Shoulder Exercises

The No-Frills Shoulder Workout

Build a wide, round set of shoulders—and burn fat—with this unconventional, no-press routine.

by CSCS
Get Creative with Your Cardio to Burn Fat
Duration 30 min
Exercises 4
Equipment Yes

“Press at all costs” has been the name of the playbook for boulder shoulders for as long as men have lifted weights. But every now and then it is helpful to set it aside and try another approach. Temporarily suspending your use of the press will benefit you in two significant ways: It gives your joints a break from the heavy stuff, and it allows you to broaden your horizons with some fresh moves.

While undoubtedly effective, pressing can take a toll on the connective tissues of the shoulder joints. This is even more of an issue if you’re using a barbell, which tends to leave you fighting your body’s desired range of motion. Besides that, it can get a little dull after a while.

In this program, you’ll use moderate to heavy upright rows with a rope attachment at a cable station, which hold plenty of the same benefits but with a smoother, more natural range of motion. Then, after those more traditional sets, you’ll do high-volume, HIIT-inspired shoulder work using light dumbbells and battling ropes. The result is a complete, sweat-soaked routine that heavily taxes each of the three deltoid heads while also helping you get diced.

Fortune Raise Key

This shoulder gauntlet is a frequent go-to for fighters in the stable of boxer Manny Pacquiao’s trainer and strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune (fortunegym.com). Shadowbox for 30 seconds holding dumbbells, focusing on throwing brisk, straight punches. Alternate with 30 seconds’ worth of dumbbell raises. Choose from this menu for the fortune raise to keep things fresh in each round.

Punches Raises
Straight Front Raise
Straight to 45 degrees Lateral Raise
Overhead Rear-delt Raise
Ground+Pound* T-to-Overhead**

*Keeping your back flat, lean forward at the waist and throw alternating punches at the ground.
**Hold a pair of dumbbells at full extension out to your sides, palms facing forward, arms forming a T with your torso. Elevate your arms overhead in a wide arc until the dumbbells touch, and then lower them along the same path, coming back to a T. 

Shoulder Workout

Exercise 1

Dumbbell Upright Row You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Upright Row thumbnail
4 sets
10-12 reps
1 min rest
Choose a weight that brings about failure at the rep range listed.

Exercise 2

Fortune Raise
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
3 min reps
1 min rest
Set a timer for 6 consecutive 30-second segments. Alternate between shadowboxing and dumbbell raise variations for 30 seconds each for what amounts to 3 straight minutes of work. Use 3- to 5-lb. dumbbells, and focus on constant, controlled movement.

Exercise 3

Battling Ropes
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
Tabata reps
-- rest
Using your timer, perform these Tabata-style, completing 8 20-second segments of all-out work, each followed by 10 seconds of rest. Alternate between 2-handed slams and alternating waves in each work segment.

Exercise 4

Face Pull You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Rope Attachment How to
Face Pull thumbnail
3 sets
15 reps
-- rest
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