7 Step Progression for a One-Arm Push Up

Breaking Muscle HQ

Real Athletes. Real Coaches. Real Knowledge.

Today we are going to look at a seven-step progression for a one-arm push up. We will work through a variety of different hand positions and ranges of motion to build up both strength and technique.


RELATED: Do You Know What Your Core Really Is and What it Does?


One-armed movements are a unilateral movement. They are ideal for learning stability through the core because we are resisting rotation. We want to block out all incorrect movement, to ensure the best mechanical movement pattern. Having good movement is important in order to:


  1. Allow the most efficient transference of force.
  2. Stay away from positions that will cause injury.


Here are the seven progressions to get you to a one-arm push up:


  1. Push up with fingers facing towards the feet - Hands stay shoulder-width apart for this one. Because the hands are flipped back, the shoulders are forced to start the movement.
  2. Standard push up - This should feel the same as step one. Initiate the movement through the shoulders.
  3. Wide push up - At the bottom, the elbow needs to be on top of the wrist, with the shoulder blades back and down.
  4. Push up with one hand close, one hand out - This creates some lateral flexion. Resist this flexion and keep your forearms vertical.
  5. Diamond push up - The elbows will push out to the side. This is fine, in fact it mimics the one-armed push up position.
  6. Diamond push up with wide legs - This will give us a more stable base.
  7. Diamond push up with wide legs and one hand close, one hand out - Time to put everything together. Perform a push up. Now move your outward hand wider and perform another push up. Keep moving that hand wider until you have a full one-arm push up.


When you do the one-arm push up, your hand may be turned in slightly. This is fine, because your body rotates to the side, which keeps the forearm vertical. Let us know when you get your one-arm push up!

See more about: , , , , , , ,
Breaking Muscle Newsletter

Breaking Muscle Newsletter

Get updates and special offers delivered directly to your inbox.