THE TUCK PLANCHE PROGRESSION LADDER

This is another integrated strength move that can start super-easy, but progress all the way to super-human difficulty. I love the Tuck Planche as it is one of those fun landmarks to build towards -- that moment when you can finally do it with both feet up is well worth trainig for. 

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Being able to hold a Tuck Planche with your feet off the floor takes great strength in the triceps, the chest and the shoulders. If you can't yet do it, it doesn't matter, there are loads of rungs on this progression ladder that you can master as you build towards the real thing. Just make sure you practice mindfully with perfect straight-arms, and feel the right stuff  -- the shoulders, the chest, the triceps doing their work, with the shoulder blades protracted and as little weight in your feet things as possible.

To master this ladder, we train the Straight-Arm Tuck Planche two months out of four, but all the other pressing, Planche, L-Sit and Handstand drills will build together and help as well.

PROGRESSION 1: TUCK PLANCHE WITH BOTH TOES DUG IN

CRITERIA: 

–> Arms must be locked-out
–> Shoulder blades protracted
–> Knees off floor
–> Position must be successfully held dead still throughout
–> Shoulders must be directly over hands

WAFFLE

If you’re not used to strength training, or if you’re just not used to gymnastic strength, this straight-arm position takes a bit of mastering. Don’t feel bad if you find this position really hard at first (unless it helps you, then feel miserable, but keep practicing!). After a good bit of practice, you’ll learn the feelings and develop the strength.

PROGRESSION 2: TUCK PLANCHE WITH TOES FLAT. SHOULDERS BEHIND HANDS.

THESE ARE THE CRITERIA:

–> Toes must not be dug into floor
–> Arms must be locked-out
–> Shoulder blades must be protracted
–> Knees off floor
–> Position must be successfully held dead still throughout

Moving to flat feet will either hurt (you’re not ready yet), or force you to put more weight forward — and that’s what we want, more weight through the hands, less on the feet. Of course, you have to be stronger for that.

PROGRESSION 3: TUCK PLANCHE TOES FLAT, SHOULDERS LEVEL WITH HANDS.

CRITERIA: 

–> Toes must not be dug into floor
–> Arms must be locked-out
–> Shoulder blades protracted
–> Knees off floor
–> Position must be successfully held dead still throughout
–> Shoulders must be directly over hands

WAFFLE

Here we are leaning forward slightly more, so we are starting to load to wrists arms and shoulders a decent amount now. Your wrists will adapt, be patient with them.

PROGRESSION 4: TUCK PLANCHE. TOES FLAT. SHOULDERS AHEAD OF HANDS.

THESE ARE THE CRITERIA:

–> Toes must not be dug into floor
–> Arms must be locked-out
–> Shoulder blades protracted
–> Knees off floor
–> Position must be successfully held dead still throughout
–> Shoulders must be ahead of hands

Get the lean going and you’re really starting to show the tricep, shoulder, wristy, chesty, tendony strength we’re going to need to be a real pretend gymnast with this one.

PROGRESSION 5: TUCK PLANCHE. ONE FOOT OFF. TOE DUG IN.

CRITERIA: 

–> Only one foot can touch the floor throughout
–> Arms must be locked-out
–> Shoulder blades protracted
–> Knees off floor
–> Position must be successfully held dead still throughout
–> Shoulders must be directly over hands

WAFFLE

With these we start to use more hip-flexor and abdominal stength as we bring one knee into the stomach, which incidentally edges more weight forward too…increasing the shoulder and arm load. Your weight is really starting to matter for a change! You are always rewarded for shifting fat around here.

PROGRESSION 6: TUCK PLANCHE. ONE FOOT OFF. TOE FLAT.

THESE ARE THE CRITERIA:

–> Only one foot can touch the floor throughout
–> Grounded foot toes must not be dug in
–> Arms must be locked-out
–> Shoulder blades protracted
–> Knees off floor
–> Position must be successfully held dead still throughout
–> Shoulders must be directly over hands

If you got this, you’re close to lift off, that’s the rubicon on this one. Can you cross it?

PROGRESSION 7: TUCK PLANCHE. ONE FOOT OFF. TOE FLAT. SHOULDERS AHEAD OF HANDS.

CRITERIA: 

–> Only one foot can touch the floor throughout
–> Grounded foot toes must not be dug in
–> Arms must be locked-out
–> Shoulder blades protracted
–> Knees off floor
–> Position must be successfully held dead still throughout
–> Shoulders must be ahead of hands

WAFFLE

This is the last progression to master before we take off. Get those shoulders forwards and try and take all the weight off the back foot.

PROGRESSION 8: TUCK PLANCHE. BOTH FEET OFF FLOOR. SMALL PARRALLETTES. ELBOWS SLIGHTLY BENT.

THESE ARE THE CRITERIA:

–> Some slack technique allowed, but only 20% losses of form acceptsable (however-the-fuck you measure that). It must look like the real thing or you don’t pass. Judges decision is final. All bribes to be offered before attempt.
–> Feet must be off floor throughout.
–> Parralletes must not be over 3 inches high.
–> Spine must be close to parrallel to the floor

Lift off! I’m sure some coaches wouldn’t tolerate the slackness, but as an imperfect individual who trains many other imperfect individuals (and you), I find that this bit of sloppy technique helps us get it up quicker, and that keeps everyone motivated. We tidy it up for the next rung.

PROGRESSION 9: TUCK PLANCHE. BOTH FEET OF. SMALL PARRALLETTES. ELBOWS LOCKED.

CRITERIA: 

–> Arms must be locked-out
–> Shoulder blades protracted
–> Knees off floor. Feet off floor.
–> Position must be successfully held dead still throughout
–> Shoulders must be directly over hands (or ahead)
–> Parralletes must not be over 3 inches high.
–> Spine must be close to parrallel to the floor

WAFFLE

Great, that’s better! Here you're flying and the technique is perfect. For the next two rungs it's the same process, but we lose the bars. Get your abs ready to suck those knees up!

PROGRESSION 10: TUCK PLANCHE ON FLOOR. BOTH FEET OFF. ELBOWS SLIGHTLY BENT.

THESE ARE THE CRITERIA:

–> Some slack technique allowed, but only 20% losses of form. Must look like the real thing or you don’t pass. Judges decision is final. All bribes to be offered before attempt.
–> Feet must be off floor throughout.
–> Spine must be close to parrallel to the floor

Don’t get attached to those bent arms. As soon as you can get air-born, you gotta work on getting that lockout back.

PROGRESSION 11: TUCK PLANCHE ON FLOOR. BOTH FEET OFF. ELBOWS LOCKED.

CRITERIA: 

–> Arms must be locked-out
–> Shoulder blades protracted
–> Knees off floor. Feet off floor.
–> Position must be successfully held dead still throughout
–> Shoulders must be directly over hands (or ahead)
–> Spine must be close to parrallel to the floor

WAFFLE

You are now well and truly better at this than the average human. Well done. One more rung to master (for now).

PROGRESSION 12: FLAT TUCK PLANCHE.

THESE ARE THE CRITERIA:

–> Arms must be locked-out
–> Shoulder blades protracted
–> Knees off floor. Feet off floor.
–> Position must be successfully held dead still throughout
–> Shoulders must be directly over hands (or ahead)
–> Spine must be extended and close to parrallel to the floor

This is the end. Bloody well done if you’ve got it. This takes even more shoulder, arm and wrist strength to lean forward (told you you’d need that) and now a bit of back strength to hold the extension.

Mastered this? Time to get into some real gymnastics perhaps?

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