Monday Move

Plus, how to fix your knee push-ups, if that’s your thing

The author doing a push-up.
The author doing a push-up.
All images: Anna Maltby

Ask anyone but a relatively devoted exerciser to drop and give you 20, and chances are they’ll say, “I can’t do push-ups.” And okay, push-ups are really hard! But the truth is, you probably can do them: You just haven’t tried the right modification yet. (I reject the premise that any of the below aren’t “real” push-ups, thank you.)


Monday Move

And why the idea of “sucking it in” makes literally no sense

Author on yoga mat touching their stomach
Author on yoga mat touching their stomach
Images: Anna Maltby

Take a deep breath in. Exhale.


Monday Move

Your back, core, and hamstrings will thank you, too

Admittedly not the most photo-worthy downward dog in the world, but my ankles were happy. Images: Anna Maltby

Most of us don’t think much about our feet — aside from the occasional pedicure or annoying blister — until they sort of demand our attention. Whether a pregnancy sparks plantar fasciitis, overtraining leads to a stress fracture, or an old pair of shoes worn a few months too long leaves you with Achilles tendonitis: once your feet start hurting, the rest of your life sort of has to stop until you can figure out what to do about it.


Monday Move

Toe taps (and their cousins) are a core-strengthening secret weapon

This may look simple, but doing it without allowing the lower back to lift off the mat, or the hips to rock back and forth, or the knee to bend past 90 degrees, is surprisingly difficult. (All images: Anna Maltby)

If you’re looking for a new abdominal move to work into your exercise routine, may I suggest toe taps? They look so simple, but doing them correctly is anything but easy — and when you do, you’ll engage not just the rectus abodminis (the “six-pack” muscles just beneath the skin and subcutaneous fat on your stomach) but also the deeper transverse abdominis, or TVA.


Monday Move

And why it has nothing to do with your arms

A kettlebell weight.
A kettlebell weight.
Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash

As a personal trainer who also hates overstepping boundaries, a small struggle for me is working out at a gym, watching other people do kettlebell swings incorrectly, and keeping my mouth shut.


Monday Move

Spice up your kettlebell life by putting your body a bit off-kilter with a single-arm deadlift

A woman in a black tank top and black workout pants performs a single-arm deadlift
A woman in a black tank top and black workout pants performs a single-arm deadlift
If you squint, you can see the imaginary kettlebell in my other hand! Image: Anna Maltby

Pretty much everyone loves (or loves to hate) a deadlift, but to spice up your deadlifting life, try throwing it off-kilter: Holding weight in just one hand tests your balance, engages your core, and calls your attention to all the little supporting muscles that don’t always get love during heavy lifting moves.

Single-Arm Deadlift


MONDAY MOVE

These two moves will get you comfortable squatting a little more deeply

Author demonstrating an assisted squat.

Few fitness moves, aside from maybe good old walking, are more functional than a squat. After all, being able to stand up safely and comfortably from a chair (or, you know, a toilet) helps you move with ease throughout your daily life, and maintaining the strength to go from seated to standing also helps you keep your independence as you age. But in a fitness setting, many folks can’t — or believe they can’t — do a “proper” squat, where the hips get to parallel with or just a bit lower than the knees.


MONDAY MOVE

Take your figure 4 stretch to the next level with these two tweaks

I’m back! Did I get a better camera? Absolutely not. Regardless, I’m here to share two simple ways to alter a stretch you’re probably already doing to make it much more effective.


Photo by Anton Shuvalov on Unsplash

Taking a break — and open to ideas


MONDAY MOVE

Your shoulders will love you for this

There’s a muscle in your torso I’d guess you haven’t thought about lately (if ever), and it could probably use some attention: your serratus anterior. The serratus muscles connect your ribcage to each shoulder blade, which means that neglecting them can cause “winging,” or the shoulder blades flaring out. When the serratus muscles are strong, the shoulder blades effortlessly plug back and down into place, which in turn broadens the chest, allows you to sit or stand up taller and with excellent posture, and helps prevent injury to the rotator cuff. …

Anna Maltby

Editor and writer. Past: Elemental, Real Simple, Refinery29, SELF. Certified personal trainer; prenatal and postnatal exercise specialist. Cat & person mom.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store