Maximum Potential Calisthenics

Lever Push-ups

Lever Push-up

The next progression after Close Hand Push-ups is the Lever Push-up.

With this exercise, we shall start putting more weight through one arm, thus getting us closer to the one arm push-up.

Muscles Worked


Triceps brachii

Secondary (Synergists)

Pectoralis major

Deltoid anterior (front)

Stabilizers (Fixators)

Rectus abdmonis
Pectoralis minor
Serratus anterior



Start Position


  • Place your working arm with the hand underneath your shoulder.
  • Your assisting arm should be out to the side.
  • The rest of your body should be in a straight line, from head to toe with your feet together.
  • Your elbows should be be straight.



  • Lower yourself under control until your chest touches the ground.
  • Hold for a second, then return back to the start position.

Lever Push-up Form

Elbow Position

Your working arm elbow should be by your side throughout the movement, don’t flare it out. This will focus on your triceps, as well as keeping your shoulder joint stable.

Don’t Lock Your Elbows

Whilst your arms should be straight, never lock out the elbow, this puts the pressure through the ligaments rather than the muscles.

Full Range of Motion

Full range of motion is all the way down and all the way up. Putting your tricep through the full range of motion will gain the maximum benefit and help strengthen the joints.

Keep Your Body Straight

Your body from head to toe should be in a straight line throughout the movement. Engaging your abdominal muscles will make this easier.


Breath in during the eccentric phase (lowering yourself), breath out during the concentric phase (pushing yourself back up). Try to breath through your stomach rather than chest to get more strength from your abdominal muscles.


At a minimum your should be aiming for one second down, one second hold, then one second back up (1-1-1). Ideally you want to be aiming for 2-1-2.

Progression / Regression

With calisthenics, there is always more than one way to make the exercise easier or harder. Here are just a few.

Assisting Arm Hand Position


The simplest way to make the lever push-up harder is to move your assisting arm further away from the body. This will ensure you get less assistance.

Be sure to keep your body right next to your working arm.

Once your assisting arm is straight out, then move onto the next progression.

Incline / Decline


Raising your hands will put more weight through the legs, rather than the arms, making it easier.

Raising your legs will make it a great deal harder and move more towards an almost impossible one arm handstand push-up progression.

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