Push-ups on one hand: technique and leading movements

Push-ups on one arm are a technically difficult, effective exercise that clearly demonstrates the athlete’s physical skills. In order to learn how to do push-ups in this way, you will need not only basic physical preparation, but also the ability to maintain balance due to the coordinated work of stabilizer muscles. The correct technique of this exercise, the benefits of its implementation and other aspects will be discussed later.

The benefits of doing exercise

Push-ups on one arm, as well as the classic variations of this movement, develop the muscles of the upper body. In particular, these are the muscles of the chest, the front bundles of the deltas and triceps.

Push-ups on one hand: technique and leading movements
The benefit of the exercise is to develop strength and endurance of the muscles of the upper body, as well as training coordination.

However, this first option has two main differences:

  1. The whole load falls on one single arm. Thus, the intensity of muscle training is two times higher than with conventional push-ups from the floor. This exercise is an excellent indicator of the athlete’s true strength.
  2. In addition to the maximum load on the muscles, the benefit of doing push-ups on one arm is that you have to maintain balance all the time, and this is an absolutely non-trivial task.

    Just try to stand upright and lay one hand behind your back, while spreading your legs and not taking your pelvis to the side. In order to maintain balance in this position, you have to use almost all the muscles of the body.

When balancing on one arm, the latissimus dorsi and abs are actively involved in the work. In motion, maintaining balance becomes even more difficult. It looks promising, doesn't it? You can challenge your own body!


There are very few contraindications to this exercise, despite its complexity.

In fact, they are the same as for ordinary push-ups from the floor. These are injuries of the joints involved in the exercise: the shoulder, elbow, wrist.

You should not do push-ups on one arm if you feel pain or discomfort in the joints or muscles. Otherwise, the benefit of the exercise will be minimal, and much more harm can be received.

Technique of execution

In different sources you can find a different description of the technique of performing such push-ups.

And even coaches perform it differently. Some options are more effective, but more complex, while others, in turn, are easier to perform, but the effect will not be so pronounced.

Push-ups on one hand: technique and leading movements
Push-ups from the floor on one arm.

Therefore, it would be logical to consider the most complex reference version of this exercise and give a number of ways in which you can ease your task when mastering it.

This reference embodiment implies that the position of the body during movement looks almost the same as with classical push-ups.

You only lean on two palms, but on one placed by the palm under the body.In other words, your body makes the most straight line, the shoulders are parallel to the floor, and your legs are spaced at a distance comparable to the width of the shoulders.

You should strive for such an option for performing the exercise. However, learning how to do push-ups right away is unlikely to succeed, even if you have impressive physical strength. The thing again is balance and the ability to mentally coordinate the work of a large array of muscles.

So, how push-ups on one arm are done ideally:

  1. Starting position - emphasis lying on one arm. The second hand should be removed behind the back, placing the brush on the buttock or slightly lower. The body is straight and legs are on toes. The distance between the feet is approximately the width of the shoulders, perhaps a little more.
  2. On inspiration, bending the working arm at the elbow, you lower your chest almost to the floor.

    The loin does not bend.

  3. On exhalation, you push yourself to the starting position.

What techniques make the exercise easier:

  • The wider you spread your legs, the easier it becomes to keep your balance, and the farther you can put your working arm away from the midline of the body. Accordingly, you can transfer the lion's share of the load from the triceps to the pectoral muscle.
  • By moving the pelvis to the side of the working arm and raising the opposite shoulder, you will also make balancing easier.

It makes sense to use these techniques only at the very beginning in order to get a taste, so to speak. Otherwise, the temptation to get used to the fact that the exercise is at least somehow obtained and not progress further is very great.

Preparatory exercises

In order to learn to do push-ups on one arm, you must first master several leading exercises.

Partial support on the second hand

In this exercise you use a small support - a ball, a bar, all that is at hand. The technique is as follows:

  • Accept the emphasis lying down.

    Straighten the hand, which is supposed to be removed behind the back, and take it to the side. Put your palm on a ball or bar. You cannot fully rely on it, but it will certainly provide partial support to you and will not allow you to touch the floor with this hand.

  • Perform push-ups, focusing on the effort of the muscles of the supporting arm.

In this way, pushing up is somewhat easier than with one hand, but harder than in the classic version.

Try to transfer the weight to the working arm and gradually tear off the second palm from the support.

Push-ups on one hand: technique and leading movements
One arm on a support.

We put the other hand on the back side

In this option, you accept the standard emphasis for push-ups from the floor, only put the palm of the working hand on the floor, as usual, and put the palm of the second hand on the back side.

On the back side, pushing up is far from convenient. Therefore, you will involuntarily transfer most of the weight to the working arm.


  • Take the classic position for push ups from the floor. Place the palm of one hand on the back side and transfer the body weight to the other hand.
  • Start push-ups, trying to fully concentrate efforts on the working hand.

Hands above the legs

This exercise option allows you to reduce the load on the working arm, thereby allowing the muscles to get used to the work. The technique is as follows:

  • Put your working hand on a small elevation - step platform, bench, edge of the bed.

    In this position, the load on the muscles will decrease, and you can fully concentrate on working out the balance. Take your other hand behind your back and straighten the body.

  • When bending solely your working arm, try to perform the movement correctly.

Having learned to do push-ups in this position, gradually lower the height of the support until you go down to the floor. An additional benefit of this exercise is that you immediately learn to maintain balance.

Push-ups on one arm is a difficult physical and coordination task, but, as many athletes know, nothing is impossible. Not everyone can correctly execute the movement, but if you succeed, you will be able to assert with full confidence that the level of your physical fitness has reached significant heights.



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