Sunday 14 September 2014

Front planche on a rope

bodyweight exercise
When my circus and aerial skills instructor showed this technique to me, she called it a 'front planche on a rope'. The name seems a little misguiding to me -and I am not sure it is even the common name for this move- but for want of a better one, I have kept it here...

The technique itself is not terribly hard -maybe of an intermediate level- and it relies more on skill than brute muscle power. It does require a fair amount of core strength however, and -as you can see from the picture- some straight arm and bent arm pulling strength.

Prerequisites: dragon flags, pull ups

The set up for this technique is particularly important: your lower supporting hand should be pressing into your butt cheek before jumping into position, and you will be relying on the friction generated by the rope to support your bodyweight.

From the initial standing position, jump straight into a side crouch, with tuck knees, with your lower hand supporting most of your weight...
Then turn on your back and straighten your legs, whilst still pressing your lower hand into your glutes. The slight bend in the rope created by your lower hand, and the pull exerted by your top hand are what keep you in the position.

Note: as you get into the horizontal position from the side crouch, allow your top hand to slide down a little. This will prevent your body from bending at the waist, and it will allow you to hold a straighter front planche.

Watch the video below for a demonstration of the exercise:


1.Start with holds in the side crouch position.
Hold for a few seconds, and rest for what remains of a minute; then repeat 5 times. Build up to 5 holds of 15s, with rests of 45s.

2. Tuck knees front planche.
From the side crouch, turn on your back whilst keeping your knees tucked.
Again, start with a few seconds; rest for what remains of a minute; then repeat 5 times.

3.  One leg extended front planche.
This is a step which I haven't personally found necessary, and which could easily be skipped. However, I have included it here for those who might have trouble transitioning to the next position.

4. Straddle legs front planche.
Hold the position for 5 sets of between 5 and 15s, resting for what remains of a minute.

5.  Front planche on a rope.
Once you do sets of 15s, you can start working towards holds of one minute.
Aim for one minute work in total, so for instance, do 3 sets of 20s with 40s rest; or 2 sets of 30s with 30s rest.
Keep building this up until you can hold the position for a full minute.


  1. does the flexibility of the rope aid in any way?

    1. As opposed to a rigid object such as a pole? Yes.
      The slight kink the the rope created by your bottom hand provides friction and makes the holding your weight up much easier.

  2. I feel like that's way more of a lever on a rope than it is a planche?

  3. Is it better to perform the trick on both sides in order to avoid muscle imbalances? Impressive trick!

  4. Interesting and thanks for explaining in details.
    The technique was described to me as a 'front planche on a rope' I've just kept the name.So what can i do now?