Friday, 7 November 2008

Mastering the One Handed Press Up

There are certain exercises that are always visually more pleasing to watch than others. Likewise, these exercises not only grab the attention of people in the gym when they are performed, but most of the time make there way onto the dance floors in night clubs every Saturday night.

Exercises like these include the splits, back flips, high jumping kicks, and one of the firm favourites, the one handed press up.

Made famous via Rocky, people still to this very day are left with there bottom jaw dropped when they see Sly pumping them out.

So how can you master them? Check out my recommendations below,

Firstly master the two handed press up first. If you can not do these pretty easily you will never be able to do one handed press ups to a level where you can perform multiple sets. Perform two handed ones regularly (at least three times a week) until you can easily churn out 4 sets of 20 reps with 20 seconds rest in between each set.

For the One Handed press up,

1. Balance your body – you will probably have to widen you legs slightly more than with two handed press ups and shall have to place all of the weight of your upper body on just your one arm (which is why one handed press ups are twice as hard)
2. Perform partial reps at first – Chances are you can not perform a full range rep at first, (where you lower your chest to the floor and you can push yourself back to the starting position) however if you can go to step 3. For those that can not, perform partial reps where you perform only half of the rep. Eg, lower your body only half way to the floor and back up or start from the lowered position with your chest touching the floor and push yourself up as far as possible.
3. Be strict in form – When you can perform a one handed press up, always remember at first to be completely strict with your form. Don’t start using your body to complete your reps, lower yourself and push yourself up keeping your body straight as with a normal press up.
4. Perform full range reps – Apart from those who can not perform full range reps (see step 2) you should be lowering yourself so your chest touches the floor and pushing yourself all the way up. ALWAYS DO THIS.
5. Keep your chin up – The tendency when doing press ups is to lower the head. Keep you chin up in order to keep your back straight.
6. Keeping at twenty – For the best results, keep your one handed press ups at no more than twenty reps for four sets three times a week. If you can do more than this, they are too easy for you and you will benefit more from performing one arm dumbbell presses.
7. Work both hands – Work both hands every workout. A lot of people only perform one handed press ups with one hand and never perform them with the other. DON’T GET INTO THIS HABIT. Work both hands in order to gain strength in the whole body and not just one side which causes an inbalanced physique.

One handed press ups are great to perform for strength and as mentioned above, look good to others. As with all exercises though, don’t just limit yourself to one variation. Experiment with the exercises for yourself in order to find the best way of performing them for you and to work the body in different ways.

I leave you with Bruce Lee demonstrating them, on two fingers of one hand!


 Subscribe to

Related Articles...
Bodybuilding and Martial Arts
One More Rep
Towel Chin Ups
Increasing Throwing Strength and Explosiveness
Protein Powder and Creatine Kicks Vs Good old Fashioned Food

Tags: , , ,

I'm reading: Mastering the One Handed Press UpTweet this! Share


Adam @ Low Tech Combat said...

I havnt done one armed press ups for a while, about 2 months.

one extra idea if they become a little easy or want another variation...

raise the foot off the ground from the same side that the pressing arm is on. So you are in effect doing a one arm press up, supported by one leg. You use the limbs from opposite sides.

It is a bit of a balancing act and hits the core much more as well.

Its all about maximum contraction :)

MARKS said...

ADAM - Yes, ive used this variation before. As you say it is great for the core and great for balance. Thanks for the tip!

Post a Comment