One Arm Handstand Pushup?

In Bodyweight Mastery by admin5 Comments

We continue the stories from Jonathan today. This story is about a true one arm handstand pushup!

The other story is from an other friend of mine, who’s Chinese and who’s dream is to be a performer, either an acrobat, or a singer. Today, she was back from China, where she spent 10 months training in one of their national circus schools. She was showing me various photos and videos from the circus school and the place she was living in, and we were talking about acrobatics. I mentioned my intention to one day go to Kiev and train with Yvan Zubkevych and to China to train with their acrobats, specifying that one of my main goals was to one day be able to do a full range one arm handstand push-up (on a pole, so I can go down to touch my chest or my shoulder), as I’ve never seen anyone doing it, and there’s no videos of any of the people who claims to have been able to do something like that.

She said: “Oh, but the kids there, they do that like it’s nothing!” Shocked, I was like: “Uh, are you sure you’re not mistaking? Like, they actually hold a one arm handstand, keep their body straight, bend their arm and shoulder, and they press up again, while staying in a vertical position?” And she said: “Yeah, they were going until the top of their heads touched the ground, then they were pressing back up.” Needless to say, I was pissed that she filmed lots of cool performances, but omitted to film such an incredible strength feat. It’s not her fault, she’s not really interested in strength, and I can understand that acts are flashier than conditioning, but damn… A one arm handstand push-up? It almost made me cry like a baby!

I told her that the next time she’d go there, she’d be damn obligated to film it for me. And, actually, I might go there myself, as they are open to skills exchange and seem to need better strength training (Obviously not for those few kids doing one arm handstand push-ups, but their conditioning is strictly limited to what they’re practicing, which make them really specialized and not well groomed on an overall perspective. Plus, they got weights and the kids are using them, but nobody shows them proper form either, and most of them would simply need more strength.), but it might take a couple of years, because I’ll perform for a good two years and save my money to wander around the world and train crazy hard without having to worry about food or stuff.

But when I’ll go, I’ll see for my own eyes if they can really do it. And I think they very probably can, since my friend isn’t interested in strength she wouldn’t have made that up. Plus, I believe it is possible to achieve, and I’ll be training hard to get it.

So there you have it. There has been lots of debate on if the one arm handstand pushup could ever actually be done in strict form as outlined in Convict Conditioning. Some people say yes, others say no. Unfortunately although there are stories like this, it has never been caught on video to my knowledge. I believe some day it will be done.


  1. Are we talking one arm with feet aiding balance against the wall? Or one arm totally freestanding?

    The first I think should be possible, the latter I think would be insanely hard to accomplish although I don’t like to think of things as impossible as there are some freakishly strong/talented people out there!

  2. I am hardly young. I am not a little guy either. But I have worked my way through the convict conditioning progressions. I am sure it is 100% possible. Personally I am to the point that I walk up the wall and do a negative one armed push up. I am close to the positive. I can get it with a kip from one leg. I can’t believe there are not people out there doing them.

    1. Author

      @Mike: That’s awesome. Would love to see a video if you can take one of the negative and the kip to go up.

      @Kris Wragg: Can’t say for sure Kris. I really wish there was a video and I’m sure someday we’ll have one.

  3. I haven’t seen it, like said there, a friend of mine did. She said it was freestanding. But here’s the thing: she’s not a heavily trained gymnast, acrobat or coach, so she might have not seen everything. Per example, a kip from the legs, or something like that, from a croccodile (one arm elbow lever) with very high legs per example. I asked her if she was sure it wasn’t a one arm press to handstand or a croccodile kip to handstand, and she said she was sure it was a one arm HSPU. But I’ll have to see it from my own eyes, obviously.

    And Mike, awesome work! I’d love to see a video too, if you can. I’ve also been getting close to it using one finger assistance. In 2-3 months, I’ll do an other cycle where I work on it a lot.

  4. Cirque du Soleil has incredible athletes. If anyone, perhaps, knows someone who, “Knows someone” could get one of their performers to do a one-arm handstand push-up?

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