1AP effect on bench strength

westsider19

Level 1 Valued Member
Prior to lockdown I had a ~300 bench. Also, although I didn't practice often, I did 91 pushups.

During lockdown I discovered Pavel. In a week of practice I was able to do 1APs. I practiced with the box, and kept going lower. When I went to do my first real 1AP, I did 4 sets of 5 (both arms). Yesterday I did 2 sets of 7.

Off the bat I've noticed greater endurance in regular pushups. For example, prior to 1APs, I would test how many sets of 50 I could do, and I was burned out after 4 sets. Then after 1APs, I did 6x50 in ~23 minutes. In addition, my decline pushups have increased. I just recently pulled off 4x40 off a 17" box.

Obviously 1APs are a legit tool for strength, and I hope to assess their true impact soon (on the bench at the gym). The entire lockdown I've had no weights other than a 35lb KB basically; so outside of pushups varieties, there's been nothing else to train my bench. I don't expect to PR first time back or anything like that, and I was depressed thinking that after ~100 days I'd be lucky to bench 225. But with the introduction of 1APs, I've reassessed...and think 250-260 could be in the realm of possibilities. What do you think?

I do like doing these first, then going to regular pushups. After the 2 sets of 7, just doing 2 sets of 50 regular pushups had me gassed.

Also, every time I do these, it almost feels like a full-blown triceps exercise, with very little chest. Even my shoulders feel like they get worked more than my chest during 1APs. Thoughts? Has anyone developed significant chest hypertrophy with 1APs?
 

MikeL

First Post
Sounds like you’ve come at one arm pushups with the required strength already and so just had to train the mechanics.
ive started the 6 week plan now, I’m still elevated and I’m not cracking out 4x50 regular unbroken sets of pushups I can guarantee you! but I’ve been pushing out reps for over decade so I’m not a stranger to the movement (not an excuse, just clarifies my point about your strength base).

I do feel it in the tricep more when I do OAPU practice, certainly. And the obliques in week 1!
 

westsider19

Level 1 Valued Member
@MikeL , I've told my powerlifting friends, I don't care if you bench 500, if you've never tried OAPUs, you won't be able to do them right away.

Also, Pavel talks about feeling them in your midsection, but personally, they really light up my hip flexors.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

The more I practice the OAP, the more I think it can 'replace' well the regular bench press, espcially when performed using a push up bar to get a greater ROM.

I agree it can create or make imbalances worse. Nonetheless this instability makes it wonderful in terms of transfer.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

watchnerd

Level 5 Valued Member
The more I practice the OAP, the more I think it can 'replace' well the regular bench press, espcially when performed using a push up bar to get a greater ROM.
Oh!

Those are fighting words!

Not even Pavel things the OAP can replace the bench.... ;)

"That leaves us with the bench press (barbell, naturally). The last man standing, it wins."



Full disclosure:

As an weightlifter, as opposed to a powerlifter, I have no dog in this fight, given we don't get judged on bench.
 
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fractal

Level 6 Valued Member
Shortly after I achieved the OAPU I was able to try barbell floor pressing after not touching a bar for about 4 years. I was able to floor press within 10-20% of my previous ability which I thought was okay.

I find a couple singles with the OAOLPU a couple times per week the best way to continue making progress. Volume or sets of multiple reps seem to be taxing and counterproductive to my OAPU.

Oddly, I got my first OAPU from doing divebombers for a few weeks after having not attempted an OAPU for a couple months. This was after struggling for 2 stints of several months GTG the OAPU using the elevation method.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
I spent Nov 2017-Feb 2019 training the bench press and got up to a 1RM of 155 lb. I then started training OAPU for the SFB and got the single OAPU I needed to pass the cert. Both had their lessons and they were very different. The push-up training did not maintain my bench press strength; but, I probably did insufficient volume to increase overall pushing strength. For me, volume seems to drive progress on bench press, and specificity rules. I think for women, we can do reps on this exercise much closer to our 1RM than is true for men, and there needs to be sufficient volume to force new strength adaptations. Perhaps it needs to be programmed differently, whereas for most lifts that's mostly not the case. And perhaps even more so for older women (I am 52). My strength has migrated to overhead lifts now, and my 1RM on bench press is probably back to 130 lb or so. OAPU has gone with the wind. Maybe someday I'll get back to it. These days I'm focused on weightlifting progressions for barbell snatch and C&J. I only bench press because it makes my upper back feel great... and usually < 100 lbs.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

Oh!

Those are fighting words!

Not even Pavel things the OAP can replace the bench.... ;)
I got what you mean ! I do not want to get thrown a 48kg bell in the head so I will rephrase to make it more accurate ;)

The OAP is my main horizontal push move. I also perform OAOL PU. Both are mainly performed on a GTG fashion all year long. I never "peak". What I noticed is that it easily maintain solid regular bench press (minimum my bdw) for singles.

By singles, I mean 2 or 3 clusters of 3 or 4 reps. Of course, we can consider this is not that huge and I agree. However, considering my goals (GPP), effort I put in the specific move (basically OAP / OAOL PU) and my poor mastery of the BP, this is why I say it "replace". But this word is only valid for me then.

The more you put stability work in a move, the less maximum strength you can put in the actual move. This is why heavy back squats (for instance) are one of the best way to improve leg strength because we take stability work out of the equation.

The transfer thing is important. When I ran RoP, it makes my OAP way stronger than before, despite the fact I cut it off (just performed 1 rep per day for the drill). This is the only period when I did not do OAP as a GTG.

