Has anyone checked out the new Alfonso Cuarón flick, Gravity?  Lindsay and I went last night and I have to give it two thumbs up for being visually stunning and a real cool experience to see what an astronaut experiences while just hanging out in the vastness of space.  Really effing cool.

Not only that but George Clooney has once again proven that he is not only the best looking man on earth but he has now officially dominated space as well.  Seriously, who else would sweet talk a woman as he floats away to certain death?  I will have to take a page from that book.

And I digress, but speaking of gravity today’s post is regarding a one-arm dumbbell bench press which if you have ever tried to perform with heavy weight you have found out how much gravity can suck.  See what I did there?  Eh?

Seriously though, and more specifically, the one-arm press is a stellar unilateral pressing exercise that not only challenges your shoulders stabilizers but completely torches your core and forces your hips and legs to stabilize so you don’t, well, tip over.

Even better for some people would be the dumbbell one-arm floor press which is the same exercise done flat on the floor rather than a bench.

Technique Tips:

  • Keep your forearm perpendicular to the ground
  • Lat tight, arm roughly at 45 degrees
  • quick pause on floor after each rep
  • NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER transfer the weight over your face (for obvious reasons)
  • Start with your legs wider and go narrower when you become more proficient

P.S. I am aware that I am translucent in this video.  I blame the lighting and my 1/4 Irish heritage…just don’t stare directly into the Steve.

Now, I know what you’re asking yourself right now, “Why one arm?” and “Why floor press?”

For general population strength training as well as for athletes, one-arm pressing is a great way to train your core/hips to prevent rotation as well as to force the stabilizing muscles in your shoulder to work harder.  This is a win-win I say!

Taking it to the floor is a great way to take your legs out of the equation and force your core to work doubletime.  It is important to note that if you try to take your feet off the ground while on a bench you will surely perish flip over the bench and kiss the floor which may not be as bad as perishing but still sucky nonetheless.

I recommend starting much lighter than you are used to with your traditional dumbbell bench press until you get the hang of it.  Believe me, one-arm presses on the floor or bench are extremely humbling.  They are also self limiting and will be a great teacher of total body tension and stability.

The other benefit of pressing from the floor is for those with cranky shoulders, poor stabilizers or poor pressing technique.  The floor prevents your elbow from dropping too low and forcing your shoulder into anterior glide (fancy way of saying your shoulder migrates forward out of centration/the socket).  Here are a few pictures to illustrate:

Shoulder anterior glide (not centered)
Shoulder centered.

You will notice in the first picture that my shoulder is coming forward which will irritate the front of the joint for some people with cranky shoulders and for those without bad shoulders it will eventually cause them to be bad.  Breaking bad.  Terrible pun, I know.

Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Written by Steve