Stronger Next Year

by Denise Druce | March 12th, 2014 | Fitness Expert

strong woman (400x400)As the host of a local television show featuring health and fitness trends, I was able to interview Chris Crowley, author of Younger Next Year.  This book lays out a plan of healthy eating and moderate exercise that promises to have you feeling (and looking) younger on your next birthday.  It’s a great philosophy, and one that I embrace.  Not so much for aesthetics, but rather for quality of life.  I believe that feeling younger as we age begins with building, and maintaining a level of strength that helps us meet the demands of a busy and active life, with energy left over for play, relationships, and rest.

Let’s look at one way to go from being weak to being strong. One of my favorite exercises is a push up, but most people give up on push ups before they even start because they are so hard.  Here is a great progression to take you from an easy, modified plank pose, to a full body push up.  Yes, you can!

Step 1)

Start on your hands and knees, shift your weight forward so your shoulders are over your wrists.  Stay here for several breaths, with your abs pulled in and your core engaged.  Just get used to keeping your weight on your hands without letting your hips sag down.

Step 2)

Spinal Balance. From all fours, extend your right leg back and your left leg forward.  This helps you strengthen your back and your core to hold you when you’re ready to do a full push-up.

Step 3)

The next step would be coming into a plank, tucking your toes under and holding that plank as long as you can. That really helps to develop shoulder stability and core strength.  Tuck your tailbone a little and let your hips be level with your shoulders.  Avoid letting your hips and lower back dip down.  You can do some tiny push ups here, just slightly bending your elbows to get the triceps working.

Step 4)

When you’re ready to try a full push-up, take your hands wider.  You might start with your feet wide and do your push-ups in this position.  As you get stronger bring your feet closer together. Remember you can do 1000 push-ups on your knees and still not be able to do one full push-up on your toes. So, practice with your plank pose and gradually work up to that full push-up.

Step 5)

I love the goal of working up to doing your age in push ups every day.  Start where you are and do a little more every day.  See?  As we get older we get stronger!  Find a video of this progression here.

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(Photo courtesy of Justyna Furmanczyk)

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.