Men Over 40 Can Strengthen Shoulders and Abs With the V-Sit Halo

Trainer, author, and fitness model Kirk Charles, NASM-CPT CES, knows that as you get older, life can get more complicated. But that shouldn’t prevent you from being on top of your game. He’ll help to answer the tough training questions that come with age so you too can be Fit Beyond 40.

I often give my clients a daily challenge, which is simply to work on one exercise per day during the week (or sometimes an entire month). I’ve found it’s a simple way to build momentum in their overall progress and strengthen a muscle group for other exercises.

Recently, I featured an exercise called the V-sit halo, a movement I’ve been doing to strengthen my shoulders and work on joint mobility. But that’s not all—the V-Sit position pushes me to work my core also, something I always need more as I’m getting older. Keeping your core engaged prevents extraneous torso movement, which takes away from the whole point of the exercise of moving the weight through your shoulders.

To get started, grab a light kettlebell (you may use a dumbbell) and grab it by the horns (with the weight upside down). Sit on the floor with your legs fully extended and your back straight up. Hold the kettlebell in front of your face and raise your legs off the floor a few inches off the floor.

From that position, perform a halo by raising the weight and circling your head. Attempt to keep the implement low, below the level of your head, and as close to your head as you can. When you finish the circle one way, then do it the opposite way.

When you do a halo, your shoulder mobility is being tested as you move the kettlebell through the full range of motion. Make sure you focus on form there—but don’t slack on the other aspect of the move. I find the more challenging aspect for my clients (and myself) is the V-sit position. To maintain good posture with your feet off the ground, you must fight for core and spinal stability. The goal is to keep your spine and legs from shifting to maintain your balance, which can be very challenging as you move the kettlebell around your head and your weight shifts from side to side.

Another challenge with the V-sit halo is to keep your knees fully extended as your feet are elevated off the floor. You might also fight the impulse to lean back excessively to keep your legs elevated. To compensate, you can bend your knees to maintain the V-sit, but fight to keep your back straight and your core tight.

The V-sit halo has presented a challenge for some of my older clients, but it’s worth the effort. If you want to develop shoulder mobility and core strength, this may be the perfect exercise for you. To start, try this with a light weight as you work on perfecting the V-sit position with your abs engaged and fully extended knees. Begin with five alternating halos. As you get better, increase the weight and reps.

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