Four Progressions to Conquer the One-Arm Pushup

Once I first attended the StrongFirst Body weight (SFB) Certification in 2016, I failed the one-arm pushup check that weekend. Having lately handed the SFG Stage I Certification seven months prior, I used to be new to StrongFirst strategies and energy coaching and nonetheless within the early phases of changing into sturdy.

Quick-forward to right this moment, 2023, I’ve now handed the one-arm pushup (OAPU) check 4 occasions: on the SFB in 2016, 2019, and 2022, and on the SFL (to recertify my Elite standing) in 2021.

Every time I prepare for the OAPU check, I be taught extra about this multifaceted motion that delivers a lot extra than simply higher physique energy. Practising the OAPU not solely yields great symmetrical pushing energy, it’s additionally a full-body train that recruits and challenges the midsection, lats, glutes, quads, and even the fingers and ft.

This text and coaching program characterize the fruits of learnings from my coaches who helped me repeatedly obtain the OAPU over time: the StrongFirst Licensed Grasp Instructors Karen Smith, Andrea U-Shi Chang, and the StrongFirst Licensed Senior Teacher Maggie Burrows. I hope this text helps you in your coaching in the identical means that my coaches guided, inspired, and supported me.

Earlier than You Begin

Earlier than you begin this program, check your OAPU together with your hand on an elevation. Discover an elevation the place you are able to do one clear/strict rep with none compensations. Then, measure the peak of that elevation.

It’s vital that you simply deal with this as a talent observe and guarantee your kind is tight. Practising poor high quality reps the place your plank falls aside, your shoulder shrugs, you rotate excessively, your ft collapse, and/or different issues come up will forestall you from attaining your OAPU and will even result in harm.

For a listing of frequent compensations within the OAPU, learn this important article by Karen Smith, StrongFirst Licensed Grasp Teacher.

You’ll prepare 4 days per week for six weeks. Every week has one heavy day, two medium days, and one mild day.

After you end this six-week plan, retest your OAPU on an elevation. You’ll discover that your energy has elevated and that you may personal a tougher OAPU at a decrease elevation—even perhaps an OAPU on the bottom.

Prerequisite: If you are able to do 5 hardstyle two-arm pushups, you’ve got what it takes to reap the advantages of this plan.

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Pairs Effectively With…

As a result of the OAPU requires full-body pressure and locations a excessive tax in your central nervous system (CNS), it’s really helpful that you don’t do every other urgent throughout this plan. On the whole, you’ll wish to keep away from excessive CNS stress actions comparable to heavy deadlifts and heavy squats.

This plan could be mixed with many different actions and coaching protocols, offered that the amount and price of perceived exertion (RPE) are saved within the low to medium vary. Particularly, OAPU coaching pairs nicely with:

  • Kettlebell swings (one-arm and two-arm)
  • Pulling actions comparable to pullups and rows
  • Decrease physique work comparable to single leg work and squats (not too heavy)
  • Kettlebell snatches

Do your OAPU observe firstly of every session while you’re recent. When you’re doing extra coaching other than the OAPU, make sure that it’s made up of largely mild to medium effort days to present your CNS ample restoration.

You Will Prepare 4 OAPU Progressions

Under are the 4 actions you’ll be working towards, in addition to the coaching plan itself.

  • Day 1—Medium: OAPU elevated on a barbell within the rack

    • Variety of reps: 5 per aspect
    • Variety of units: 4 to five units, relying on the week (see this system beneath)
    • RPE: 6 out of 10

Why observe elevated OAPUs?

The elevated OAPU lets you observe the OAPU with none added stability or help from the free hand. With this development, you may really feel the feeling of transferring your body weight with just one arm. You too can select and observe your most well-liked place for the free hand.

As you get stronger, you’ll have to decrease the elevation of the barbell as soon as each 1-3 weeks to maintain the RPE at 6.

  • Day 2—Heavy: OAPU with band-in-hand help

    • Variety of reps: 2 per aspect
    • Variety of units: 3 to six units, relying on the week (see this system beneath)
    • RPE: 8 out of 10

Why observe band-in-hand assisted OAPUs?

