This Killer Pushup Will Prep You to Use Just One Arm

Pushups get boring. There’s just no way around it. You’ve been doing the exercise since elementary school, and unless you’ve really broken out of the basic workout sandbox, you’ve probably been doing them the same way since you learned (although it’s always wise to make sure that your form is perfect).

But the exercise remains one of the most dependable bodyweight movements you can do to build muscle and strength in your upper body. That’s why it pays to learn different variations of the standard pushup so you can continue to push yourself (pun intended) when you don’t have any extra weights or equipment available.

Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. has a whole set of next-level pushups to add to your repertoire. One of them, the post pushup, gives you a chance to fulfill your one-arm pushup dreams without tossing your form totally out the window.

“One of the main long-term issues with the pushup as a muscle-building tool is that you may eventually get to a point where your standard bodyweight becomes a load with only so much challenge,” says Samuel. “Enter the post pushup, a perfect go-anywhere move that inserts a ton of challenge into the pushup. (If you’ve ever wanted to do one-arm pushups, this is also a solid half-step from doing those that’ll push you to maintain good core accountability and tight pushup form). The post pushup places a great majority of the load on your pressing side, but it still pushes you to keep your hips and shoulders square to the ground.”

Like other pushups, the post variation travels well. Samuel notes that you can easily do this with any solidly grounded post or pole that you can grip, but emphasizes that you need to absolutely make sure that it is grounded and fully stable before you grab it.

Men’s Health/Eric Rosati

  • Setup in pushup position alongside your anchor point.
  • Grasp the post with your palm turned forward and your hand just lower than your shoulders. Push into the post to help support yourself.
  • Continue pushing against the post as you perform 6 to 10 pushup reps with your other arm.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

    This setup gives you more of a challenge than it appears. “That off-arm gets more work than you think, gripping the post and both pushing and pulling to make stabilizing micro-adjustments as you lower your torso and press upwards,” says Samuel. “You’ll hone ultra-tight pressing mechanics on the pressing arm. If your elbow flares wide as you lower, you won’t be able to press up, so you’ll need to focus hard on keeping it close to your torso and on stacking shoulder, elbow, and wrist when you press up. You’ll attack your triceps as much as your chest as a result.”

    This isn’t a beginner movement, either. If you have a hard time, Samuel suggests leading up to the post pushup with paused archer pushups first.

    Take on the post pushup with 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps per arm.

    For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program on our All/Out Studio app.

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