There is also the technique. The better the technique, the less "effort" you put as you become more proficient. As an example, back then I was able to do 3 or 4 weighted pull ups with 70% of added bodyweight. This was my way to get to the OA pull up. It is considered that when you can do it day it day out, you got the raw strengh for the OA pull up. It tooks my a while to get to get the correct OA pull up technique.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

watchnerd

Level 5 Valued Member
Hello,


I got what you mean ! I do not want to get thrown a 48kg bell in the head so I will rephrase to make it more accurate ;)

The OAP is my main horizontal push move. I also perform OAOL PU. Both are mainly performed on a GTG fashion all year long. I never "peak". What I noticed is that it easily maintain solid regular bench press (minimum my bdw) for singles.

By singles, I mean 2 or 3 clusters of 3 or 4 reps. Of course, we can consider this is not that huge and I agree. However, considering my goals (GPP), effort I put in the specific move (basically OAP / OAOL PU) and my poor mastery of the BP, this is why I say it "replace". But this word is only valid for me then.

The more you put stability work in a move, the less maximum strength you can put in the actual move. This is why heavy back squats (for instance) are one of the best way to improve leg strength because we take stability work out of the equation.

The transfer thing is important. When I ran RoP, it makes my OAP way stronger than before, despite the fact I cut it off (just performed 1 rep per day for the drill). This is the only period when I did not do OAP as a GTG.

There is also the technique. The better the technique, the less "effort" you put as you become more proficient. As an example, back then I was able to do 3 or 4 weighted pull ups with 70% of added bodyweight. This was my way to get to the OA pull up. It is considered that when you can do it day it day out, you got the raw strengh for the OA pull up. It tooks my a while to get to get the correct OA pull up technique.

Kind regards,

Pet'
I'm going to blatantly copy pasta this table here because I think it does an awesome job of categorizing pushups according to the objective:

Attribute Development
  1. Wide Push-Up
  2. Fingers Out Push-Up
  3. Superman Push-Up
  4. Clapping Push-Up
  5. Walking Push-Up
  6. Spiderman Push-Up
  7. Scorpion Push-Up

Single Arm Strength
  1. Narrow Push-Up
  2. Side to Side Push-Up
  3. Around the World Push-Up
  4. Screw Up Push-Up
  5. Archer Push-Up Version 1
  6. Archer Push-Up Version 2
  7. Staggered Push-Up
  8. Single Arm Push-Up

Planche Improvement
  1. Hollow Body Push-Up
  2. Mountain Climber Push-Up
  3. Floating Push-Up
  4. Floating Push-Up to Extension
  5. Float to Float Push-Up

Hollow-body push up = gymnastic push up, so the author concurs that this is in the planche development family.

Copied from:

 

watchnerd

Level 5 Valued Member
I think for women, we can do reps on this exercise much closer to our 1RM than is true for men, and there needs to be sufficient volume to force new strength adaptations.
I remember reading studies that, for a given height / bodyweight, men and women could progress in strength training pretty equally when it comes to lower body strength, but that's not the case for upper body strength.

What I don't know / recall is what their definition of 'upper body' included, and whether it is equally true for arms/shouldera as it might be for chest/back.

Of course, this being "studies", there is an article on WebMD that says the exact opposite. ;)

(although it might take longer)

 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
I remember reading studies that, for a given height / bodyweight, men and women could progress in strength training pretty equally when it comes to lower body strength, but that's not the case for upper body strength.
Yeah I'd be interested to hear what @Zack has to say, having coached Tracy Cook to a 200+ lb bench press at almost 50 yrs old! It is definitely possible, but it seems to take a bit of a different approach for women.
 

watchnerd

Level 5 Valued Member
Yeah I'd be interested to hear what @Zack has to say, having coached Tracy Cook to a 200+ lb bench press at almost 50 yrs old! It is definitely possible, but it seems to take a bit of a different approach for women.
It looks like it took her 4 years, from 3/15 to 3/24, to go from 57 kg to 90 kg on the bench.


That's about 8 kg per year.

Not being a power lifter, I have no idea how that compares, but the math looks like a very "easy strength" approach, <1 kg a month, as I would expect of a Masters age lifter (and as I also use, as a 50 year old lifter, more or less).
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

@watchnerd
Recently, you posted a chart with % of bodyweight in function of different feet elevation. Do you have something similar regarding the one arm version for example ?

Thanks !

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
It looks like it took her 4 years, from 3/15 to 3/24, to go from 57 kg to 90 kg on the bench.


That's about 8 kg per year.

Not being a power lifter, I have no idea how that compares, but the math looks like a very "easy strength" approach, <1 kg a month, as I would expect of a Masters age lifter (and as I also use, as a 50 year old lifter, more or less).
Yeah those lifting databases are awesome! You can really see what is possible over years of training. Tracy is incredibly consistent with her training and Zack does an amazing job as her coach all those years. Her training is very consistent with StrongFirst principles and she mixes kettlebell and bodyweight training with barbell. I follow on Instagram...
 

watchnerd

Level 5 Valued Member
Hello,

@watchnerd
Recently, you posted a chart with % of bodyweight in function of different feet elevation. Do you have something similar regarding the one arm version for example ?

Thanks !

Kind regards,

Pet'
From a physics / trigonometry point of view, as opposed to EMG/muscle activation, the mass lifted should be about the same as a standard push up, given the angle of the body.

The difference is that it's going through 1 arm instead of 2 arms.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Yes, I agree.

And, yet....

There is that dissing of micro-loading within the Strongfirst lore.

A bit paradoxical.
True... @Zack can speak better for himself, but from my observation he coaches from StrongFirst principles (which are targeted primarily at save general strength training) but makes the changes needed to get the best results for competitive athletes. I think Pavel would approve.
 
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