One Arm Pushup Form

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
Hello,

ive recently started adding one arm pushups to my routine andwas looking for ways to improve it. I’ve filmed a couple of dead stop reps here as described by Pavel from Naked Warrior and was wondering what I’m missing in terms of form. I feel my elbow flares a little bit and my opposite foot is a little slanted in. Tips?


 

bluejeff

Level 5 Valued Member
I'm not Sf certified, so hopefully someone else will chime in....

But here are my two cents:

I would say that it looks like you have quite a bit of arch in your back (your chest rises slightly faster than your hips) and yes, your elbow does flare out. Might be a good idea to scale it back a bit and elevate your hand. I'm no OAPU expert, but I have seen enough bodyweight training to say that it looks like it's just a little bit too hard for you at that level. I bet you will see better progress if you accumulate more reps with crisp form at an easier elevation.
 

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
I'm not Sf certified, so hopefully someone else will chime in....

But here are my two cents:

I would say that it looks like you have quite a bit of arch in your back (your chest rises slightly faster than your hips) and yes, your elbow does flare out. Might be a good idea to scale it back a bit and elevate your hand. I'm no OAPU expert, but I have seen enough bodyweight training to say that it looks like it's just a little bit too hard for you at that level. I bet you will see better progress if you accumulate more reps with crisp form at an easier elevation.
thank you. Yes it is quite hard to move off the floor from here. Not sure if my hands even if the best spot. These one arm pushups do merit in Depth dedication and study to achieve
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Looking strong. I would agree with @bluejeff. The dead stop version is harder than elevated. Maybe video one where you lower down to where the elbow is just above the top of the shoulder, and push back up?

If you can get good traction with your feet, keeping the feet vertical and pushing back into your heels, that will help too.
 

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
Looking strong. I would agree with @bluejeff. The dead stop version is harder than elevated. Maybe video one where you lower down to where the elbow is just above the top of the shoulder, and push back up?

If you can get good traction with your feet, keeping the feet vertical and pushing back into your heels, that will help too.
Thank you @Anna C. I seem to have trouble with elevated ones for some reason like the wrist angle is odd since it doesn’t quite match the angle on the floor. I do them on benches but I feel I must lean WAY over my working hand to keep proper hip/torso relationships. If I find a ramp, it seems more ideal for wrist position but for some reason benched I find a bit difficult to balance the OAP on. Do you guy who practice these place the hand flat on the bench or along the edge so you’re pushing more back as opposed to straight up? Also, is your stance supposed to be parallel to the bench or slightly biased so the leg of non working hand is a little further back? I have NW but this step has always troubled me a bit
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Thank you @Anna C. I seem to have trouble with elevated ones for some reason like the wrist angle is odd since it doesn’t quite match the angle on the floor. I do them on benches but I feel I must lean WAY over my working hand to keep proper hip/torso relationships. If I find a ramp, it seems more ideal for wrist position but for some reason benched I find a bit difficult to balance the OAP on. Do you guy who practice these place the hand flat on the bench or along the edge so you’re pushing more back as opposed to straight up? Also, is your stance supposed to be parallel to the bench or slightly biased so the leg of non working hand is a little further back? I have NW but this step has always troubled me a bit
Yes, I did a lot of these since my SFB standard for certification (as a master) was on a 6-8" elevated surface (we used bumper plates). It does help to push back a bit, which also goes along with pushing back into the heels. This unloads the upper body somewhat which makes it a bit easier also (whether you want it to be easier in this way depends on your training objectives and desired intensity). Look for your forearm to be vertical at the bottom and as you initiate the push. Your stance will be mostly balanced, but can be slightly biased to the working side.
 

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
Yes, I did a lot of these since my SFB standard for certification (as a master) was on a 6-8" elevated surface (we used bumper plates). It does help to push back a bit, which also goes along with pushing back into the heels. This unloads the upper body somewhat which makes it a bit easier also (whether you want it to be easier in this way depends on your training objectives and desired intensity). Look for your forearm to be vertical at the bottom and as you initiate the push. Your stance will be mostly balanced, but can be slightly biased to the working side.
Ok this makes sense. I will try it out this way. Many times on this phase I’ve found myself initiating the concentric and pushing my feet backwards and sliding along the ground 😆

thank you for the tips!
 

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
@Philippe Geoffrion regarding elevation feeling weird, I have the same problem.
My Successful Training Plan for the SFB | StrongFirst - @SvenRieger describes a very good way to add elevation by using a board. This might help you.
Thank you that’s a great article. Elevating a flat board seems ideal. I’ll have to be one the lookout for similar slanted surface and practice a bit of GTG. Yes the palm flat one elevated objects never really felt right to me. Glad I’m not along in that thinking. Rails may be another good option to look out for.
 

Erik Hournou

Level 6 Valued Member
Hey, you know what could help you a lot with the OAP?
Crawling. Seriously underrated, it strengthens your arm unilaterally and you have to sabilize everything while moving. I got my first OAPU by doing crawling and half reps, it helps to crawl as close to the ground as possible.
 

