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Mastering the One-Arm Push-Up

by Jordan Syatt on August 12, 2013
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A perfect 1-Arm Push-Up is the mark of true mastery over one’s own bodyweight.  One of the most difficult exercises in existence, high levels of strength, power, balance, flexibility, coordination, and kinesthetic awareness are necessary to successfully complete it.

Mastering the 1-Arm Push-Up is one of the foremost desires of all strength enthusiasts and, in this article, I present you with the tools to do it.

In the paragraphs below I’ve provide a step-by-step exercise progression designed to help you successfully perform the 1-Arm Push-Up. Watch the instructional videos, adhere to the requirements, and follow the process in the exact order that I’ve provided. By the end of the progression you’ll be a master of your own bodyweight and performing 1-Arm Push-Ups with ease.

1. The Push-Up

On the quest to mastering the 1-Arm Push-Up it’s necessary to first master the standard push-up. While many believe they’re already proficient in this seemingly “easy” movement, the unfortunate reality is that most trainees can’t perform a single push-up with proper form.

Watch the video demonstration below, master the standard Push-Up, and once you can perform 20 perfect repetitions you can move on to the second variation in the sequence.

2. The Alternating Push-Up

The Alternating Push-Up is a beast of a move that will leave your chest and triceps sore for days. I enjoy using the Alternating Push-Up as a pre-cursor to the 1-Arm Pushup because it allows the trainee to feel the stress of placing more weight on a single arm while maintaining the push-up position.

Watch the video demonstration below, master the Alternating Push-Up, and once you can perform 20 perfect repetitions you can move on to the third variation in the sequence.

3. The Hands Elevated 1-Arm Push-Up

The Hands Elevated 1-Arm Push-Up is unquestionably the best drill to use when training for a true 1-Arm Pushup. Not only is it extraordinarily specific in that the body position is almost exactly the same, but it can also be tailored to individual needs by simply adjusting the height at which the hands are elevated. If I could only choose one movement to use in the process of developing a 1-Arm Push-Up this would be it.

Watch the video demonstration below, master the Hands Elevated 1-Arm Push-Up, and once you can perform 5 perfect repetitions per/side (with your hands no more than 5 inches above the ground) you can move on to the fourth variation in the sequence.

4. The Negative 1-Arm Push-Up

The final variation to master is the Negative 1-Arm Push-Up. After mastering the Hands Elevated 1-Arm Push-Up it may appear to be too easy but, I promise, once you try it you’ll quickly realize that’s not the case. Done properly, the Negative 1-Arm Push-Up will yield astounding results and drastically improve overall strength.

Watch the video demonstration below, master the Negative 1-Arm Push-Up, and once you can perform 3 sets of 5 repetitions (lowering for 5 seconds per repetition) you can move on to the 1-Arm Push-Up.

5. The 1-Arm Push-Up

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the 1-Arm Push-Up! Before you begin attempting it, though, make sure to watch the video demonstration below to gain a solid understanding of what proper technique looks like.

Never sacrifice form for more repetitions!

Congratulations on your hard work and good luck in your future strength endeavors.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal.

-J

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