What Is Straight Arm Strength?

Straight arm strength is the type of strength that is built from performing exercises with your arms locked out straight.

Straight arm strength is a completely different type of strength compared to bent arm strength, developing straight arm strength takes time as straight arm exercises puts a lot more stress on your tendons, joints, muscles and ligaments.

Why Build Straight Arm Strength?

I personally started building straight arm strength because my calisthenics goals included exercises like handstand press and planche.

Building straight arm strength will allow you to start experimenting with new exercises and skills which will challenge you physically.

Building straight arm strength will give you the ability to put together some really interesting calisthenics skills flows which could include straight and bent arm movements.


How Often Should I Train Straight Arm Exercises?

The amount of times you train a week is really dependent on the individual but a good start would be 2-3 times a week, at the beginning you will be sore and may require additional rest days.

Once your body gets used to the straight arm exercises you can start increasing the amount of times you train a week.

If you are working on a skill like the planche and that’s your only goal then 4 times a week is a good number of workouts to start building the required strength.

Rest is VERY important and will affect your progress!

What Skills Require Straight Arm Strength?

Below is a list of the main exercises that require straight arm strength but there are many variations of each exercises.

  • Tuck Planche
  • Tuck Planche Pushups
  • Planche Leans
  • Advanced Tuck
  • Crane Pose
  • Advanced Frog Stand
  • Lsit
  • Vsit

A word of warning, straight arm strength takes time to develop so please don’t rush into any of these exercises as you may incur an injury.

Before and after each workout make sure that you stretch your wrists and forearms really well as this will help avoid common complaints like forearm splints.


The L-sit is one of my favourite exercises for building overall strength and can be used to transition to handstand for example.

If you own a set of parallettes these will make the exercise easier, like all straight arm exercises its really important to take your time and work through the progressions

Crane Pose

The crane pose is a brilliant exercise to build some really impressive straight arm strength, the strength gained from the crane will help with your planche training.

Tuck Planche

The tuck planche is a challenging exercise when you first start training for straight arm strength but don’t worry it does get easier!.

Form is very important so make sure that you take your time and work through the progressions.

You may find this exercise very frustrating as it can take a few weeks to add on a few seconds but this is completely normal for most people, persistence is key.

Tuck Planche Push-Ups

Before trying tuck planche push-ups i would suggest that you are comfortable with the tuck planche static hold, like the tuck planche hold it will take a while to build up to sets of these push-ups.

Planche Leans

Planche leans are a really effective exercise to build straight arm strength, this exercise will also strengthen the muscles required to perform a planche.

Form is very important with the planche lean so take your time with this exercise.

It may take a while to build up to a good level of straight arm strength and this is normal, the stress on the body is a lot higher than bent arm strength exercises.

Being consistent and patient with the progressions and exercises will ensure success!