Workout 42: Back & Shoulder

Back Exercises

1. Simulated Pull Up

  1. Grab a towel or t-shirt, hold it in both hands, and stand in a squat position.
  2. Hold the towel out in front of you with your arms extended, and pull on both sides of the t-shirt or towel as hard, as you can as if you were trying to rip it.
  3. As you continue to try to rip the towel or t-shirt, slowly bring your elbows backwards as if you were trying to squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  4. When your hands get as close to your chest as possible, slowly return to the starting position and repeat until the set is complete. Remember to KEEP trying to rip the towel throughout the entire exercise.

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. 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.

Shoulders Exercises

1. 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.

2. Front Dumbbell Raise 

  1. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart. Grasp one dumbbell with each hand so that your palms are facing inward and hands are against your thighs.
  2. While keeping your torso stationary, lift the dumbbells in front of you with a straight arm or slightly bent elbow. Continue to raise the dumbbell until your arm is slightly above parallel to the ground or around shoulder-level.
  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. Seated Dumbbell Press 

  1. Sit on a military press bench, or any utility bench that has a back support, and hold two dumbbells upright on the top of your thighs.
  2. With your palms facing each other, lift the dumbbells up (one at a time) to shoulder-level.
  3. Then, rotate your wrists so that your palms are facing upward toward the ceiling.
  4. Press your dumbbells up and toward each other, without jerking your back.
  5. Slowly lower them until they return to the starting position.

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