How to Do a Planche Push-Up for Maximum Core Strength

Man doing a perfect planche push-up

You might be missing out if you aren’t doing any planche push-ups in your upper body and core-strengthening training.

By including planche push-ups correctly in your routine, you can look forward to having abs that look like they were sculpted by Michelangelo himself.

With that said, it’s not as easy as it may sound. Planche push-ups are advanced, challenging, and suited to intense physical training.

But, don’t worry. In this guide, we give you step-by-step instructions on how to prepare for the exercise, the benefits of training for it, and more.

Keep reading if you want to know how to do a planche push-up properly.

PS: You might also enjoy these four advantages of incline push-ups to build your upper body strength further.

What Is a Planche Push-Up?

Couple doing a planche push-up on the beach

The planche push-up is similar to a traditional push-up, except that your torso, lower body, and feet are all off the ground. Your arms, shoulders, and chest bear your body weight.

A planche push-up trains your core and requires an intense amount of upper body and leg strength. Gymnasts effectively perform this technique, but martial artists, body weight trainers, and other athletes can also benefit.

That’s all great,but what muscles does the planche work? The answer is plenty.

Not only do you activate your abdominal muscles, but you’ll also work on your glutes and lower back to stabilize your body.

Bear in mind that doing just one planche push-up requires incredible strength, stability, and balance. It’s no surprise this exercise is popular in gymnastics training.

Strengthening your core with planche push-ups is also an excellent way to improve other exercises, like deadlifts and squats. However, it’s not as easy as it seems and can take months to master.

To train for the planche push-up, consider adding variations of the exercise to your workout routine. Start with three sessions a week and work your way up.

Tip: Avoid overtraining as this could lead to severely delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) or injury.

Man attempting a planche push-up

Before You Start Planche Push-Up Training

Before we get into how you can perform a planche push-up, there’s some prep to be done.

A full planche push-up is one of the most complicated moves in calisthenics training. This exercise is strenuous and takes time, consistency, and hard work.

You should have a basic level of fitness before attempting this movement.

Before attempting your first planche push-up, test your current ability and see if you can complete the following exercises:

  • a minimum of 30 push ups
  • at least 20 tricep dips
  • hold a plank for 120 seconds or longer

Apart from the above, you only need your body and an even surface to do a planche push-up. Make sure you have ample space, a yoga mat, or something soft beneath you (just in case your arms give in).

Woman doing suspension planche push up variation

How to Do Planche Push-Ups?

To perform a planche push-up, you’ll need to support your body weight using your upper body, arms, and core. You can see it as a traditional push-up, except with your feet off the ground and your hands placed further down.

Mastering even one rep of a planche push-up can present quite a challenge. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do a full planche push-up properly:

5 Steps to the perfect planche push-up

Step 1: Lie face down on the floor and position your arms by your waistline, just above your hips.

Step 2: Now, place your palms on the floor, making sure they face forward with your fingers comfortably spread out.

Step 3: Push upwards and lean forward with your weight. You should feel your body weight pressing on your chest and shoulders.

Step 4: Using your core strength, lift your legs from the floor. Keep your legs together as you do this, and make sure your palms remain firmly on the surface.

Step 5: Once your lower body is entirely raised, bend your elbows and lower your chest, nearly touching the surface. Press back up and straighten your elbows again, with your lower body remaining mid-air.

You’ve got the theory, but when it comes to practice, it does take time and persistence. Check out the next section for some progression tips.

Man doing decline push-up

Variations and Progressions: Pseudo Planche Push-Ups & More

It takes some building up to master the full planche push-up. Luckily, there are some progressions and positions you can do to help your planche push-up training.

For example, a planche hold or a half-lay planche are excellent ways to train your body before your big attempt.

A popular progression is the pseudo push-up. These are a bit easier to conquer for beginners.

The pseudo planche push-up is a good first step in the journey to the full planche position.

A full planche push-up requires that you balance on your palms as your legs are extended straight behind you.

With the pseudo planche, you’ll position your hands on either side of your waistline, but you won’t lift your legs off the ground completely. Your toes stay on the ground. Then, you proceed with your push-ups as normal.

You can also start with your hands higher up. And, then slowly lower the placement down the length of your body until you reach your waistline. This usually becomes easier as you develop your core strength from pseudo planche push-ups.

Once you can do these push-ups with perfect form and technique, you’re ready for your next challenge – new progressions!

Other planche push-up progressions worth trying are the tuck planche, raised planche lean, and the straddle planche.

Benefits of Planche Push-Ups

There are many benefits to calisthenics exercises, and planche push-ups are one of the toughest you can learn to master.

Here are some of the benefits you can look forward to:

  • Planche push-ups work multiple muscle groups – namely, your shoulders, chest, triceps, biceps, and forearms.
  • Planche push-ups work and strengthen your abdominal muscles.
  • Planche push-ups help to strengthen your elbow and wrist joints.
  • You will work your balance and stabilizer muscles
  • You can challenge yourself and set weekly or monthly goals as you progress to a full planche push-up.
woman doing progressive planche pushup

Wrapping Up How to Do a Planche Push-Up

There you have it, the planche push-up and how to do it – the challenge you’ve been waiting for.

It’s a core and upper body exercise that requires patience, diligence, and consistency. However, in the long run, you’ll be rewarded for your time and effort.

Now that you know what a planche push-up is and how to do it, will you give it a go?

If you want to try more intense exercises relating to calisthenics, then human flags should be next on your list.

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