What Are the Benefits of One-Arm Pushups?

One-arm pushups build your chest, shoulders and triceps.
i Marili Forastieri/Digital Vision/Getty Images

A staple exercise in many training programs, pushups are are often prescribed in home workouts, body-weight training plans and gym class. At a certain point though, the benefits you get from doing regular pushups diminish, and you'll start to see better results by introducing one-arm pushups. They require more strength and skill, and are a much bigger challenge than the two-armed version.


As with any exercise, the aim is to lift more weight and constantly challenge your muscles to get stronger. As adding weight to a regular pushup can be difficult, using just one arm is an alternate form of strength progression. One-arm pushups build strength in your chest, shoulders, triceps and core muscles.

Fat Loss

The one-arm pushup requires a great deal of effort and practice, making it a high calorie burner, when compared to easier body-weight exercises. To lose fat, you must burn more calories than you consume. In his book "The Naked Warrior," strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline recommends performing one-arm pushups along with single-leg squats every day. This can create a daily calorie burn and help you in your weight loss goals.


More exercisers can bench press 315 pounds than men or women can do five full-range, one-arm pushups, writes Rusty Moore, author of "The Abs Blueprint." This goes to show just how impressive being able to do a one-arm pushup is. It's a source of pride when you're in the gym to drop to the floor and knock out a set of one-arm pushups, while everyone looks on in awe.


With two-arm pushups, it is often the case that your stronger side does more of the work. Everyone has one arm that's slightly stronger than the other, and despite your best intentions, you'll always favor that side more. But one-arm pushups force each arm to do an equal amount of work. One-arm pushups also provide a challenge for your balance and coordination, writes Al Kavadlo, author of "We're Working Out! A Zen Approach to Everyday Fitness" Train your weaker side first and hold your core, glutes and leg muscles as tight as possible.

the nest