Push-ups are a basic movement that can help to build strength, power, and help to reduce one’s risk for injury. Throughout the fitness and rehab professions, the 1-arm push-up is a true measure of core stability, core strength, as well as upper body strength. For someone to perform a 1-arm push-up is an impressive feat.
For most athletes and clients, the 1-arm push-up is a very challenging maneuver and some may never attain the ability to perform one.
Here are 3 Quick Tips to Get Your First 1-Arm Push-Up!
1. Perform Them Elevated
If you can’t perform a 1-arm push-up on the floor, make the movement easier by elevating the surface on which you put your hands.
For example, you can perform a 1-arm pushup elevated on the crash bars in a squat rack, on a barbell in a squat rack, or on a bench.
This can be a great way to challenge someone who may not be able to perform one on the floor. By training in this fashion, it allows the athlete to perform multiple sets and reps and broaden their training base.
Once you can perform multiple sets and reps at a specific height, lower the level you are at until you are at the floor.
2. Slow Eccentrics
Another option if someone cannot perform a 1-arm push-up from the floor is by performing only the eccentric portion of the 1-arm push-up.
By performing it in this fashion, it allows the athlete to have to focus on maximal total body tension and control of the movement on the way down. By improving eccentric control, this can carry over to concentric control, which is needed to bring oneself back up from the ground.
Make sure to maintain good technique with a neutral spine and allow the scapulae to move on the way down towards the ground.
3. Anti-Extension Rotation Core Work
Working on improving core strength and stability is not a typical area most people think of when trying to improve upper body strength, specifically 1-arm push-up strength. But, a common area with a 2 and 1-arm push-up is that core stability can be a major limiting factor in being able to adequately perform the movement. If you or an athlete or client is having difficulty with improving their 1-arm push-up strength, first assess their core stability.
A great test, developed by Functional Movement Systems, is the Trunk Stability Push-Up.
Some people think that this test is just an assessment of upper body strength. The main point of this assessment is to see if the athlete or client can maintain a neutral spine position when going from the starting position to the ending position.
If someone is arching through their low back or their upper body rises before their hips/lower body, then they may potentially need to improve their core stability.
Implementing movements into an athlete’s training program such as:
TRX Anti-Rotation Press
Split Stance Anti-Rotation/Extension Press
Stability Ball Rollouts
Farmer’s or Suitcase Carries
½ Kneeling Chops
½ Kneeling Lifts
These various movements can help improve an athlete’s core stability/strength in order to create adequate force transmission throughout the entire body during a 1-arm push-up.
If you or your athletes or clients want to do their first 1-arm push-up, try adding these options into their program.
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