Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch
The Advanced Frog Stand with Hip Extension is a great lead-up exercise for mastering the planche!

I’ve been putting a lot of time into my Hand Balancing practice lately and just can’t say enough about how much it contributes to a bodyweight workout routine. Our Advanced Frog Stand tutorial that we posted a year ago this week turned out to be one of more popular videos, exceeding 30,000 views. So, we thought we’d celebrate its one-year anniversary with a re-post. This is also a great way for you to start getting ready for our upcoming full-length Hand Balancing DVD, set for release next month!

The Advanced Frog Stand is a great static exercise, made even more effective when you add in dynamic movements like the Frog Stand with Hip Extension. In this frog stand variation, we are seriously challenging the stability of the shoulder girdle and shoulder joint, as well as the muscles, ligaments and tendons of the wrists and elbows.

The Beauty of Hand Balancing

Hand balancing has been used for centuries in many different disciplines, from circus performers and strongmen to gymnasts, and even more recently in urban disciplines like breakdancing and Parkour. Seeing someone have absolute control of their body while balancing on two (or even one ) hands is impressive to say the least. Hand balancing looks cool, but it goes way beyond being a “party trick.” The benefits from this style of training cannot be touched by traditional weight training.

The Vertical and Horizontal Push Patterns

In the GBT system, we have four major upper body patterns – Vertical Push (such as handstand push ups), Vertical Pull (such as pull ups/chin ups), Horizontal Push (including push up variations) and Horizontal Pulls (such as rowing movements). There are corresponding static holds that go with each pattern. So, for example, we practice handstand work for the Vertical Push, and practice planche variations for the Horizontal Push.

Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch
Handstand work is great practice for Vertical Push patterns.
Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch
The elbow planche is another challenging way to practice progressing up to the full planche.
Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch
You can get creative adding in variations to your Frog Stands!

Utility of Practicing Frog Stand Variations

Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch
The Advanced Frog variation, with its straight elbows and high knee placement, is more challenging than the Beginner Frog position.
The Frog Stand exercises are perfect for training these patterns. The planche – that killer move which seems to defy gravity – requires an incredible amount of front-loaded shoulder stability. The shoulders must travel far in front of the wrists as you increase the lever by straightening the legs behind you. This is where the Frog Stand comes into play. In the Advanced Frog variation, the elbows are straight and the shoulders are in front of the wrist line, helping to condition the rotator cuff and anterior delts to support the load of the body. When you add in the hip extension position, the torso is more upright with the head down, which is closer to a handstand. This trains the range of motion that is right between the planche and the handstand positions. So the carry over is productive to both vertical and horizontal pushing patterns.

Adding in leg movements like the hip extension seriously challenges your balance and trunk control. From here you can practice all types of hand balance variations. Just be sure to take your time with each progression. Remember, each workout is a practice and the only way to improve in a skill like hand balancing is to dedicate specific time to it. Good luck!

For some additional great frog exercise variations, check out my other related articles:

Static and Traveling and Frog Combination. (video below:)

Static Frog with Back Extension(video below:)

Published by Mike Fitch

Mike is the founder of Global Bodyweight Training. He has more than 12 years as a fitness professional encompassing a wide range of disciplines which he draws upon to create the GBT system.

Join the Conversation


  1. Mike

    Gotta tell ya mate these exercises are killing me,i’m 46 years old and what most people call fit,but your animal flow and lever progressions are out of this world,i stopped pushing around weights a while ago due to injury and havere been doing BW stuff but this takes it to a whole new level,i feel great dude

    Fantastic stuff,i’m using it in my gym and hardcore pushers are enjoying the new found flexibility in there bodies

    nice mate love the lot of it,one thing though do you know some good wrist and shoulder prep stuff cause mine are a bit sore LOL

    keep it up great stuff

    Gary D

    1. Hey Gary, thanks for all of the positive feedback and I’m glad you’re enjoying the info! As far as Shoulder exercises go, you may want to check out another one of our posts called Shoulder Rehab Exercises for Better Bodyweight Training. it’s on the site. Let me know how your progress is going brotha.

  2. Impressive show of strength Mike! Will have to keep these in mind as I’m working on beginner handstand balancing progressions right now on my way to handstand push-ups.

    In fact, I was able to pull off 1 full ROM handstand push-up (against a wall) this past saturday night at a party! lol… it’s working! I’m hoping to continue to improve my shoulder strength and stability through the integration of these techniques.

