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How to Train for the Planche Pushup

Hi Dr. Bell, I wanted to train in some flashy exercises like the “planche pushup.” I just started this last week and I’m starting to notice discomfort in my wrists. Does this mean I have really weak wrist strength? If so, what are some wrist strength training exercises I should do? Or are planche pushups just really tough on your wrist in general? If that’s the case, is it not worth doing this exercise because of long term damage? I know you were a gymnast and wanted to get your thoughts. Thanks a ton in advanced!

You are leaning too far forward. To make up for a lack of strength, you are doing too much forward lean. Since your wrists are injured right now, you can use the time to develop more strength. For your Wrists, use PRICE: Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, until 2 weeks’ post pain.

While you are waiting for your wrists to recover and repair, you can do the following exercises to strengthen your body for the Planche. Keep in mind that your entire body needs to be strong to Planche. Virtually every muscle in your body is working to maintain a Planche.

The Exercises:

(1) Pikes on a Suspension Trainer or Ball

(2) Cable/Elastic Band Front Raises – Start with your arms straight, behind your back, keep your arms straight and bring your arms forward and upward contracting your Anterior Deltoid and Serratus Anterior while keeping your whole body tight.

(3) Elbow Pushups – From Push-Up position with your elbows on the floor, shoulder width apart, forearms and hands flat on floor push through your hands to Top-Push-Up Position. Buildup to 30 Reps.

(4) Narrow Hands (Diamond) Push-Ups

(5) Dips on Parallel Bars

(6) Handstands- progress from holding against the wall to a regular Handstand.

You will continue your strengthening program while you begin the following progression:

(1) Planche Lean (on mini-Parallel Bars & Floor). *Your fingers can point to the side initially to keep some stress off your wrist.

(2) Frog Stand

(3) Advanced Frog Stand

(4) Assisted Tuck Planche (Suspension Trainer or Bench)

(5) Straddle Sit (on PBars)

(6) Straddle Sit to lean forward (on PBars)

(7) Tucked Planche Swing (on PBars)

(8) Tucked Planache Swing (slowly eliminating swing)

(9) One-Legged Assisted Tuck Planche

(10) Tuck Planche

(11) Advanced Tuck Planche

(12) Tuck Planche-to One Legged-Hold 5 secs/Switch legs

(13) Handstand Leans-to 10 second holds (5 sets/3 times/week)

(14) Planche!

If at any time you feel stress/pain in your wrist, stop. Remember what you learned in the IFPA Personal Training Certification Course: GPO (Gradual Progressive Overload). Take your time.

Good Luck,

Dr. Jim Bell

CEO of IFPA