Tag Archives: planche

Strength VS Skill Training

Handstand in the WoodsHave you ever wondered how professional athletes can train almost daily for SEVERAL hours per day? Well, according to this correlation, it is possible only in one case: they are so strong and conditioned that their sport training is not that intense for them anymore. It is skill work for them rather than strength.

[NOTE: The higher your training frequency and volume, the lower your training intensity should be. Otherwise, you will overtrain]

So, what if you could take this idea and somehow implement it in your own training for more results and fun? Check out what I came up with.

Strength or Skill?

Continue reading

The Planche: So, How Can You Achieve It?

Top-Planche-on-Pedestals

The Planche is easily one of the most impressive bodyweight skills out there, if not the most. Maybe it is not the hardest gymnastic position, but for an average fitness enthusiast (especially if he/she wasn’t competing in gymnastics since childhood), holding a Full Planche for 5 seconds is a great achievement by all means.

The Planche is the skill that requires nerves of steel and infinite determination. You won’t achieve it overnight/in 4 weeks/for some individuals even in several years. Patience is your biggest friend in this affair, not ego.

The Planche is also one of the most unforgiving skills out there. Move to a harder variation too soon and you will most certainly win a jackpot of wrist and forearm injuries, lack of progress and frustration.

Furthermore, the Planche, as any other advanced gymnastic skill, has its clear and unquestionable technique points:

– Your elbows should be completely locked during holding the position.

– You should maintain a so-called hollow body position. Your lower back should not arch compensating the lack of upper body strength.

– Your scapulae should be protracted as much as possible.

If you don’t meet any of these requirements, I’m sorry to frustrate you, but it wasn’t a real Planche on that video you posted on YouTube.

Finally, I like the Planche because it requires no equipment and seems to question the gravity.

OK, I’m done with this unexpectedly long intro. Two minutes of your life spent on reading it are gone. Deal with it. On the bright side, what you can read below may be exactly what you were looking for.

Just recently, I was lucky enough to interview several calisthenics experts on the theme of the Planche. I am quite pleased with the result and I believe you can benefit from this information big time. My goal with this improvised round table was to gather different opinions on training the Planche. You will be able to see how different people approach the process of obtaining the same skill, which I find educating. Read, absorb, and use the information below.

Here is the full list of participants (in no particular order):

– Yuri Marmerstein;

– Ryan Hurst;

– Alessio Proietti;

– Steven Low;

– Alan Thong;

– Al Kavadlo;

– Max Shank;

– And of course, I couldn’t possibly leave you without my own answers. So, yes, you will have to read that stuff that Alex Zinchenko finds funny and relevant to the theme (writing in third person about yourself makes everything much more serious).

Without further ado, let me present you the Rough Strength Planche Round Table. Enjoy!


1. Introduce yourself. Tell us about your training experience. Continue reading

How to Incorporate Static Exercises into Your Training Routine

The Only Way to Perform Static ExercisesSo you want to take your strength training to another level. You are certain that lifting weights is not your limit and you definitely need some cool statics like the Handstand or the Planche in your routine. Here comes the tricky part: how to incorporate both static and dynamic exercises into a sound training program without sacrificing too much of a progress?

Well, this article will help you to answer this question.

What Static Exercises?

You probably know and have seen the cool stuff like the Human Flag, but are bodyweight statics your only options? No. There are tons of static exercises you can perform with heavy weights. Let me somewhat classify them: Continue reading

The Pulley System: The Best Thing That Happened to Calisthenics

The Pulley System: The Best Thing That Happened to CalisthenicsIt is the 100th post here on Rough Strength, so I decided to make it special. Not long time ago I managed to set up a pulley system at home destroying neither the walls, nor the ceiling (more on this later), and I am truly amazed with the results of my experimentation with it. I will go further and state that the pulley system invention is possibly the best thing that happened to heavy calisthenics. If you strive to learn advanced skills like Planche or One-Arm Chin-Up, then this can be your lucky ticket.

Why Is the Pulley System So Awesome?

First of all, why should you bother? Continue reading

How to Progress Effectively in Bodyweight Exercises

Roadside Handstand by Alex Zinchenko

So you are serious about this calisthenics thing. You’ve seen lots of videos on YouTube. You’ve read some articles. Maybe you even read some books (!). But nothing helps. YouTube guys mostly lightweight, articles are rarely well-written and books often lack proper guidance (programming is bad or progression steps are too wide from each other). Most importantly they don’t teach you how to progress in bodyweight exercises effectively. Why? Majority doesn’t have the proper knowledge (we can see this often in street workout and crossfit movements). Others have the knowledge, but not willing to give it away for free. I understand those guys. You spend lots of time studying and experimenting on yourself and your clients. You put literally tons of effort and hard work in. It’s tempting not to give away the knowledge. But although strength training and nutrition are not rocket science (as everybody loves to say), they require individual approach. So there is no point in hiding the data. There’s simply no recipe that works for all. Everybody is different. My current program and diet probably won’t work for you. As well as something that guy in a gym does might not give you the same results as he got (of course, unless it’s steroids (and even if yes, same results are not guaranteed)). Everybody has different goals. For somebody it’s important to have less fat, for somebody – more muscle, for somebody – rough strength. Everybody needs different programming, but the principles remain the same. So it all comes to greed of particular so-called “guru” regarding not sharing these principles. But I digress. Let’s take a look at some common methods of progressing in bodyweight exercises. Continue reading

Top 5 Exercises for Awesome Shoulder Development

Doug Hepburn Performing Handstand Push-UpYou may wonder why the F do I write an article on such trendy and obvious thing? Hell, you can search the internet and there will be tons of info on shoulder training. And I’m cool with it. However, I’d like to write the Rough Strength version. It’s the sum of my own training experience. Besides, there are lots of people who are new to training and they are wondering how to get those strong cannonball shoulders.

Why am I writing about shoulders? Why not legs? Why not biceps and abs? Because shoulders are the most masculine part of the body (along with traps). Nothing will make you stand out from the crowd like well-developed shoulders. Shoulder is one of the most complex joints, so it’s wise idea to develop them. If you noticed, all the upper body movement patterns are based on the shoulder position.

So here are Rough Strength top 5 exercises for awesome shoulder development: Continue reading

Things I’ve Learned in 2012

New Year PresentSo the 2012 year is over and gone forever. It was pretty tough. But a lot of good things happened either. The first thing I’ve learned (or just been reminded) is that there is no limit to human stupidity and naivety. There are apocalypses and different ends of the world almost every year. Sometimes several times per year. Why do all those sheepeople still believe that crap? I think, it’s because people are too lazy to think. Do you really believe that end of the world will come in one day or one hour? If you analyze that “prophecy” you’ll find out that the end of the world should have come due to displacement of the Earth’s axis (well, according to the “prophecy” I know). Think about it a bit. Do you really believe that such HUGE process is possible in one day? The Earth evolved during 4.54 billions of years. So that all is crap. And you shouldn’t believe it. I digress. Let’s get back to my theme for today. Continue reading