How to Master the Single-arm Larsen Press

7th May 2019
Consistency and effort are necessary if you want to enjoy toned and muscular arms. The single-arm Larsen press gives you the opportunity to increase your muscle endurance, strength, and power. 

Gaining muscle definition is not only about aesthetics: you also gain strength, power, and endurance with long term training. It’s possible to achieve your goal of mastering the single-arm Larsen press. Below, we’ll give you some more details so you can get to know more about this great exercise.

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Toning your arms requires a lot of effort and perseverance. Therefore, it’s fundamental that you do exercises that are related to muscle growth of the upper arm. This is a habit that’ll help you achieve strong and solid arms.

When practicing this exercise, keep in mind that you also need to adequately prepare other muscle groups to assist you and avoid injury. The body is a system that works as a team, so it’s important not to forget the other components.

What is the Larsen press?

The Larsen press is a comprehensive workout that is done with a single arm but affects various muscle groups. These include the abdomen and shoulders. This exercise is very effective for toning and defining the muscles.

Reasons why you should start doing the Larsen press

This is actually a movement that appears quite simple but demands great technique. In a single action, it combines the strength and power of the shoulder, the extension of the triceps, and you must maintain a stable abdomen and what’s referred to as lat activation, or activation energy.

Man laying on bench in gym doing a single-arm larsen press with dumbbells
Image: muscleandfitness.com

If you want to optimize the Larsen press exercises, you can combine them with workout routines on the bench press. Since you’ll have your legs up, there won’t be movement or stability in your lower joints. Therefore, the action will be concentrated in your upper body and require your arms to work more.

The right way to do the Larsen press

Where should you include this exercise in a daily workout routine? You could add it to a strength training routine that focuses on your abdomen. Additionally, you could also add it to another type of strength training workout or even include it in your day of speed exercises.

In order to do the Larsen press exercise correctly, lay down on the floor or on a bench. Take the dumbbell in one hand and lift your legs up into the air. Once you’re in position, lift the dumbbell with that one hand while tensing the other arm.

Using this technique, you’ll be able to keep your balance in the position while you increase the tension of the exercise. Do 4 sets of 12 repetitions on each side.

How to quickly master the single-arm Larsen press

Results aren’t immediate, but it may not be long before they appear. Little by little, you’ll notice changes and improvements in your arm strength as well as endurance.

If you’d like to boost the positive effects you get from this exercise, it’s a good idea to make it a part of a whole body toning workout. In other words, don’t dedicate an entire workout day to only these muscle groups.

Both the Larsen press and the exercises we’re about to describe below are exercises you can easily do from the comfort of your home, any time of day. You just need to take the initiative, create the habit, and in just a few weeks you’ll be able to notice a difference.

Likewise, it’s recommended that you train both arms in the same way. It’s always better to seek balance when building muscles.

Additional arm exercises

Tricep extension

To do this exercise, start by picking up a dumbbell. Sitting up with your back straight, bring your arms behind your head. Then, stretch them out above you and bring them back down to the start position. Repeat 3 times, resting for a few seconds in between each repetition to help prevent fatigue.

Another exercise you can incorporate into your routine to gain muscle in your triceps is one you can do standing up. Start by standing with your feet a little apart, with your knees slightly bent and a dumbbell in each hand. Straighten your arms out above your head so that they’re in line with your shoulders.

You can also do this exercise by holding a single dumbbell with both hands, as the image shows.

Woman lifting one dumbbell with both arms behind head

Once you’re in this position, bend your arms (one at a time) so the dumbbells go up behind your head, which should remain facing forward. Afterward, straighten your arms slowly and repeat.

Bicep curl

Again, take two dumbbells that weigh the same and hold one in each hand. From a still position, stand with your feet slightly apart and bend your knees a little.

To do this exercise, at the same time as you bend your knees, bend your arms to lift the dumbbells. As you bend your knees, your arms should also bend to lift up the dumbbells. Then, straighten your legs and arms to lower the dumbbells so you can start another repetition. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Woman doing bicep curls with dumbbells at gym

You can use the same equipment and a similar movement to continue this routine by lifting each arm alternately to strengthen your biceps.

First, hold the dumbbells down and by your waist, as in the picture above. Then, lift one dumbbell at a time by bending your elbow. As you lower your arm, lift the other up. In the same way as the previous exercise, repeat this movement for 3 sets of 10 repetitions. 

In short, both the Larsen press and the exercises we mentioned are recommended for achieving strong and defined arms. It’s not exactly a well-known exercise, but don’t hesitate to try it out and see for yourself how good the results can be!

  • Gray, Kevin. How To Master The Single-Arm Larson Press. Muscle & Fitness. https://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/abs-and-core-exercises/how-master-single-arm-larson-press
  • William J. Kraemer y Barry A. Spiering. Crecimiento muscular. http://media.axon.es/pdf/68796.pdf
  • Antequera, Manolo. Ejercicios específicos para cada grupo y notas sobre su ejecución e implicación muscular. https://prof.webcindario.com/guia_ejercicios.pdf