The planche progression is a gymnastics-based progression suited to bodyweight training. There are countless references to gymnastics workouts when it comes to calisthenics. Therefore, it is our pleasure to include this into our list of progressions. The planche will give you insane whole-body strength and outrageous and seemingly superhuman body control. It is certainly a must for all bodyweight training enthusiasts.


Planche Progression Infographic

Step 1 – Pseudo Planche Push-Ups

A very easy first step of this progression, pseudo push-ups give you the sensation of performing push-ups in a planche-like position. Support your legs on a raised platform (e.g. table, chair etc.) and place your hands on the floor or some bars. Perform push-ups at a steady pace by controlling the motion up and down.

Step 2 – Frog Stand (or Crow Stand)

The first step was a delicate introduction to a planche scenario with no balance involved. This step adds difficulty by bringing the sensation of balance to the progression, balance on your hands and rest your knees on your elbows. Be sure to hold this position comfortably before your move on to the next exercises of the progression as they act of balancing becomes more difficult.

Step 3 – Tuck Planche

Adopt a position with your hands on the floor and your knees together between your hands. Begin to balance on your hands and move your knees away from your hands until you are balancing with your knees together in the air about the same height as your elbows.

Step 4 – Advanced Tuck Planche

As the name might suggest, this is a more difficult version of step 3. Adopt the same tuck planche position but allow your knees to come apart and touch the backs of your elbows while balancing on your hands. This means your body will have to work harder to support and balance your weight which is distributed fully on a much narrower base.

Step 5 – Straddle Planche

Balance on your hands but this time allow your backside to face the floor and extend your legs out either side of your arms. This will make it much more difficult to balance and will demand much more strength and stability from your core which will now be working much harder to maintain this position.

Step 6 – Full Planche

The full planche involves balancing on your hands and holding your body steady in the position described in the last step but with your legs out straight behind you.

Step 7 – Planche Push-Up

A full-on, undiluted version of step 1. Adopt a planche position with your hands on the floor and your legs extended straight out behind you. Perform push-ups in this position. This is a great upper body exercise as your arms are working not only to balance your body but also to push up and down.

Here is a video demonstration of how this should look:

If you have worked your way through this progression then we congratulate you on your effort and thank you for attempting the purely gymnastic view of bodyweight training!

Planche progression

Planche progression


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We have more calisthenics progressions for you to attempt.

But what if I can’t do some of these exercises? 

Then we need to adjust your training, But before that let me tell you something:


Create an optimal training routine just for you

This is a problem a lot of us run into. We’re given routines – usually based on a standardized level – beginner, intermediate, advanced. Calisthenics Academy used to do that too – because it’s very hard to create a personalized training for each and every person unless we spend a significant amount of time with them.

There was just one problem with this approach (actually there are a lot of problems with it) – it hindered our athletes’ progress. We’ve written extensively on the matter in the blog post, The end of beginner/intermediate/advanced – that is hurting your training.

Lack of personalization is hurting your training.

Imagine if some of these exercises above were too hard for you. Your body will try to compensate with poor form, movement dysfunction and possibly risk injury if it’s too challenging.

If some of these exercises were too easy they wouldn’t challenge your muscles to grow – you’d simply be wasting your time.

This is why we created Calisthenics Academy: to offer a fully personalized training program reflecting exactly where your level is for optimal performance.

Take the assessment to see how do you stack up on 8 fundamental calisthenics moves

calisthenics training assessment

calisthenics training assessment

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