One-Handed solving (OH for short) is a type of speedcubing requiring one to solve a puzzle with one hand; you cannot touch the cube with your body or anything other than the table. Competition averages as low as 10 seconds have been achieved on the 3x3x3, with winning times being around 15-18 seconds at a typical competition.
This page is a guide for starting in and training one-handed solving. For a history, see history of one-handed solving.
Which Hand to Use?
While it may appear most obvious to use the dominant hand, both hands work as well for one-handed solving; in fact, the non-dominant left hand is more often used by right-handed cubers, who find R and U moves easier with the left hand. It is also helpful to do OH with a hand that is already used to holding the cube. Either hand, dominant or non-dominant, can be very fast. Use whichever feels comfortable.
Grip and Turning
Most one-handed cubers hold the cube with the thumb and middle finger (and often the ring finger as well) and turn with the remaining fingers. Since one goal of one-handed cubing is to use as many R and U turns (or L and U) as possible as they are much faster and more comfortable, the focus is on how to do these turns easily. There are two main schools of thought on how to accomplish this:
- One way, used by Ryan Patricio, involves the index and ring fingers: the index does U by pushing LUB, U' by pushing BUL, and R' by pushing BUR, and the ring finger does R by pushing BDR. The ring finger is also free to do D and D' moves, so this method can be useful for cubers who use many < L,U,R > or < U,R,D > algorithms.
- The second, used by the top Japanese OH cubers as well as Brian Loftus, involves using only the index and the pinky. The cube is held with the other three fingers; the index does U by pushing FUL and U' by pushing BUL, and the pinky does R by pushing BRD and R' by pushing FRD. Although this method is faster for sequences of only U and R turns, no other turns are possible without rotating the cube or changing the grip, so this method can require more cube rotations. It is however possible to do u and r turns with a slight grip change.
- For M-slice turns you can use the table (this is casually known as Table abuse) to help you do it using your ring finger, or even your pinky or middle.
Training the OH Hand
For most people who want to try OH, their fingers will not initially be anywhere near strong or fast enough to perform algorithms quickly. There are several ways to train the hand:
- Doing specific moves over and over. Just doing RU' or RUR'U' repeatedly can be useful for training the fingers involved in those positions.
- Performing algorithms. Simply solving a lot without a break, or doing OLL or PLL attacks, can train the different types of movements and finger endurance. Slowing down at the end of a solve is a sign that you need more endurance.
- Executing random moves or scrambles. Johannes Laire suggests this method of training; it is useful for exercising the whole hand and not just the fingers that are involved in turns.
OH Finger Stretches Before Averages
You can try to stretch your wrist to keep your fingers from getting relaxed. When your fingers are relaxed, they tend to move slowly, and therefore, a slower solve. But there are stretches you can do on the OH hand. You can try pulling ln your thumb, cracking your knuckles, the possibilities are endless. Try and invent your own to improve your hands.
Many beginning OH solvers find that when they often forget algorithms while solving one-handed, even ones they know very well two-handed, a phenomenon called one-handed amnesia. This may be because sometimes people learn algorithms using muscle memory, and thus are unable to perform them slowly or one turn at a time. If you want to start OH solving, be prepared to have to relearn some of the algorithms that you thought you knew. See speedsolving.com alg Amnesia thread
Phil Yu, a prominent one-handed solver, experiences "two-handed amnesia", in which he forgets algorithms while solving with both hands. This is most likely caused by how much he practices one-handed solving in comparison to two-handed solving.
- Speedsolving.com: Beginners one handed tips and pointers thread
- Speedsolving.com: Robert's OH algorithm discoveries
- Absolute OLL OH by Sébastien FELIX
- Absolute PLL OH by Sébastien FELIX
- Lofty's Guide to One Hand Cubing OLL by Brian Loftus
- Lofty's Guide to One Hand Cubing PLL by Brian Loftus
- Videos by Brian Loftus
- Video on OH for beginners by CUBE PORTAL on YouTube
- Video on advanced OH by CUBE PORTAL on YouTube
- Speedsolving.com: Statistical question: Hand used in OH?
- Videos by CUTEX
- Tomy's algorithms (Takumi Yoshida)
- Tomy's videos
- Videos by Raiden