Finish Off Your Chest and Abs in One Circuit

On chest day, finishers are awesome for giving your pecs and shoulders a final burnout. But this one from trainer Paul Sklar, C.S.C.S., will also light your core on fire.

Sklar alternates back-to-back sets of resistance-band crucifix flies with single-arm shoulder-tap pushups. While all of the flies and presses drill his chest and shoulders, by loading each side individually, both exercises also tap the abs and obliques’ ability to fight rotation, à la Pallof presses. These are excellent choices for guys over 40 looking to take a load off their joints, since you’ll leave the heavy weights on the rack.

For the first exercise, crucifix flies, focus on performing your reps slowly and under control. Even though you won’t have anything in one hand, still keep that arm moving to help maintain total-body tension and keep your stance balanced. For his flies, Sklar uses a resistance band, but you could also use a cable machine with a D-shaped handle.

For the second exercise, shoulder-tap pushups, it’s important that you load the opposite arm that you did during your flies. (Hold the band with your left arm for flies, then keep your right hand on the floor for pushups.) This will help keep your muscles from giving out too soon or your form from failing.

In both exercises, the most important cue—and most challenging part—of your reps will be maintaining a stable core with a neutral spine. Squeeze your core before going into your first rep, and don’t let go. Work to avoid any rotational movement through your torso while keeping your low back in neutral. It will increase recruitment through your core and reduce your ability to use momentum.

At the end of your next chest day, give it a go, repeating 3 rounds of each move for each side. Rest 60 seconds between rounds.

If you’re interested in staying fit over 40, check out theMen’s Health Muscle After 40 program. You’ll get a whole set of routines designed for guys who have gotten older, but aren’t even close to throwing in the towel on their fitness.

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