The One Arm Pushup is an advanced bodyweight exercise that requires a ton of strength in the chest, triceps and shoulder muscles. In addition, a great deal of core strength and stability is required to perform the one arm pushup with really good form.
Why Should You Care About Doing A One Arm Pushup?
- The pushup muscles and strength you will build while progressing to this movement is totally worth it
- This exercise is gonna build a super strong core
- You can perform this exercise ANYWHERE – at home, at the beach, at a park…
- They’re just plain badass (how many people do you know that can do one of these?) With good form that is!
Now most people that claim they can do a one arm pushup aren’t even close. Here are the common mistakes I see:
#1 – Side of foot on the ground – Weak core
#2 – Legs super wide – Weak core
#3 – Leaning to the side – Weak core
#4 – Butt up in the air – Weak chest and triceps
#5 – Elbow poking out – weak triceps
A flawless one arm pushup should look just like a normal elbows tucked in pushup but only with one hand. I’m willing to bet that there a VERY FEW people that can do a flawless one arm pushup.
You Need To Build Up To A One Arm Pushup
Here are some more in depth progressions I went through to achieve the one arm pushup! Complete each progression before moving onto the next one.
Progression 1 – Regular Pushup for 30 plus reps
Progression 2 – Elbows Tucked to Sides Pushup for 30 plus reps
Progression 3 – One Arm Assisted Push-ups with a basketball for 10 reps
Note – the further the ball is away from you the hardest it is. Build up to doing 10 reps with your arm fully stretched out until you move to step 4.
Progression 4 – One Arm Pushups with Hand on Bench
Here, you’re going to do a one arm pushup (like you would on the ground) the only difference is you’re going to do it with your hand elevated on a surface.
By placing your hand on an elevated surface such as a bench you remove a little bit of the resistance. Therefore making it easier. Gradually lower the surface you use getting closer and closer to the ground.
Progression 5- One Arm Pushup!
As you practice them and get better and better at doing them, you can bring your feet in closer together, tuck your elbow closer to your side and limit sideways leaning.
Supplementary Exercises – These exercises will greatly improve your one arm pushup abilities
1. Weighted Pushups – Perform these with a weight on your back. This exercise will help build the raw pressing power making your one arm pushups easier.
2. Dumbbell Bench Press – Another option if you need to add strength to your chest, shoulders, and tris.
3. Bar Dips – Great exercise to strengthen triceps
4. Renegade Rows – Probably the most beneficial exercise for increasing core strength and stabilization to do the one arm pushup. Do these for 3-6 reps per side with a heavy weight and try to keep your torso completely straight and avoid torquing or leaning to the side.
Note – Keep reps low to build strength and don’t train to failure (training to failure will burn you out and stall your progress)
How To Implement This Into Your Workout Routine
In order to develop a skill you must train it often and train it while you are fresh. Remember that!
So I recommend practicing the movement at least 3x a week. You can perform a one arm pushup progression at the beginning of each of your Strength training workouts. In addition I would make sure to do the renegade rows at least 2x a week.
Beginning of Workout
One arm pushup progression: 3 sets of 5 quality reps without going to failure
End of Workout
Renegade Rows: 3 sets of 3-6 reps per side with a heavy weight (build up to 50% of your bodyweight in each hand)
After you can do Flawless One Arm Pushups with ease, the next step is to raise your feet up on a bench. This is an extremely advanced bodyweight exercise and if you can get to this point your a physical freak and you should be extremely proud.
For more on combining bodyweight training with traditional weight training, check out this article here.