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The 100% Fool Proof Way To Get Your First One-Arm Pushup

Written by Tyler Bramlett

The one-arm pushup is perhaps the greatest bodyweight chest builder of all time.

This challenging move requires tremendous amounts of upper body strength, abdominal strength and coordination. And it taxes your upper body to the max.

I believe that everyone — men, women and children — should work up to performing this awesome bodyweight exercise!

In this short article, I will provide you with a step-by-step blueprint — complete with video demonstrations of each exercise — that will take you from struggling with simple kneeling and basic pushups to performing your very first one-arm pushup.

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Still not convinced?

Before you dig in, I want to share just a few of the reasons you should consider working towards the one-arm pushup:

For The Ladies:

  • Build sleek, toned and strong arms — and avoid having flabby triceps
  • Shrink your waist (even while not exercising) and build a flat strong core
  • Let your boyfriend/spouse know you’re the boss

For The Gents:

  • Build cut powerful arms that will knock out your opponent with one blow
  • Define your chest so you look like a Greek God
  • Develop that coveted V taper — with literally ZERO equipment

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The rest of this article is g100% dedicated to getting you the drills and skills necessary to be on the right path to your first one arm pushup.

I’ll make this really simple…

Begin with the first exercise, read the description and watch the video. When/if you are able to accomplish 3 sets of 10 reps, move onto the next exercise in the sequence.

Okay, let’s get started…

Exercise #1 – Kneeling Pushup

This is the most basic pushup that I teach people. Work on this exercise, and make sure your elbows don’t flare out. Keep your core rigid the entire time.

Watch the video below to see the kneeling pushup:

Work on the kneeling pushup until you can do 3 sets of 10 reps with 60-90 seconds rest in between. When you’ve nailed it, move on to exercise #2.

Exercise #2 – Full Pushup

The full pushup is where many people go wrong. You must master this exercise before moving on to more complicated variations, or you’ll set yourself up for failure.

Make sure your core stays rigid, your elbows remain close to your sides (this is critical if you want to get a perfect one-arm pushup) and lower all the way down until your chest touches the ground.

Watch the video below to see the full pushup:

Work on the full pushup until you can do 3 sets of 10 reps with 60-90 seconds rest in between. When you’ve nailed it, move on to exercise #3.

Exercise #3 – Close Or Diamond Pushup

The close grip or diamond pushup will help you build the strength in your muscles, arms and tendons to eventually perform the one-arm pushup.

Watch the video below to see the close pushup:

Work on the close pushup until you can do 3 sets of 10 reps with 60-90 seconds rest in between. When you’ve nailed it, move on to exercise #4.

Exercise #4 – One-Arm Assisted Pushup

The one-arm assisted pushup will hone your chops and develop the skills necessary to do the one-arm pushup. Start with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Perform a pushup to one side, using the assistance of the other arm.

Over time, I want you to bring your hands farther and farther apart, until your assisting arm is barely bent. You’re shifting more and more of your bodyweight to one arm, gradually strengthening it and building your balance.

When you reach this point, work on getting the prescribed number of sets/reps below the video, and then move on.

Watch the video below to see the one-arm assisted pushup:

Work on the one-arm assisted pushup until you can do 3 sets of 5 reps on each side with 60-90 seconds rest in between. When you’ve nailed it, move on to exercise #5.

Exercise #5 – One-Arm Fingertip Assisted Pushup

This “magic” exercise makes it super easy to transition from one-arm assisted pushups to the full unsupported variation.

Perform the one-arm assisted pushup just as you did in the previous exercise, only this time I want you to use just the fingertips of your assisted arm. In other words, your supporting arm is only helping you to balance by using your fingertips.

Once you reach the prescribed sets/reps listed below the video, lift one finger and work back up to the 3 sets of 5 reps on each side.

Keep working like this until you’re able to do this exercise using only the assistance of one finger, and then move on to to the final exercise.

Watch the video below to see the one-arm fingertip assisted pushup:

Work on the one-arm fingertip assisted pushup until you can do 3 sets of 5 reps on each side using only 1 finger for support, with 60-90 seconds rest in between.

Then it’s time to try your first one-arm pushup!

Now It’s Time To Try Your First One-Arm Pushups

If you’ve followed along with the step-by-step blueprint I just provided, and if you worked up to 3 sets of 5 reps of the one finger assisted one-arm pushup, then you’re ready to perform your first one arm pushup.

Watch the video below, and then give it a shot:

I hope you enjoyed this progression, and I wish you all the best in your fitness goals. Please be sure to come back to this article and share your success with us in the comments! I’d love to hear how you did.

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About the author

Tyler Bramlett

4 Comments

  • Good article and the vids show correct form which is great.
    Was just wondering though, how do us females do pushups without ending up with broad shoulders?
    Thanks, Janine

    • Great question!!
      Building muscle has more to do with reps and volume then it does strength. If you want to get stronger without building too much muscle then try taking each of the reps down by 50% this way you build strength without having to build that “pesky” muscle 🙂

      • Hi Tyler
        Thanks for the reply. I would like to build some muscle though, or at least tone my arms as they are very flabby. It feels as if there’s no muscle in my arms to even build up 🙁 I know when I did some swimming back in the day I started developing broad shoulders and definitely dont want to go back to that again. I will try cutting the reps down by 50% thanks.
        Janine

  • Yay! Decided I was ready after doing the assisted finger thing for a few weeks……….
    Go myself In the up position, took one hand away and assessed the balance .. Tricky, had to bend the body a little to compensate but hen did 8 on the left ( weaker)arm – ok we are not talking right down to a nose on the ground position, and the “form” needs some work, but it’s all about balance and the assisted finger thing teaches that!
    Wow talk about a boost to my Friday before going into work!
    Cheers
    Great lesson!!!

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