Created by SLT, the Pilates-inspired fitness studio known for its workouts on the Megaformer, the wheelbarrow push-up is a variation of the OG move that works your upper body just as much as it strengthens your core. “It’s an at-home SLT special move that uses a glider, and was invented by one of our instructors, Rachel Begelman,” says SLT founder and CEO Amanda Freeman. “It’s a killer exercise that works the core and upper body equally, and fires up your lats, triceps, and abs at once.”
This particular push-up involves pushing with one arm at a time by slowly moving forward on a slider as your body remains in a modified push-up position. While you’re doing this, your other arm does the traditional push-up movement. Then you switch arms, all while keeping your body still. Freeman explains that this is a combo exercise that puts two classic SLT moves into one, which results in, well, double the burn. “Compound movements such as this result in the engagement of several muscle groups, thus amping the challenge factor and increasing the calorie burn,” she says.
Because the wheelbarrow push-up requires you to keep your body still during the slow, gliding push and pulling of your arms, your entire core will be fired up the entire time. There’s plenty of instability happening as you perform the move, which is why all of your stabilizer muscles—especially in your abdominals—are going to feel like they’re on fire. So it basically doubles as a killer abs and arms exercise.
To do it properly, begin on your hand and knees, and place a slider, towel, or paper plate underneath one hand. Keep your hips still as you slide one hand away from your body as the opposite arm bends down to do a push-up. As you slide the front hand back, rise up from the push-up, then switch the glider to the other hand and repeat. Try to continue doing this for 90 seconds.
“The key is to keep your core engaged to protect your back, and to move slowly and steadily,” says Freeman. “If you are feeling it in your back, lift your butt up in the air a bit.” If you need more of a modification, she recommends skipping the push-up altogether and sticking with just the wheelbarrow—which involves being in a modified push-up position and slowly moving both hands (both of which are on gliders) outwards at the same time and then pulling them back.
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