THE BENT-ARM PLANCHE PULSES....

Here we move in and out of seriously difficult Bent-Arm Planche positions, testing our chest, shoulder and tricep muscles big time. These pulsing reps are one of my favourite ways to break through strength plateaus.

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HOW TO BENT-ARM PLANCHE PULSE:

We do Bent-Arm Planche work twice in The Strength Sessions Programme.

In Month 1 we do standard holds for time in a static position.

This month, the mechanics are the same, but we work with Pulsing Reps.

WHAT’S A PULSING REP???

A pulsing rep is when you move between two different progressions of the same exercises.

One you find quite easy, and one you can just about hold for a few seconds.

It keeps you patient, it stops you from getting sloppy and it helps you break through strength plateaus and mental blocks.

FIRST: PICK A VERSION YOU CAN HOLD FOR 20 SECONDS (or longer if you are working on your strength endurance)— that’s your ‘easy’ progression.

THEN: PICK A VERSION YOU CAN JUST ABOUT HOLD FOR 3 SECONDS — that’s your hard progression.

TO DO A SET:

HOLD THE EASY PROGRESSION FOR 3 SECONDS

THEN EDGE INTO THE DIFFICULT POSITION FOR JUST ONE SECOND

THAT’S ONE REP.

DO MORE…

STRENGTH ENDURANCE MONTH – Do 8 reps

MID-STRENGTH MONTH – Do 5 reps

STRENGTH MONTH – Do 3 reps.

THE PROGRESSIONS

Here are the progressions, as laid out in The Bent-Arm Planche Progression Ladder, Pick your easy position and your harder position from these:

HANDS. HEAD. KNEES – at first you get 5 points of support on this. That should give you the confidence to feel out the correct arm and shoulder position. Obviously, please don’t do it if you have any neck issues.

HANDS & KNEES
The next level, we lift the head, which increases the arm and shoulder strength required.

HANDS & ONE FOOT
Then we lift one leg and extend behind us. This increases the load on the arms and shoulders even more, as well as brings in extra glute and lower back work.

PARTIAL RANGE FOR REAL
Now it’s time for the real deal, time for both feet to come up and the real fun to begin. But, in my experience, it’s easier to learn with less bend on the arms.

MEDIUM RANGE, BOTH FEET UP
A little more range, a little harder work, but a little more impressive a position.

FULL POSITION
Once you can do it, we want you chest just off the floor, legs out straight behind you.

HOW YOU PEOPLE MESS IT UP...

YOUR EASY POSITION ISN'T EASY ENOUGH -- This is the main one when doing these for pulsing reps; We need a real contrast between the two moves.

Then, all the errors from a standard Bent-Arm Planche apply:

YOU JUMP INTO IT — If you have the strength for this, you should be able to edge your weight forwards and edge your feet off the floor. If you have to jump, you won’t be able to hold it! So…don’t jump. If you can’t come up, accept your temporary limitations and focus on dominating the easier progressions so that you can do it for real soon.

YOU PRETEND IT’S A HANDSTAND — This is hard. You want the torso parallel to the floor or just very slightly more vertical, with the shoulders ahead of the hands. That’s very hard for the shoulders. You may end up sticking your bum in the air if you’re not strong enough to hold the position. Don’t let that happen. Back away a little bit and make sure you can do it neatly or you’ll never get it.

YOU BREAK YOUR NOSE — Too much ambition, not enough strength…be careful you don’t fall forward! It happens. Be careful or have your exit strategy at the ready.

YOU COUNT FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF LIGHT – erm, we all do sometimes. You probably need to go back a progression (unless you can last for real), or maybe you just need to get someone who doesn’t like you to count for you.

YOU SPLAY YOUR ELBOWS — This is not a wide-arm Push-Up. Try and do these with your elbows out — especially if you aren’t yet strong enough — and bad things will happen. You should be able to feel your elbows brush your ribs as you enter the move.

WICKED CUES!

CRAVE THE TENSION — to get good at these, you need to get very-very good at knowing exactly where you should feel the mechanical stress and holding it there. You can’t duck out of the workor you’ll never master it. That’s why I like them.

SLIDE INTO IT — keep your arms strong and slide forwards to enter the move peoperly.

LOCK THE GLUTES — This is what we need to hold the full extended position.

FIGHT!! — sometimes these can be so hard you get a mental block against them. Just remember: you get better at what you practice. If you feel you’re stuck and just can’t quite get the feet off the floor, fight harder!!

WHY DO IT TO YOURSELF?!

THE BENT-ARM PLANCHE PROGRESSIONS — all work shoulders and arms, with glutes and low back involved as you progress, in a fun and impressive move, which has great strength transfer to other things.

WE DO PULSING REPS BECAUSE THEY HELP WITH:

PATIENCE — With some people, and gymnastics moves, there’s this thing: they just won’t stop trying the harder stuff. Lovely to have ambition, but sometimes it’s detrimental if you get too greedy. To make real progress at this stuff, you have to spend enough time-under-tension…in a perfect position. You need to build real strength, you can’t just fluke it! Since I’ve incorporated Pulsing Reps into my coaching, I’ve had a lot more success getting people to stay patient — you get a taste of the next level, but you still put in the hard yards on the basiscs.

STRENGTH PLATEAUS — just sampling a new position, just feeling the tension and the angles that they have to deal with can be enough to help you smash through plateaus you have been stuck at for a while.

MENTAL BARRIERS – it’s easy to get stuck on one progression, without really believing you can push past it. Doing pulsing reps is a great way to test yourself in a more advanced position without having to stay there very long. With practice, comes belief.

VARIETY – The ideal programme is one where we practice the same stuff frequently enough to master it, but have enough variety and novelty to stimulate new gains and keep you interested. Having Pulsing Reps some months and traditional holds in other months helps with this.

ALTERNATIVES...

There aren't that many who can't do these. if your wrists find them too stressful, consider using some parrallettes. If you can't do these, I'd reccommend extra practice on any of these:

EXTRA FOCUS ON PUSH-UPS OR L-SIT

STRAIGHT-ARM PLANCHE

BENT-ARM HANDSTAND

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