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
Hey, you know what could help you a lot with the OAP?
Crawling. Seriously underrated, it strengthens your arm unilaterally and you have to sabilize everything while moving. I got my first OAPU by doing crawling and half reps, it helps to crawl as close to the ground as possible.
I used to incorporate crawling a lot more. Know of a good resource to read more up on crawling? Seems ironic. Here we are learning to lift our bodies in weights in extravagant ways and I need instructions on the first movement I learned in life!
 

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
Hello all, and thanks again for the comments

I have embarked on the journey to OAP land and have filmed a few sets off some elevations. I'm following a plan along the lines of a strength program posted here by Karen Smith. I perform the 3 different elevations on separate days of the week, each one representing a hard, medium or light height. Here are the two former sets represented in film. Sorry for poor quality. Overall, they feel strong. I am curious however about the minor torso rotation that occurs. I've watched numerous O.A.P. videos of SF practitioners or others, and some seem to have this torso turn while others do no exhibit much at all. It seems exponentially harder to do a OAP with the torso/legs merely just hinging like a door. Is this slight corkscrew of the torso acceptable?

My heavier set height (shin level)


My medium set height (knee level)



I've noted, it seems better to approach the elevation at an angle instead of dead on. I've been lucky to find three objects that fit the criteria of having angled edges to accompany the palms direction of force better. These are from my first week, gradually want to work the shin level to multiple sets of 3, the knee to fives, nut sure what to do with the waste height level next week, as I did 5s and adding more reps at this height doesn't seem as logical as somehow decreasing the leverage. Maybe just keep the light day light and do the same or, add pauses or take away a leg maybe. We'll see.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Those look great, @Philippe Geoffrion !

Good idea following the HLM format as @Karen Smith advises.

Your torso rotation looks OK to me. Some does occur, but you don't want to "worm" up or "pry" up the shoulder up before the rest of the body... the body tension (the hardest thing about it, other than the push!) is used to keep the body as one piece as you lower and press up.

Try using the "Tsss... tsss.... tssss" power breath to get tight right before you lower down. It really helped for me.

Also work on keeping both feet vertical. It's easy to forget about the feet and they will tend to turn if you let them, making it harder to hold a good position.
 

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
Those look great, @Philippe Geoffrion !

Good idea following the HLM format as @Karen Smith advises.

Your torso rotation looks OK to me. Some does occur, but you don't want to "worm" up or "pry" up the shoulder up before the rest of the body... the body tension (the hardest thing about it, other than the push!) is used to keep the body as one piece as you lower and press up.

Try using the "Tsss... tsss.... tssss" power breath to get tight right before you lower down. It really helped for me.

Also work on keeping both feet vertical. It's easy to forget about the feet and they will tend to turn if you let them, making it harder to hold a good position.
Thanks @Anna C!! I’m really determined yo nail this move! Luckily, finding suitable objects to practice on has helped used the strategy of decreasing elevation.

Yes, the breathing is something I must implement and the feet can definitely be easily overlooked. Not sure if I understand the cue drive through the heels though just because I’m not sure if it’s interpreted as driving the foot straight into the ground or actively like driving them as in backwards to intensify dorsiflexion. Maybe both? Thanks again!
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Not sure if I understand the cue drive through the heels though just because I’m not sure if it’s interpreted as driving the foot straight into the ground or actively like driving them as in backwards to intensify dorsiflexion. Maybe both? Thanks again!
Yes, drive the heels backwards while keeping the foot vertical, intensifying dorsiflexion. You're quite welcome, good work!
 

Erik Hournou

Level 6 Valued Member
Hello all, and thanks again for the comments

I have embarked on the journey to OAP land and have filmed a few sets off some elevations. I'm following a plan along the lines of a strength program posted here by Karen Smith. I perform the 3 different elevations on separate days of the week, each one representing a hard, medium or light height. Here are the two former sets represented in film. Sorry for poor quality. Overall, they feel strong. I am curious however about the minor torso rotation that occurs. I've watched numerous O.A.P. videos of SF practitioners or others, and some seem to have this torso turn while others do no exhibit much at all. It seems exponentially harder to do a OAP with the torso/legs merely just hinging like a door. Is this slight corkscrew of the torso acceptable?

My heavier set height (shin level)


My medium set height (knee level)



I've noted, it seems better to approach the elevation at an angle instead of dead on. I've been lucky to find three objects that fit the criteria of having angled edges to accompany the palms direction of force better. These are from my first week, gradually want to work the shin level to multiple sets of 3, the knee to fives, nut sure what to do with the waste height level next week, as I did 5s and adding more reps at this height doesn't seem as logical as somehow decreasing the leverage. Maybe just keep the light day light and do the same or, add pauses or take away a leg maybe. We'll see.
Your medium set looks great! The hard one not so much, @Anna C gave great pointers on that.
But yeah try to keep the plank throughout the movement. I would probably make the medium day the hard day and make the other days easier, just so you can dial in technique.
 

Erik Hournou

Level 6 Valued Member
Thanks for the feedback! Just curious, what looks poor in the heavier set?
you shrug your shoulder and raise it before the rest of the body, it'd look better with a firm hollow position, that's why repping it out at a lower intensity might help, since you'll be able to maintain scapular depression, cause usually that's one of the hardest parts.
 
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