Workout 18: Back & Shoulders


Back Exercises

1. Scapular Push Up

  1. Position yourself as though you were going to perform a plank, hands directly beneath shoulders, arms straight, feet hip-width apart, balancing on toes.
  2. Exhale. Pull your shoulder blades apart. This movement will cause your upper back to rise slightly toward the ceiling.
  3. Ensure that your core is engaged and arms are still straight, inhale. Bring your shoulder blades back toward each other.

*Note: This can be done on the knees instead of toes.


2. Good Morning

  1. With feet hip-width apart, stand upright, knees slightly bent, and place your hands at the back of your head, elbows opened wide.
  2. Engage your abdominal muscles by pulling them into your spine. Keeping your spine neutral and pressing your rear backward, bend forward at the hips and continue doing so until your back is nearly parallel to the floor.
  3. Slowly return to standing, engaging your core and squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement. Continue for the prescribed number of repetitions.


3. Renegade Row

  1. Place two dumbbells on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Start in the top position of pushup position with your hands on the weights. Make sure your back is straight and in line with your legs, as if there were a rod going through your whole body.
  2. Row one weight up towards the side of your body while balancing on your other hand and feet. Hold for one second at the top and return the weight slowly to the start position to repeat on the other side.
  3. Keep your body in straight line from your shoulders to your ankles as you row the weight. Be sure to finish the movement by pulling the dumbbell all the way to your ribs. Don't let your shoulders slouch. Be sure to bring your shoulder blades together.


4. Superman

  1. Lie face down on the ground, toes pointed, ankles touching the ground, arms extended forward, like Superman in flight, palms down, touching the ground.
  2. Pull your arms and legs off the ground by engaging your glutes, shoulders, core, and back. They should raise up 2-3 inches.
  3. Ensure that your arms are also fully contracted. 
  4. Hold this position for 10-20 seconds, or until failure.
  5. Slowly lower your arms and legs back to the starting position. Repeat for prescribed number of reps.


Shoulders Exercises

1. Arnold Dumbbell Press

  1. Sit on the military press bench, or any utility bench that has a back support, and hold two dumbbells in front of you at about upper-chest level. Your palms should be facing your body your elbows bent and tucked in. 
  2. Next, in the middle of the movement, raise the dumbbells as you rotate your palms until they are facing forward.
  3. Continue raising the dumbbells until your arms are fully extended above you.
  4. After a pause at the top, begin to lower the dumbbells, rotating your palms towards you.


2. Lateral Dumbbell Raise

  1. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and dumbbells aligned with your feet at arm's length. Make sure your palms are facing inward towards your sides.
  2. Keep your torso stationary and raise the dumbbells to your side with a slight bend at your elbow. Lift your arms until they are slightly parallel to the ground, or around shoulder-level, and pause for a second at the top.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.


3. Bent Over Rear Delt Raise 

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Bend at the hip with the butt back as far as possible.
  3. Keep the back straight in order to pick up the dumbbells. The palms of your hands should be facing each other as you hold the dumbbells. This will be your starting position.
  4. Keeping your torso forward and stationary and the arms slightly bent at the elbows, lift the dumbbells straight to the side until both arms are parallel to the floor. (Note: Avoid swinging the torso or bringing the arms back as opposed to the side.)
  5. After a one second contraction at the top, slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

    Variation: This exercise can also be performed seated. Those with lower back problems are better off performing this seated variety.

4. Shrug

  1. Stand upright or very slightly bent over with one dumbbell in each hand. Your palms should be facing your torso or each other and your arms should be fully extended by your sides. 
  2. Lift the dumbbells by raising your shoulders as high as possible towards your ears while keeping your arms fully extended. Hold the contraction at the top for at least half a second.
  3. Lower the dumbbells back to the original position. Your shoulder should be the only part moving for this movement.