The A-frame exercise is a highly effective movement that enhances upper body strength, core stability, and shoulder mobility. Inspired by the structure of an A-frame, this exercise targets the shoulders, triceps, and core, emphasizing proper body alignment and controlled movement. It’s particularly beneficial for athletes and fitness enthusiasts looking to boost their performance in sports requiring shoulder and upper body stability, like swimming, rock climbing, and gymnastics.

This exercise promotes functional movement patterns and muscular endurance while reducing the risk of shoulder injuries by reinforcing proper movement mechanics. The A-frame exercise can be modified to accommodate various fitness levels, making it a versatile addition to any workout routine. Whether you’re aiming to improve your shoulder mobility, enhance core strength, or build overall upper body resilience, this exercise is an excellent choice. Incorporate it into your training regimen to refine your upper body stability, strengthen your shoulders, and increase functional movement capacity.

Equipment Needed:

Yoga mat or open floor


Instructions for the a-frame exercise:

  1. Start in a plank position
  2. Simultaneously press your arms overhead while hinging at the hip
  3. Maintain a neutral spine and as straight of legs as possible as your hips rise 
  4. At the top, your chest should be pushed through your arms so that your spine and arms form a straight line
  5. Hold the top position for a 3+ count and return to the starting position

Common Errors:

The most important thing to remember is that your back should be flat or neutral throughout the whole movement. If your back starts to round as you approach the top of the position try bending your knees slightly.

a-frame Progressions / Regressions:

If this is too challenging:

  • Perform the movement with a smaller range of motion
  • Start with just a plank and over time begin working in this A-frame movement

If you want more of a challenge:

  • Try the A-frame toe touch variation
  • If the toe touch variation is still too easy try performing the movement with one hand



A-frame toe touch

A-frame toe touch

The A-frame toe touch exercise is a progression of the A-frame exercise that further challenges core stability and mobility. By reaching across your body to touch the opposite foot while in the A-frame position, this variation emphasizes the obliques, shoulders, and hip mobility. It also requires significant coordination and balance, making it excellent for enhancing core strength and functional movement patterns.

Ideal for athletes and fitness enthusiasts seeking improved rotational stability, the A-frame toe touch is beneficial in sports requiring agility, core strength, and body control, such as tennis, soccer, and gymnastics. This exercise helps correct muscle imbalances by training each side of the body independently, promoting symmetrical development. It’s a versatile and adaptable addition to any fitness routine, building shoulder strength and increasing flexibility while reducing the risk of injury. Adding the A-frame toe touch exercise to your regimen will improve your balance, rotational core strength, and overall mobility, providing a well-rounded boost to your fitness.

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