Sun | Apr 21, 2019

Fit 4 Life | Level up your strength

Published:Wednesday | January 3, 2018 | 12:07 AMMarvin Gordon
As demonstrated by fitness coach Marvin Gordon, this routine is designed to improve strength and stability in the core, arms, and shoulders, while improving overall strength.


For many, the start of a new year is a time for assessing performance and setting new goals. If social media is to be believed, fitness lies near the top of many a #goals list for 2018.

What is your fitness goal? If you aim to improve functional strength, we have your back. Add this short workout to your routine and grow stronger in four weeks. In fact, you can replace your core training routine with it.

The routine is designed to improve strength and stability in the core, arms, and shoulders, while improving overall strength.

Time under tension is the name of the game. This means no rest between exercises and little to no rest between sets.

Each set consists at least four tough exercises so focus on completing reps correctly to avoid injuries.

The Moves

Plank with arm raise - 12 to 20

Walkout to push-up - 1 to 3

Push-up - 12 to 20

Plank knee to twist - 4 to 6

The routine

Start in a plank position and do the planks with arm raise. Switch directly to the push-up position and do walkout to push-ups and then do push-ups. To finish the first set, do plank knee twists.

If the first set did not leave you flat on your face, go straight into the second.

In the second set, we do things a bit differently: for arm raises, reach to the side instead of forward, and for push-ups, do the pike variation.

Rest between sets if you need to, but remember to keep rest minimal. After two or three sets, depending on your fitness level, finish the routine with a set of crunches.

Plank with arm raise

Begin in a plank position - your weight resting on your forearms and toes and your body in a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Do not allow your back to round.

Keep your abs tight and try to keep your hips from shifting. Raise one arm out straight in front of you. Pause, then lower it back to the starting position. Do not allow your torso to sway. Keep your abs and glutes tight to provide stability. Repeat the movement using the other arm.

Walkout to push-up

Bend at the hips and plant your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart, a couple of inches in front of your feet. Walk your hands forward until your body is in a push-up position. Perform a push-up then walk your hands back to your feet and return to standing.

Plank knee twist

Get into the push-up position with hands and feet shoulder-width apart. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Don't lift your hips too high or let them sag. Brace your core and bend one knee, bringing it towards the opposite elbow. Don't allow your upper back to round as you bring your knee towards your chest. Return to the starting position.

Plank elbow to knee

(Can be done in place of Plank knee twist)

Begin in the push-up position with hands directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your abs tight. Don't lift your hips or let them sag.

Bring one knee to the outside of the same arm, pause then straightening the leg back behind you. Keep the leg elevated and repeat the movement. Do not lower the working leg back to the ground until all repetitions are completed.

Pike Push-up

Assume a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Lift up your hips so that your body forms an upside-down V. Your legs and arms should stay as straight as possible. Bend your elbows and lower your upper body until the top of your head nearly touches the floor. Pause, and then push yourself back up until your arms are straight.

* Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email:;