EXERCISE BREAKDOWN: BENT-ARM PLANCHE
HOW TO DO IT
For all the progressions where you keep at least one foot down, do it like this…
GET DOWN! — on your hands and knees please
TURN YOUR HANDS OUT SLIGHTLY — like facing forwards but 45-degrees out. This allows us to keep control, but ease the stress and flexibility demand on the wrists.
FEEL YOUR CHEST AND SHOULDERS TAKE THE LOAD – lower to a position with your chest hovering just off of the floor.
PLACE YOUR HEAD FOR SUPPORT — if you’re at the most basic level.
LIFT HEAD — If you’re a little more advanced.
EXTEND ONE LEG — out behind you if you’re ready for the next level.
TOUGH? HOOOOOLD IT!! — at whichever point you can just about hold for the required time…that’s where you stop following and your hold is done!
Unless that’s too easy for you, and you’re ready to leave the floor, then you’ll probably want to do it like this…
GET DOWN ON ALL FOURS — with feet down and knees just off the floor.
PLACE HANDS – facing forwards, but rotated out about 45-degrees to ease the stress on the wrists.
EDGE SHOULDERS FORWARDS TO TAKE THE LOAD — with a slight bend in your arms, the more bend, the more advanced you are
SLIDE FEET TOWARDS YOU AND OFF THE FLOOR — wahoo!
EDGE INTO YOUR BEST POSITION – working your legs out behind you and into the deepest position your arms will let you hold.
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.
Once you can do it, we want you chest just off the floor, legs out straight behind you.
BENT-ARM HANDSTAND TO BENT-ARM PLANCHE – getting very advanced now!
HANDSTAND TO BENT ARM PLANCHE — see ya in a coupla years then?!!
HOW NOT TO DO IT
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 so 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.
I don’t appear to have given you any alternatives yet.
CRAVE THE TENSION — to get food at these, you need to get very-very good at knowing exactly where you should feel the mechanical stress and maintaining it. You can’t duck out of the work, you’ll never master it. That’s why I like them.
SLIDE INTO IT — keep your arms strong and slide to them.
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 WE DO IT
THIS IS A SERIOUSLY COOL MOVE — don’t you think? It takes a lot of strength, it looks cool when you master it and we have a whole progression ladder to make you do so!
BUT IT’S ALSO REALLY USEFUL – at the lower end of the ability scale, for making you better at other things, like Push Ups and Frog Stands and even L-Sits.
GREAT FOR CHEST, SHOULDERS & TRICEPS — master these, and you’ll be in great shape, simple as that.
GREAT FOR PUSH UP STRENGTH — Because similar muscles are involved, but the easier progressions of these often allow you to access and get used to positions similar to those in a deep push up, which many folk can’t (yet) handle.
ALSO GREAT FOR ARSE AND BACK — at the higher difficulty levels. As soon as you start lifting both feet, you must be strong through your extensors too.