One Arm Push Up Progression

Dreaming of mastering the one-arm pushup, à la Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky series? While it may appear like an impossible dream, with the right workout routine, it’s achievable for anyone determined to put in the effort.

But before kickstarting your one-arm push-up journey, it’s crucial to establish a foundation by being capable of executing regular push-ups with impeccable form. This entails attention to details, such as hand placement, head alignment, body posture, and controlled motion.

Once you’ve honed the basic push-up motion, you can advance to the exciting world of one-arm push-up progressions.

From the initial 0° standing position to the 90° stance, we’ll guide you through different progressions that not only build upper body and core strength but also enhance your overall fitness. So, whether you aspire to perfect the one-arm push-up or simply seek to improve your workout, this comprehensive guide has you covered.

One-Arm Push-Up Progression

One-arm push-up progressions offer a gradual path to mastering this impressive feat of strength. These variations target different muscle groups while gradually increasing the challenge, making them suitable for individuals at various fitness levels.

1. One-Arm Push-ups Against The Wall

Beginners can benefit from this variation as it provides a supportive surface, i.e., the wall, for more balance.

Stand facing a wall and place your hand on it at shoulder height. The closer you stand to the wall, the more comfortable you’ll be, while moving farther increases the intensity. This exercise helps you learn the movement pattern and build confidence.

2. Inclined One-Arm Push-Ups

To progress, try inclined one-handed push-ups. 

Hold an elevated surface (or a piece of furniture) with one hand, and move your feet away from it. Position your feet on their tips and gradually increase the degree of inclination as you gain strength and proficiency. This variation intensifies the workout while targeting your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

3. One-Arm Push-Ups With Support

As you continue building strength, incorporate support elements, such as a pebble, bench, or basketball under your free hand. The key is to maintain controlled and gradual movements. If you find it challenging to complete one rep, consider revisiting previous variations or performing slow negatives to develop the necessary strength.

4. Assisted One-Arm Push-Ups

In this variation, you maintain the one-arm push-up starting position, but one arm should be on the floor slightly farther than the other arm. Perform the push-up using both arms. This version eases you into the movement while gradually reducing support from your assisting arm.

5. Full One-Arm Push-Ups

Finally, aim for full one-hand push-ups. Begin by extending your non-working arm backwards until it reaches your hips. Your working arm should remain at shoulder height and fully extended while your non-working arm bends and rests in your lower back

Keep your legs a bit wider than in a regular push-up for added stability. Descend in a controlled manner, bending your working arm until your chin touches the ground, and then push back up. This advanced variation targets your chest muscles, shoulders, and core.

Remember that maintaining proper form is crucial throughout these progressions. Keep your core tight, shoulders in a straight line, and elbows tucked close to your body. 

Notably, these one-handed push-up progressions are effective for building upper body strength and enhancing core stability. They can be integrated into bodyweight training routines, complementing exercises like weighted pull-ups and pelican push-ups to create a well-rounded workout regimen.

Lastly, these progressions cater to a wide range of fitness levels, ensuring that anyone can work towards achieving the coveted one-arm push-up with dedication, patience, and the requisite strength.

One-arm Push-up Workout Routine

After getting accustomed to the exercise progression, it’s time to implement a well-structured workout regimen. Whether you’re a beginner or at an intermediate level, achieving your goal requires dedication and consistency.

For beginners, recognise that the journey may take longer compared to intermediates due to varying starting points. Your initial strength level significantly influences your progress rate. Even if you’re starting from scratch, don’t be disheartened—the pursuit of such a challenge will surely yield immense satisfaction and growth.

An effective scheme to ensure hypertrophy and muscle strength involves performing 5 sets of 5 reps, commonly referred to as 5×5. Ideally, aim to perform the exercise thrice a week. If you experience faster progression, consider advancing to the following stages assigned to subsequent weeks:

Weeks 1-2: One-hand push-ups against the wall (5×5)

Weeks 3-4: Inclined one-arm push-ups (5×5)

Weeks 5-6: One-armed push-ups with support (5×5)

Weeks 7-8: Assisted one-armed push-ups (5×5)

Weeks 9-10: Negative full + assisted one-arm push-ups (5×5 each)

We suggest using benches of varying heights to take the workout up a notch between weeks 2 and 3. Plus, if you find the initial weeks too easy, consider commencing from the fifth week to maintain a challenging workout.

While practising this exercise, emphasise the importance of a strong core. Your core muscles play a pivotal role in the sound functioning of your entire body. So, keep your abdominal muscles engaged and tight throughout the exercise to maintain stability and good form.

By adhering to this structured workout regime and progressing through the arm pushup variations, you will steadily build upper body strength, shoulder stability, and overall muscular development. This gradual approach ensures that you develop the requisite strength and form to execute one-arm push-ups effectively while minimising the risk of muscle imbalances or injury.

Final Words

Performing the one-handed push-up through a systematic arm pushup progression is an achievable goal for anyone willing to invest time and effort. By starting with the basics in the normal push-up position and gradually advancing through single-arm push-ups, you can build impressive upper-body strength and core stability.

Remember, the journey of mastering one-arm push-ups is a process that demands patience and consistency. Maintaining correct form, engaging your core, and employing whole-body tension are essential throughout this advanced body weight exercise.

With dedication and the right technique, this single-arm variation is not only a great exercise but also a testament to your strength and perseverance. So, keep pushing, and soon, you’ll conquer the one-arm push-up with confidence and skill.

Leave a comment