The planche is a classic gymnastics move that requires you to hold your entire bodyweight airborne while resting your weight on your hands only. It is also second-to-none for building a world class upper body. However, this skill can take months or even years to master. What's the best substitute that you can start doing today? The front-loaded push-up. Though you start in a normal push-up position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders, you gradually shift your weight forward as you lower your body to the floor so that your hands end up in a low-placement around waist-level at the bottom of this super intense push-up variation. The result- a muscle-quivering new challenge for your front shoulders and pecs that will help you fill a shirt and boost your bench press.
How to do it:
- Assume a floor push-up position with normal hand placement (hands directly underneath your shoulders) and your toes on the floor.
- Tense your whole body from the ground up by driving your toes and palms through the floor, clenching your front and inner thighs, squeezing your glutes, tucking your tail bone, bracing your core, and pulling your shoulders down and back. Be sure to breath in and out through your belly to maintain this tension without getting light headed.
- Now slowly lower your body to floor as one rock-solid unit as you gradually shift your weight forward so that your hands end up in a low-placement around waist-level with your chest just above the floor. Please note that you move from your toes to the tops of your feet during this weight transfer.
- Hold for a count and then reverse the movement and repeat for 30 seconds followed by 60 seconds of rest. Perform 2-3 total sets at the beginning or end of your regular workout to bulletproof your shoulders and instantly upgrade your upper body.
- Your ultimate goal is to be able to perform the move for 60 seconds at a time for multiple sets with incomplete, negative rest periods for more muscled arms and shoulders. Get there gradually by both adding 5 seconds onto your work time and dropping 5 seconds from your rest time each workout until you can do the move for 2-3 total sets of 60 seconds with only 30 seconds of rest between sets.
- Make it harder by elevating your feet onto a sturdy table, step, chair or bench or by performing an isometric hold for time in the bottom position (the most challenging part of each rep).