THE PUSHUP IS a workout staple, and for good reason. The exercise is one of the best bang for your buck bodyweight movements you can do, hitting multiple muscle groups and serving as a valuable outlet for expressing relative strength. One other major plus for the pushup is how adaptable the basic movement can be when you want to shift your training focus or level up in difficulty—as you’ll do with this variation, the deficit pushup to shoulder tap.

The exercise, which helps to hone strength and stability, is one of trainer Mat Forzaglia’s favorite variations. He included it in the new workouts from his 20-Minute Muscle series, a program available on All Out Studio for Men’s Health MVP Premium subscribers.

To perform the deficit pushup to shoulder tap, you’ll need a dumbbell to put yourself in the proper position. “[This is] a move I love because of how it blasts your core, challenges shoulder stability, and yes, still gives you that awesome chest pump,” Forzaglia says.

Just make sure that you don’t rush through the reps. “The idea is power, so doing the reps as fast as possible is not the goal,” the trainer continues. “Going from A to B, or the bottom to the top of the exercise, is what we’re looking for—the speed and power out of the bottom, or the deficit, will create the strength we’re looking to build.”

How to Do the Deficit Pushup to Shoulder Tap

  • Set up in a pushup position—hands on the ground directly beneath your shoulders, straight spine, squeezing your shoulder blades, abs, and glutes to create tension—gripping the dumbbell with one hand. Extend your feet to just beyond hip-width apart.
  • Lower your chest down to just above the floor, keeping your elbows in close to your torso. This will create a deficit on the side with the dumbbell.
  • Press powerfully off the floor to raise yourself back to the starting position. As you lift up to the position where your elbows come to lockout, lift your hand off the floor and tap your opposite shoulder. Pause for a count, maintaining full-body tension and keeping your hips and shoulders stable, before placing your hand back to the floor to continue with your reps.
  • Perform 3 to 4 sets of 8 reps on each side.

Want more movements like this from Forzaglia? Check out his entire 20-Minute Muscle series, available on All Out Studio for Men’s Health MVP Premium members.

Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men’s Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. You can find his work elsewhere at Mashable, Thrillist, and other outlets.

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