PT on the Net Research

One Arm Push Ups


I am inquiring about a client of mine, she's is great shape and wants to set a goal to be able to do one handed push-ups. Do you have any advice on what strength exercises I can teach her and proper technique.


A one handed push-up obviously requires a great amount of shoulder/core strength. Yet, it will be important to consider flexibility and posture as well. I would suggest assessing her shoulder girdle rhythm for any possible movement compensations. For example watch her perform a standard pushup, can she complete the movement without cervical protraction and/or exaggerated lordosis/kyphosis. Or, observe your client in a pull-up/assisted pull-up, do her shoulders elevate rather than depress in the movement?

If any of these test come back positive (for compensation), here is a list of muscles to stretch and exercises that may help to restore optimal function to the shoulder girdle:

The one arm push-up requires great amounts of TRANSVERSE PLANE (rotational), core strength/stability. Here are a list of transverse plane core exercise progressions:

The above suggested stretches and exercises can be found in the Flexibility and Exercise Library.

Beyond this, I would suggest practicing the goal itself, start with a wide stance with the feet for added support, then simply hold the end position of the one arm push-up statically at first, gradually, over time, add in progressive ROM.