    1. Hey Brandon, glad to hear you’re making progress towards your handstand push up (and to hear you are already showing off your new feats of strength!haha). Just be careful of course. My two rules are to never showcase “advanced” moves if I’m not warmed up or if I’ve been drinking, no matter how tempting it is.
      Practice and patience will be two of your most important allies so keep working towards your goals, and keep me updated on your progress.

      1. Those sound like good rules! I know how easily one wrong move (or lack of a proper warm up) can result in months of rehab… Patience is my new motto, as I’ve always tried to rush things in the past… now I’m taking the slow and sure route. Sort of paradoxical how the more you rush… the longer it actually takes.

        1. Great comment Brandon! Patience really comes into place when you start thinking of your workouts more as a “practice”. If you think of it as a life long goal and progression, you will systematically make long lasting achievements and avoid injury. The result will be perfectly symmetrical and functional bodies. Keep training hard my friend!

  3. Thanks for another inspirational series, at 69 I am in my 4th week of frog stands. This as usual is a great help along with your other How To shows..

    1. That’s fantastic Steve! So glad to hear that you’ve been able to incorporate some of the info from the tutorials. keep up the good work and as always, feel free to post your video or pics of your progression

  4. Hey Mike,

    I love these videos you do. Gives me lots of ideas for my bodyweight work outs.

    My handstand pushups (still need a wall) have a depth of touching my head. I hope to increase that range with some parallettes this year. Also for 2012, I want to be able to do free standing handstands and get a my planche.

    So this video especially is awesome in helping me develop my goals.

    I stopped going to the gym 4 years ago and started working out at home. I don’t think I would have ever developed these skills in a normal big box gym.

    Thank you for the videos

    1. those are excellent goals and very attainable if you put the time and effort into it. We will eventually be carrying an incredible model of parallettes made by a company called MoveStrong. they are super sturdy and even have some additional grips on them. I’ll keep you updated, and let us know how your progressions are coming along.

  5. I thoroughly enjoy seeing new creations and exercises being created with such an old art. I guess there’s nothing new under the sun, but a lot has been forgotten in the world of fitness and bodyweight. Thanks for reviving the art!

    1. Hey Colt. You are absolutely right! We’ve gotten away from THE most important training tools available (our own bodies). It’s been my goal to bring some of these disciplines back, with a new twist. Thanks for your support and I look forward to hearing more from you!

  6. Hey am having a hard time with leg extensions in frogstand. I dont know what am doing wrong because I can hold a frogstand for about two mins. Are there any other work outs for leg extensions in frog

    1. Hey Deion, thanks for the question. This brings up one of my favorite responses. Question-How do you get good at frog stand w/ leg extensions? Answer – You do frog stand w/ leg extensions! You can insert any exercise in that question.So instead of me giving you other exercises that isolate the muscles involved in the Frog Stand variation, I’d rather give you some tips for this specific exercise. First of all, holding the Frog Stand for two minutes is an excellent feat, but as you know, everything changes as soon as the exercise becomes dynamic. You won’t be able to begin moving your legs and trunk in space until your foundation is completely stable. We know that you are stable with both hands in contact with the floor and both knees in contact with the elbows but now you have to work on the three point contact. So if you were going to lift the left knee, you would want to slightly shift your weight to the right knee and “set” the entire body by creating as much internal tension as possible. You can regress the exercise by working on just the shift and slight lift, so once you were in your solid Frog, you would shift weight towards one side, while lifting the opposite knee just about an inch or so, hold for a few seconds, then repeat to the other side. As your endurance, strength and coordination increase, you can attempt to lift the leg higher each time until you can eventually extend the leg fully from the hip and knee. The key is consistency so put the time in and your body will adapt. Good luck and keep me updated.

  7. Hi Mike,

    I was fortunate enough to discover this website recently, and I have started adding some bodyweight exercises to my routine. Now, I was trying out the basic frog stand, but I am just not getting it right. I have been practicing for a few weeks now, but have seen absolutely no improvement, which leads me to believe that I am doing something wrong. Can you give me any advice on how to get better at the basic frog stand before I can start attempting the advanced versions you have posted?

    1. Hey Sri, if you’d like to take a quick video and post it on the GBT fan page, I could help you figure out what may be happening with your technique. It’s also a great opportunity for others that could be experiencing the same issues.

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