Gymnastics is one of the most demanding sports in the world. In addition to requiring an unparalleled level of concentration, gymnastic success demands great physical strength to pull off moves such as the planche. A planche requires that you suspend your body parallel to the ground using only your hands for support. A number of different strength-training exercises can be helpful for developing sufficient strength for the planche.
Muscles Worked by the Planche
If you want to know which exercises to include in your planche preparation workouts, consider the muscles the planche uses most. The primary strength demands during the planche are on your abdominals, chest, triceps and back. Thus, you’ll be more likely to have success performing the planche if your workouts include exercises for those muscle groups. Using different exercises that work these muscle groups can also ensure that your workouts maintain a sufficient level of variety to keep you interested.
Strengthening your abdominal muscles is crucial for planche success. These muscles help you maintain your balance and form so extraneous movement doesn’t throw you off and sap your strength. Abdominal exercises to build up planche strength include Russian twists, medicine ball tosses, weighted crunches and planks. Planks can be particularly helpful because they require you to keep your abs flexed and resist movement, the same function your abs perform during the planche.
The muscles of your chest are large and provide a significant amount of power when it comes to supporting your upper body. A number of different exercises can help you build strength for the planche, such as weighted pushups, which closely mimic the planche position. Additionally, you can perform the bench press, dips and the dumbbell fly may help enhance your chest strength sufficiently to perform the planche.
Your triceps comprise two-thirds of the muscle mass on your upper arms, so triceps strength greatly influences how well you perform upper body exercises. Exercises that can help build up your triceps strength include the close-grip bench press, lying triceps extension, triceps pushdowns and dips.
The muscles of your back are large and help keep your upper and lower body properly aligned and coordinated. Back muscles assist in keeping you suspended off of the ground during the planche and assist in stabilization. To strengthen those important muscles, you should perform exercises such as the deadlift, the back extension, the cable row and weighted pullups.