The one arm push up is without doubt a strength-based exercise.
HOWEVER, there’s also a lot of technique involved. Using the tips I’m about to cover in this article and video, I’ve taken a lot of folks from never having done a one arm push up to being able to do five or more.
Now, you do need to have a base level of strength to do a one arm push up. You need to be able to do at least 30 solid standard push ups. So if you’re not up to that level yet, practice your push ups and progressions – we take you through those in the Body Weight Strong program. We show you how to go from knee push ups to hand elevated push ups, then standard and feet elevated push ups.
Also – just a general note – you want to make sure that you’re getting good quality push ups at all times. Your legs, chest, and nose should all be touching the ground at the same time.
Now let’s talk about how to progress to a one arm push up. First, watch the video below. Then read through the written tips below it:
The One Arm Push Up
Typically when you do a standard push up, your arms will be right under your shoulders and your feet will be close together. So the one thing you need to do is shift your center of gravity on your one arm push ups. You need to get in a wide stance with the feet, your supporting hand is lined up under your shoulder, and your other arm is either behind your back or resting on the back of your leg.
To practice getting into position you can do a couple of exercises. One thing you can do is elevate your off hand on a medicine ball or kettlebell. Practice putting most of your weight on the working arm and just using a little bit of weight to stabilize on the opposite arm. While you’re practicing your goal is to use less and less help with the off arm.
Another way to practice getting into body position is to elevate your hands. So you can use a bar or something similar to practice the one arm push up at an incline. This will help you get the proper muscle recruitment pattern and get into position to feel the actual movement.
Now you’re going to try the actual one arm push up. So arms should be close into your body, you’re going to slightly turn so that your shoulder comes in towards your hand, and then push away as you push up from the floor. Body is tight, and you are pushing away from the floor kind of like a corkscrew. Down and push it up.
So there’s your progression for a one arm push up. I hope that’s helpful for you. Put those moves together and practice. I look forward to hearing your success in mastering your first one arm push up.
– Forest Vance
author, Body Weight Strong
PS – Make sure to check out the full Body Weight Strong program, on sale this weekend – you’ll find lots more cool advanced body weight exercises like one arm push ups, along with a 12 week progressive body weight training program for gaining strength and muscle with just your own body weight.