The band-in-hand assisted OAPU on the bottom lets you observe OAPUs with the identical physique positioning that you’d use in an unassisted OAPU. You’re mimicking the motion of a real OAPU. Including help with a band within the free hand is much less secure than aiding with the free hand on the ground; thus, it requires extra cross-body midsection engagement and stability work.

Gripping the band tightly within the free hand encourages you to make use of irradiation, which is able to make your OAPU stronger.

Credit score goes to Maggie Burrows, StrongFirst Licensed Senior Teacher, for instructing me this OAPU development!

  • Day 3—Medium: OAPU with free hand help

    • Variety of reps: Ladder: 1, 2, 3 per aspect
    • Variety of units: 2-4 ladders, relying on the week (see program beneath)
    • RPE: 7 out of 10

Why observe hand-assisted OAPUs?

Helping with the free hand lets you add as a lot or as little help as you need. A five-finger “tent hand” help makes a rep a lot simpler than a two-finger or one-finger help. You may rapidly customise the issue of every rep, dialing it as much as an RPE of 9, or right down to an RPE of 5.

This development is extra secure than the band-in-hand help. The elevated stability permits for a smoother motion and an elevated give attention to pure pushing energy. The free hand help additionally enables you to regulate the tempo and observe slower reps.

  • Day 4—Mild: One-arm/one-leg plank

    • Variety of reps: 10-15sec maintain per aspect
    • Variety of units: 3
    • RPE: 5 out of 10

Why observe the one-arm/one-leg (OAOL) plank?

The OAOL plank builds stability and confidence in your setup for the OAPU. It forges a bulletproof midsection and a very related full-body plank.

It additionally lets you observe key facets of the OAPU with minimal taxation in your CNS.

The Coaching Plan

Right here is the coaching plan you’ll comply with. Make sure to take a relaxation day between the medium and heavy days.

Begin with a full-body warm-up of your alternative, ensuring to incorporate wrist and shoulder mobility work. I prefer to heat up by doing the Floor Pressure Exploration from Floor Pressure Technique, adopted by a Versatile Metal sequence that features the kettlebell arm bar, halo, pump stretch, and Egyptian.

One-Arm Pushup Training Plan
Click on to enlarge
Cat performing the one-arm pushup band-in-hand assist

Ultimate Ideas

Video your self so you may spot compensations and at all times optimize for high quality. Working with an SFB StrongFirst Licensed Teacher will allow you to keep away from frequent pitfalls and progress extra rapidly.

This plan will also be used to coach the one-arm/one-leg pushup (OAOLPU). Merely observe the band-assisted (day 2) and the hand-assisted (day 3) reps with one foot off the bottom.

Whether or not you’re coaching the OAPU to arrange for the SFB Certification, otherwise you’re merely a energy fanatic who loves a brand new problem, this plan will get you nearer to your OAPU objectives.

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Catherine Buck Le
Cat Buck Le is a StrongFirst Licensed Crew Chief, a StrongFirst Elite Teacher, and co-owner of C&C Teaching, based mostly in Stanwood, WA.

Cat first began coaching with kettlebells in 2014 when she and her husband opened their health club, Krav Maga Seattle. Studying the talent of energy and attaining her SFG Stage I Certification in 2015 modified the course of her life. By studying from her coaches and mentors, immersing herself within the StrongFirst system, and sharing it with others, she found the transformative energy of devoted, disciplined coaching.

Cat’s aim as a coach is to guide others to reside happier, extra fulfilled lives by means of working in direction of energy objectives and overcoming self-limiting beliefs. By the self-discipline of energy coaching, we are able to grasp the abilities essential to grow to be our strongest, assured selves.

She is licensed below StrongFirst, NASM, Floor Pressure Technique, Versatile Metal, TRX, and Precision Diet.

For skill-focused kettlebell suggestions, subscribe to her YouTube channel.

Apply for one-on-one or small group teaching (on-line or in-person) with Cat right here:

Be a part of her Kettlebell 101 on-line course right here: catandchau.television.

When Cat shouldn’t be within the health club, you’ll find her touring, mountain climbing, paddleboarding, and having fun with the outside along with her husband Chau and their Rhodesian Ridgeback, Gracie.

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