1-arm Pushups: Great Exercise for MMA Fighters

The 1-arm Pushup is a great exercise for fighters because it integrates the whole body and works muscles in specific patterns applicable to mixed-martial arts.baby_1_arm_pushup

Now this exercise doesn’t replace things like bench presses and dumbbell presses, but it’s a great supplement to a training routine.

Being able to perform 1-arm Pushups in good form gives you 3 things that Bench presses don’t:

1) Rotational / multi-planar core stability
2) Shoulder stability / proper scapular movement
3) Neuromuscular integration

The specific pattern of activation of the muscles in the 1-arm Pushup is very beneficial for being able to use your core when you’re throwing punches so you can deliver more explosive and powerful strikes.

Watch this video to learn how to do 1-arm pushups properly, and how to build up your ability to do them if you can’t do them now:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make sure you don’t do these things (these points constitute bad form):

  1. Being on the sides of your feet instead of on the toes
  2. Having your feet spread too far apart (a little is necessary, too much doesn’t train your body properly)
  3. Not going low enough
  4. Rotating and flexing at your hips/core – your torso should look as close to when you’re doing normal pushups as possible
  5. Humping the floor (save it for the bedroom)

How many can you do?

Leave your # below (for both left and right arms). I can do 9 on my right and 8 on my left.

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suzannetriEricmadeenDavid T. Recent comment authors
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suzanne
suzanne

Hi Eric

Just a request to use your image of the baby doing a pushup on my facebook page

thanks

Eric

Yeah that’s cool

tri
tri

hey eric

got to see one with feet touching each other check this video out

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAu3j9_1h5s

madeen
madeen

Hi Eric, I was wondering can push ups replace lifting weights? If you use weighed vests while performing push ups and also if you raise your legs on a chair or a bench and then perform elevated push ups that are much more difficult to do. Do push ups strengthen the body differently compared to lifting weights? Thanks

Eric
Eric

I wouldn’t say they’ll really ever replace weights, but I definitely use them in my programs.

They do strengthen the body differently than a Bench Press as they involve more core, but you’ll never be able to develop as much strength compared to with Bench Pressing, and adjusting reps and such is not as scientific and can’t be as programmed.

madeen
madeen

Yes I totally agree with you. I’m thinking of doing upper body circuits involving push ups, bench presses, as shoulder workout using dumbells.

David T.

Yes I am just a fitness spectator I’m no fighter or anybody spectacular or anything. I admire the way that you and your fighters fight and manuveur yourselves when you train. Well I have been just practicing one arm pushups for over a week now. I really like them. But one problem, I cant keep my torso completely straight for some reason. Please if you get this message please if you can give me some pointers on keeping my back straighter while performing one arm pushups. Thank you and God bless you. Dave T

Jesse
Jesse

Hey eric,

i can do 3 right now each arm but with bad form i mean legs apart but when i try to make them closer its practically impossible

Justin
Justin

Left arm: 9 pushups
Right arm: 12 pushups

Rich
Rich

Did you re-do the video yet? I think you can still go lower 🙂

Eric

I’m on it this weekend!

rej
rej

I can do about 15 each arm, prob more if i actually tried to increase em. I find heavy bench presses combined with rotational core is much more effective in building strength in these areas. When you roll ppl feel a 3-4 plate bench! no feels a 1 arm push-up!

1 arm chins are hard as hell! props to TRH for doing 3-4 each arm! i did do 1 each arm back in the day…but no more. Im doin Rope chins and pull downs, same results…and a lot easier lol.

TRH
TRH

I can give 13 good One-arm Push-ups with the left and right arm, chest touching the floor at the bottom, elbow locked out at the top. I’m still trying to increase my reps though.

Hey Eric, what’s your take on the One-arm Chin-up? I can do about 3 or 4 of those with both arms. Can that exercise carry over to MMA as well as the OAPU?

Mike
Mike

I always do my oapu from chest to lockout. Starting from the bottom makes it much harder. Try raising your feet or adding weight to your back!

Joshua Devine
Joshua Devine

i can go 8 on my right and 7 on my left with perfect form

Jeremy
Jeremy

Eric,

No mean to disrespect you because I think your blog and literature is interesting and useful but in no.3 you state not going low enough. I think that your pushups have great form but lack range of motion. In my books a OAPU should include your nose touching the ground.

Good work otherwise,
J

Carl
Carl

i was going to write pretty much the same thing. LOL

Eric

Good point! I really should go lower on those – I think I’ll redo the vid and get it posted so people know how to do it right… good eye