Workout 30: Shoulders (with video!)

This is delayed post, but here is one of my favorite types of shoulder workouts.  I start with heavy-ish weights/lower reps for press to build the shoulder muscle, then move to cable weights with higher reps/lower weight to really tone and fatigue the muscles, and finish with more plyo/explosive moves to build power and endurance.  I save rear delts for my back day most weeks, but you could easily incorporate a few extra moves to target the rear delts on the same day as the rest of your shoulder routine.

We did:

  • 5 rounds of 7 reps push press (@70lbs), 7 field-goal-to-T’s (@10lbs), and 7 strict press (@40lbs)
  • 5 rounds of 10 reps/arm lateral cable raises, 10 reps/arm cross/front cable raises, and 10reps/arm cable front raises
  • 5 rounds of 5 snatch/arm, 5 high row/arm, 5 kettlebell swings (@14kg)

We finished with 6 rounds of sprints – @11.7mph/3.0 incline.  (The times for this week were 20 sec on – 10 sec off – 15 sec on, 15 sec off for 4 rounds, 10 sec on, 50 sec off.)

Press Circuit – with a video of the whole circuit at the bottom:

Complete all three moves without rest, for 21 total reps.  Rest for 30 sec-1 min, then repeat for 5 total rounds.

(1) 7 reps push press

Start with a push press.  With a neutral stance, bend through the knees and explode upwards until the barbell is overhead.  Try not to lock out your elbows and to maintain a fairly quick speed while performing 7 reps.



(2) 7 reps field-goal-to-T’s

Immediately grab your dumbbells.  Start with the weights at shoulder height, with your palms facing inward and your elbows bent.


Swing your arms out to the sides until your elbows are perpendicular to your shoulders, keeping the weights lifted on either side of your head.


Flip the weights down until your forearms are parallel to the floor.  Return to the start position and repeat for 7 reps.


(3) 7 reps Strict Press

Drop the weight down from your starting weight.  Without using your legs, press the weight up from your chest overhead.



Cable Circuit – perform all three exercises on the same arm before switching arms:

Complete all rounds with no rest — because you are alternating arms, your left arm gets a break while the right arm works and vise-versa.  Continue until you have performed 5 total circuits of 3 moves/arm.

(1) Lateral Raises (10 reps/arm @ 10lbs): Stand to the side of the cable machine, with your non-working arm facing the cable.  Holding the attachment in your outside arm, lift the cable until your hand is straight out to the side of your shoulder.  Hold for one count, lower, and repeat for 10/reps per arm before switching to the next exercise.


(2) Cross Front Raises (10 reps/arm @10lbs) – starting from the same position, lift the weight straight out in front of the shoulder of your working arm.  Hold for 1 sec, lower, and repeat for 10 reps before moving to the final exercise.



(3) Front Raises (10 reps/arm @10lbs) – Stand facing away from the cable.  Raise the attachment straight out in front of your working shoulder.  Hold for 1 sec, lower, and repeat.


When you’ve finished all 30 reps on the first side, move to the second side and repeat.

Kettlebell Circuit @14kg – complete 5 rounds as quickly as possible — video at the bottom:

(1) Snatches – 5 reps/arm – Swing the arm back and use the power of your hips to lift the kettlebell, much like you would for a swing.  As the weight approaches your shoulder, punch it up straight above your shoulder.

IMG_4762 IMG_4771

(2) High Pull – 5 reps/arm – as you will see in the video below, my right high pull is still a little lack-luster compared to my left arm.  I had a nagging shoulder injury last year, and it still shows up every now and then.  Next time around, I plan to pay extra attention to the height of my elbow on the pull.

The basic move starts out the same as the swing and the snatch, but you should lift your elbow high to the ceiling at the top of the movement, while bringing the kettlebell near the center of your chest.  Repeat for 5 reps/side.


(3) Swing – 5 reps – hold the weight in both hands.  Driving through your hips and glutes, swing the weight up to shoulder level (with your arms/elbows relaxed).  Swing the weight back between your thighs, and repeat for 5 reps.


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