practice were unfounded.

          25 Oct

          Narrow Pushups – 15
          Supported TRX Tuck Planche – 12,20,12 secs
          Advanced Frogstand – 9,12,17,12,15,19,4,20 secs (108 total)
          TRX Tucks – 9,8,10,11

          I dusted off my TRX bands and tried to hold a tucked position with planche but the stability wasn’t there and the body position looked awful when watching footage back. I abandoned that and went for a frogstand on the parallettes, pleasantly surprised by how comfortable I’d become so soon. I’m quietly confident that I can nail 30 seconds on Monday but otherwise hope to do so within the next week. That would take me onto tuck planche and one step closer to full planche.

          The progression I’m following is Frog Stand, Advanced Frog Stand, Tuck Planche, Advanced Tuck Planche, Straddle Planche and Full Planche. The texts I read suggested being able to hold one for 30 seconds before moving on. Here’s ~20 secs of the Adv Frog Stand.


            28 Oct

            Narrow Pushups – 15
            Advanced Frog Stand – 13, 12, 26, 23, 30 secs (104 total)
            Supported Tuck Planche – 10 secs, 8 secs
            L-Sit – 20 secs
            Straddle Sit – 15, 18, 10 secs

            Knew I could nail a 30 second hold and got it eventually.

            30 Oct

            Narrow Pushups – 15
            Straddle Plank Lean w Alt Foot Raise – 3 x 20 secs
            Straddle Plank Lean w Alt Knee Tuck – 2 x 20 secs
            Tuck Planche w SL Support – 2 x 20 secs
            Straddle Sit – 4 x 15 secs

            I went through a few of the progressions on my way to a tuck planche, starting with a straddle plank lean and raising one foot for 5 secs then changing feet. Did the same but brought the leg in to a tucked knee. Both of these were easy enough that I felt I needed to focus on something else if I’m going to strengthen my position.

            1 Nov

            Narrow Pushups – 20
            Straddle Plank Lean w Alt Knee Tuck – 20 secs
            Straddle Plank Lean to Tuck Planche – 5,5,4
            Tuck Planche w SL Support – 20 secs
            Tuck Planche – 5,3,4,5,5,5,6,6 secs (39 total)
            Stir The Pot – 4 x 30 secs

            I tried bringing in both knees from the straddle into a tuck and that felt quite nice, and I could only hold for 2 secs so I counted those as “reps” of that motion. I tried tuck planche and can hold 5-6 secs but it doesn’t feel right, and feedback on Insta was that I should try more of an arm lean, which I’ll need anyway to get to a full planche. Finished with stir the pot on a swiss ball.

            Here’s my (brief) tuck planche:


              4 Nov


              I rested on the Monday. My arms are feeling slightly fatigued and my elbows are a little troublesome. I’ve done 12 sessions in a row and it feels like a good time to recover further.

              6 Nov

              Pseudo Planche Pushups – 12
              Advanced Frog stand, Floating Knee – 4,3,8,5,6 secs
              Tuck Planche w Toes – 8,18,13,14,16 secs
              Hanging Knee Raise – 11
              Hanging Leg Raise – 8,8,6

              I picked up the pseudo pushup off an Insta comment and I like them, will do more sets in future. I tried what I felt was an intimidating variation, doing the advanced frog stand but only one knee is in contact with the back of the arm, the other “floats” i.e. it’s held in the tuck position. This was harder on one side and highlighted a weakness in my core. Tuck planche was along the same lines as how I learned the advanced frog stand, getting to the balance point and holding it just before I lift the toes. I finished with abs and went for the harder version of straight legs being raised to waist height.

              8 Nov

              Pseudo Planche Pushups – 14
              Tuck Planche w Toes – 15, 16, 20, 15, 13 secs
              Advanced Frog stand, Floating Knee – 7, 8, 6, 5 secs
              Tuck Planche – 5,5,6,6,7,7,7,7 secs
              V-Sits – 18,18,18,14

              Better structure, starting with what should be 5 x 20 secs of a move. The floating knee was no easier and if anything I felt it would be no tougher than holding both legs, so I switched to the full tuck planche. I did these off mini bars, getting more of a lean than last time. This time my shoulders were giving way and abs were better. Finished with V-Sits for the abs.

              This is far more disjointed than training for the frog stand and so I spent the evening watching YouTube tutorials. I found Artem Morozov who immediately highlighted the difference between a good tuck (higher legs, more angle) and a bad one (basically what I’m doing). Both are technically a tuck, but the good one sets you up much better for full planche. He said that the standard progression model of Tuck –> Adv Tuck –> Straddle –> Full, doesn’t work as they’re essentially different skills, and to focus on posterior pelvic tilt.

              Another video with a pro gymnast spoke of strengthening the core in the extended leg position, otherwise all this time doing tucks isn’t helping because those muscles aren’t getting trained. That’s why I’ve been setting time aside to do abs each session, but I don’t feel many have a good carry over to the full planche. He demo’ed a kind of reverse hyper and that’s something I’ll try to replicate, either bent legged off a gym bench or a work bench I have in the garage. He said planche leans with feet on a swiss ball were good as the ball moves and offers a stability challenge, so lots to think about. Finally I want to copy what I tried for learning the human flag, and prop my feet up with a resistance band to see what a supported full planche might feel like.

              This is my tuck planche off mini bars, I hadn’t watched the tutorial so next time I’ll try to bring the knees higher and Artem seemed to have his shins parallel to the ground. Annoyed I have to wait until Monday to train as this is all exciting stuff to implement.

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