The planche may either be arrived at from a straddle planche or a 1/2 planche. If from the straddle planche, simply bring the legs gradually together. Be diligent to avoid letting the hips pike as you bring the legs together. From the 1/2 planche, slowly extend the knees toward a straight body position. Once again, do not allow the hips to pike during the extension.

Many will find that the lower back is the weak link in extending the legs during any of the more advanced planche variations (straddle, 1/2PL and PL). Many lower back exercises are provided in the section on core strength training.

In addition, I have found that kettlebell/ dumbbell swings are also an excellent supplement to planche training. This was something I discovered quite by accident; I used dumbbell swings to rehab the lower back of one of my athletes and after a 6-week period we found that he could now perform a solid straddle planche; where previously this had been beyond his reach. In retrospect, he had the shoulder girdle strength, but not the lower back strength necessary to reach full extension.

The protocol used on the dumbbell swings was quite simple; perform a set of 10 dumbbell swings on each arm followed by several minutes of rest, for 3-4 sets, 2-3 times a week. This was of course in combination with the rest of his training.

Getting Started With Dumbbells

Getting Started With Dumbbells

The use of dumbbells gives you a much more comprehensive strengthening effect because the workout engages your stabilizer muscles, in addition to the muscle you may be pin-pointing. Without all of the belts and artificial stabilizers of a machine, you also engage your core muscles, which are your body's natural stabilizers.

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