Coach, writer and fitness model Kirk Charles, NASM-CPT CES, know that as you get older, life can become more complicated. But that should not stop you from being on top of your game. He will help answer the difficult training questions that come with age so that you too can be Fit Beyond 40.
A powerful and well-defined chest with powerful abs right under it, is one of the most desirable physique for just about any type of guy. The most common bodyweight exercises to do to achieve this goal are pushups and crunches – but many of my older clients have done those exercises most of their lives. They look to me to freshen up their workouts with a new challenge. Fortunately, you can address all of these factors with simple exercise variation: the pushup with shoulder tap. You will get the torso challenge you want and the core test you need (like the plank variation). I like to use exercise as a warm up for total body activation.
The exercise is a simple one. Start by getting into a solid push-up position. Perform a standard push-up rep, keep your focus on maintaining full body tension and keep your spine in line. Once you have pushed back upwards, lift one hand off the ground and tap your opposite shoulder and then put it back on the floor. Move deliberately, without rushing. Involve your core so that your torso does not overcompensate while lifting your hand. Once you tap both shoulders, you have completed one repetition.
The beauty of this exercise is that it tests your whole body. The push up hits your pecs and triceps, but when done properly with your glutes and core locked, you will also feel burning there. Adding the shoulder tap only increases the core burn and pushes your stamina even further.
The key to maximizing all aspects of the exercise is stability. The goal is to include your core and keep your torso motionless. You do not want your hips to sag to the floor or your buttocks to rise to the ceiling while doing the pushups. You want to prevent your body from swinging from side to side or turning your shoulders when you tap the shoulder. Try to prevent your legs from getting up on each shoulder tap as well. Staying in the right position will challenge your abs to resist rotation, one of your core core functions.
If you want core burn and torso strength, the pushup with shoulder tap is a body weight exercise you should have in your repertoire. Just remember stability, not speed, is key. Try to do the exercise with a two-count for the pushups and the shoulder taps for more time under tension. Start with 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions, then scale from there.
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