3 Tips For Performing A One-Arm Push Up

Under Exercises To Build Muscle, Recent Posts

You have to admit there is definitely a “cool factor” when it comes to the one-arm push up. This exercise is just plain tough. It combines strength, coordination and balance.

That’s why we’re going to include it in our new Lean Hybrid Muscle – Body Weight edition program. Anyhow a few weeks ago at a wedding in Niagra Falls my friend Adam Steer (circular strength coach) gave me these three tips to share with you.


Who knows, with these tips and a bit of practice you may just give “Rocky” a run for his money!

The Tighter the Lighter

Have you ever tried to pick up someone who has passed out? Did you notice how much “heavier” they seem. Compare that to picking up the same person once they have stiffened up all their muscles… To become tighter and lighter, stretch the crown of your head in one direction and your heels in the other. This will force all your stabilizer muscles into action to lengthen you out – and it’ll tighten your whole structure up too.

onearmrockyLock and Load

Whether under a bench press or doing a push up, one of the big mistakes I often see is letting the shoulders drift up towards the ears. Keep your shoulders locked down away from your ears if you want to optimize the involvement of the powerful pecs and triceps. You’ll also greatly reduce your chance of injury by concentrating the force in your shoulder through structural elements instead of soft tissue.

Go Wide

Spread your feet wider apart than for a regular push up. This is part of the balancing act required for a great one arm push up. You’ll also have bring your working arm closer in to your center line.

Got any tips to add? Post them below.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. Vince
    July 16, 2010
    10:55 pm

    Use the other arm for some support when first trying. As you get better and it becomes easier, use the other arm less.

    e.g. Get in the same position as if doing a one arm push up, but use the other arm out to the side and support on fingertips, then take away one finger, two, three, four, all


  2. Richard Sanders
    July 17, 2010
    12:04 am


    All good points. Bodyweight exercises work much better when you keep tight.

    If you cannot do one on the ground, just do one on a bench or whatever and over time work you way closer to the ground.


  3. BK
    July 17, 2010
    12:42 am

    If you want to do a one armed push-up, use this ONE tip:

    Imagine that your body is a plank of wood – keep your knees, hips and shoulders in a straight plane! Concentrate on keeping them in line and the push-up will come so much easier.



    July 17, 2010
    4:40 am

    OH! Really Cool!!

    Let´s Doit!

    Thanks!! =)


  5. Murphy
    July 17, 2010
    9:28 am

    I have always been able to do one arm push ups for days, even before working out and being over weight….yup just did 10 no prob, also they don’t seem to do much but it’s cool to show people.


  6. Ross
    July 17, 2010
    8:31 pm

    In the book Convict Conditioning,which is all bodyweight exercises, they show a photo of a one arm pushup which is very different and more impressive than contorting your body to kinda do a one arm pushup.

    Ill admit though that I cant perform one either way.

    Check out beastskills.com


  7. Dennis
    July 18, 2010
    12:18 am

    I agree with Ross, spreading the legs makes it easier(& is a good place to start) where as keep them together as in the book Convict Conditioning with the feet closer together requires more stabilizers & is much more difficult. I can to the one described in this article, but am still working on the version mentioned in “Convict Conditioning”.


  8. Bruce P.
    July 19, 2010
    10:22 pm

    Once you’ve mastered the one arm, try extension pushups. Hands fully extended above your head, up on the fingers, and lift your body off the floor. When that get’s easy, put your hands out to the sides and do the same thing.


  9. wrestler strength
    October 26, 2010
    1:21 am

    Great tips guys…many thanks!


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