Latest Shoulder Workout

In keeping with my slightly higher reps for March, we added more reps and dropped the weight about 10% for this week’s shoulder workout:

  • 3 rounds of 10 each lateral raise, front raise, circles, straight-back raises, and upright rows with press out
  • 3 rounds of 10 each barbell presses and dumbbell presses
  • 3 rounds of 10 each cable cross high pulls, one-arm high-pulls, and two-arm upright rows
  • 5 minutes worth of 5 reps each: ground-to-overhead, push press, and cleans
  • 5 X 200m sprints, with 2 minutes to complete the distance and recover.  In other words, if you finish the 200m in 25 sec, you have 1:35 to walk and recover.  If it takes 50 sec, you only have 1:10 to recover.  I gradually increased the speed over the 5 rounds – 12.5mph, 12.8 mph, 13.0 mph, 13.5 mph, and 13.7 mph.

(1) Raises: We started with a super long, light set to really warm up the shoulders.  I used 12.5 lbs weights, which sound super light until you get into the middle of this long set.  Perform one lateral raise with the weights out to your sides, one front raise (try to keep the weight at only shoulder height – trickier with light weight as you can see in the video), one circle (keeping the arms as straight as possible), one bent over back raise (the weight comes straight back and up about 6 inches), and an upright row.  On the upright row, the weight should feel super light, so press back and squeeze your shoulder blades together.

(2) Presses: Next perform strict presses with a barbell for 3 rounds of 10 reps and dumbbells (not pictured) for 3 rounds of 10 reps, with only 15-30 sec rest between rounds.  I used 60lbs for the barbell presses but dropped down to 25lbs/arm for dumbbell presses.  One thing to keep in mind is that your elbows should not drop too far below your shoulders, even at the bottom of the movement.  Also, try to press the arms straight up and down, even when using dumbbells.  I have a tendency to bring the weights together above my head when using dumbbells and have to really focus on keeping the weights moving in a straight line.  If you experience the same issue, start using the barbell since your movement if more restricted and move to dumbbells once you become more comfortable with the motion.

As pictured below, we used a slightly wider grip today – you can start at shoulder width and play around with your grip to hit slightly different parts of the shoulder.

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(3) Cables:

Start with 3 rounds of 10 reps cross-body high pulls @ 20lbs/arm — Put the cable attachments low and grab each attachment across your body (i.e., use the right hand to grab the attachment on your left side and vise versa).  Pull up and back, with your elbows pressed behind you at shoulder level.  While this move does target your lats/overall back muscles, you should also feel it working your rear delt.

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Next, superset 3 rounds of 10 reps one-arm-high pulls on your weaker side with 10 reps cable upright rows – because my left side is weaker than my right, we added in some single arm work.  I did 10 reps of a high pull with my left arm @20lbs, followed immediately by an upright row with both arms @42.5 lbs.  Work to get your elbows high and tight by your face, without tensing up in the shoulders.

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(4) AMRAP – We finished with as many rounds as possible in 5 minutes of 5 reps each (@75lbs): ground to overhead (shown below), push press, and cleans.  Your push press should mirror the strict press, but you bend your knees and use your hips to propel the weight up more explosively.  For cleans, start with the weight on the ground in front of you, and use a wider-than-hip-width grip.  Pull the weight up to about mid-thigh before explosively pushing your elbows forward and bringing the weight to your chest, while dropping into a squat.

A word of advice: avoid being overzealous with you bar, or you may be left with barbell kisses.

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