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Supermove series: planche

Everything in fitness can be enhanced with better mobility.

Kyle Suib

The warm-up:

Complete this duo before every workout.

Figure-four foam rolling

Sit on a foam roller with your hands planted on the floor behind you, your left leg bent with foot planted, and your right leg bent with the ankle resting on your left knee. In small movements, roll your right glute. Continue for 1 to 3 minutes, then switch sides and repeat.

Wrist mobilization and stretch

Get on all fours with knees and feet at hip-width and your hands close together, with palms planted, the insides of your wrists touching, and your fingers pointing out to each side. Flip one hand over a time so that your palms face up and fingers point towards each other. Hold for 2 seconds, then return to start for one rep. Complete 2 sets of 10 reps per side.

The easy moves:

Perform this sequence 3 to 4 times a week, increasing the reps as you go. Repeat for 3 weeks.

Bent-leg raise

Lie facedown with your upper body and arms on a box, hands gripping its edges, and your legs resting along its sides. Bend at the knees with your quads against the box and your toes pointed. This is your start position. Imagine your feet are being pulled up by a string and lift your legs higher, creating more space between the floor and your quads, until your toes point towards the ceiling. Lower to start for one rep. Complete 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Straight-leg raise

Lie facedown with your upper body and arms on a box, hands gripping its edges, and your legs resting along its sides. Point your toes and plant them about one foot away from the box, with legs straight and quads engaged. This is your start position. Keeping both legs straight, lift them toward the ceiling, creating as much space as possible between the floor and your legs. Lower to start for one rep. Complete 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Leg extensions

Lie facedown with your upper body and arms on a box, hands gripping its edges, and your legs resting along its sides. Point your toes, engage your glutes and quads, and lift your legs until they're parallel to the floor. This is your start position. Bend at the knees until your toes are pointing straight up and your shins are perpendicular to the floor, then lower to start for one rep. Complete 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps. 

Planche plank hold

Assume a high plank with feet together, toes pointed, tops of your feet on the floor, shoulders stacked over wrists, and your back rounded as if in Cat pose. Lean forward so your shoulders are in front of your wrists. Hold in this position for 60 seconds. Complete 3 rounds.

The moderate moves:

Continue performing the easy exercises 3 to 4 times per week, but add these two to the routine as well. Repeat for 3 weeks.

Planche glider lean

Assume a high plank with feet together, toes pointed, tops of your feet on a gliding disc, shoulders stacked over wrists, and your back rounded as if in Cat pose. Lean forward so your shoulders are in front of your wrists, gliding your feet forward as well. Instead of holding here, reverse the motion to return to start. Continue for 60 seconds. Complete 3 rounds.

Front delt raise

Lie faceup with legs straight, holding a fixed barbell on top of your hips with your palms up and hands at shoulder-width. Keeping your arms straight, raise the barbell overhead and as close to the floor as you comfortably can, then slowly return to start for one rep. Complete 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps, increasing the weight every other session.

The advanced moves:

Continue performing the easy and moderate exercises 3 to 4 times per week, adding these two to the end of each routine. Continue as long as needed. Once you’re able to hold the bent-arm planche for a solid 10 seconds, you’re ready to attempt a full planche. Note that this could take several months or even years, so don’t get discouraged if your progress is slow but steady.

Crow pose

Squat low and place your hands flat on the ground (or mat) in front of your feet at about shoulder-width. Spread your fingers wide and without moving the hands or feet, raise your hips toward the sky. Slowly lift your heels off the ground, press the knees into the backs of your upper arms, and shift your weight onto your fingertips, lifting one foot off the ground at a time. Bend your elbows for balance if needed. (Eventually, you will be able to use your core to stabilize yourself and straighten the elbows.) Hold until failure, then rest. Complete 3 rounds.

Bent-arm planche

Start in crow pose. In a slow and controlled motion, lift your legs off your elbows and extend them out to the sides. Hold until failure, then rest. Complete 3 rounds.

Photography by Mohamed Sadek

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