How to do bent arm planche | form & progressions

In this article, you will learn what bent arm planche is, its progressions, and its proper form

bent arm planche
image credit: daddycooloney

What is bent arm planche?

Bent arm planche is an intermediate static skill in calisthenics. This move consists of holding a horizontal position, facing the ground and parallel to the ground only on your hands and with bend arms. The angle in the arms is about 90 degrees, that’s why it is also called 90 degree hold. Bent arm planche is essential to master planche and 90 degree handstand push ups.


Bent arm planche is an intermediate calisthenics skill that requires a solid foundation before starting. Otherwise, you won’t see much progress and you can even get injured. I would suggest these prerequisites before starting with the bent arm planche:

elbow lever – 5 seconds

A bent arm planche is basically an elbow lever with elbows wider apart. In the elbow lever, your torso is located on your arms so that you support yourself by putting weight on your elbows. In bent arm planche elbows are next to our torso, therefore there’s much more pressure on the shoulders. 5 seconds hold of the elbow lever is a good starting point for bent arm planche.

push ups – 20 reps

If you can do 20 push ups that means you have the necessary strength in your shoulders, triceps, and chest.

Form cues

keep your body straight, especially your lower back and pelvic tilt
elbows close to the body
lean forward
angle in the arm about 90 degree

Muscles worked during the bent arm planche

The bent arm planche works most of the major muscles in our body

The primary muscles worked in bent arm planche are:

  1. deltoids
  2. triceps brachii
  3. rhomboids
  4. trapezius
  5. upper pecs

Additional secondary muscles worked include:

  1. latissimus dorsi
  2. core muscles
  3. glutes


4 progression to help you master the bent arm planche

Push up hold

Start in the push up position with a slightly wider grip than shoulder-width and lower yourself down. Hold that bottom push up position as long as you can. Remember about proper technique – don’t arch your lower back and keep elbows close to the body.

Pseudo planche push ups

This exercise will build your pushing strength in that specific body position with the center of gravity shifted downwards. Hands are at the hip level, just as in bent arm planche.

Straddle bent arm planche

As in planche and many other calisthenics skills, we can use straddle progression. With the legs straddled the exercise will be much easier.

Here’ video tutorial for bent arm straddle planche

Band assisted bent arm planche

Attach the resistance band to the pull up bar or something above you and during the exercise keeps it on your waist. With the assistance of the resistance band, exercise requires significantly less strength.

You can even combine these 2 progressions – straddle and band if you’re not able to do straddle yet.

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