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Back and Shoulder Workout

Type: Back Workout

The muscles of the back and shoulders are often very complimentary, and you often use one muscle group as the prime mover, and the other in a supporting capacity, so they make for a great workout combination. This back and shoulder workout is a great example of just that.

The tricky part of working both the muscles of the back and the muscles of the shoulders is that often your instinct will be to focus more on moving the weight than contracting the muscles. Resist this instinct, and focus instead on squeezing the muscles hard during each rep.

For example during Pull Ups or Rows, squeeze the Lats together hard as if you’re attempting to crack an egg between the shoulder blades. During shoulder work, think hard about moving the weight with your shoulders rather than your traps, triceps or chest. Don’t panic if you find this tough at first. That’s why you’re here, right?

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Back and Shoulders
Instructions:

In a back and shoulder workout like this, perform one set of the reps specified with good technique. Then take a 60 second breather and shake out your muscles a bit. At the end of that 60 second break, start your next set. Perform all required sets before moving on to the next back or shoulder exercise.

Choose a weight that allows you to perform all the reps listed, but that pushes that muscle group to the limit at the end of each set. Don’t go light at the beginning just to have gas in the tank by the end. This will NOT force an adaptation. You must push your muscles to failure, then keep pushing further so your body has a reason to change.

Exercises: Show All | Hide All
1 Pull Ups, Overhand, Wide Grip
4 sets 
8 reps 
Focus on your lats, not your arms.
 
Targets: 
Muscle Groups:
Back
Biceps
Forearms
Mid Back
 
Description: Pull ups (also known as chin ups) are a great bodyweight exercise for working the back and arms as well as a tough test to measure muscular fitness and strength. The wide grip focuses more attention on the upper and mid back ...

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2 Bent Over Row, Barbell, Overhand
4 sets 
12 reps 
Keep the back flat and stationary
 
Targets: 
Muscle Groups:
Mid Back
Biceps
Rear Shoulders
 
Description: The barbell bent over row is an effective exercise for developing the lats, and is performed by bending at the waist and performing a row, squeezing the shoulders together. It also works the biceps & rear shoulders. Variation ...

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3 Dumbbell Row, Single Arm, Bench, Elbow In
 
Targets: 
Muscle Groups:
Back
Biceps
Rear Shoulders
 
Description: The single arm dumbbell row has the elbow tucked into the side of the body and targets the main back muscles. Using a bench helps to stabilize the position. To progress and make the exercise more challenging, it could be perf ...

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4 Upright Row, Barbell
3 sets 
10 reps 
Feel these in both your delts and your traps
 
Targets: 
Muscle Groups:
Upper Shoulders
Biceps
Front Shoulders
Mid Back
Mid Shoulders
Upper Back
 
Description: The upright row exercise works the upper, mid and rear shoulder muscles most intensely. It also works the front shoulders, biceps, forearms and back to lesser intensity. It's a great upper body exercise and will really help t ...

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5 Military Press, Barbell, Seated
4 sets 
8 reps 
Focus on moving the weight with your delts, not your triceps
 
Targets: 
Muscle Groups:
Shoulders
Triceps
Upper Back
 
Description: The military press is an effective exercise for developing the deltoids, and is performed by pressing a bar overhead, extending the arms. Also known as the shoulder press, the overhead barbell press hits multiple muscles and ...

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6 Lateral Raise, Dumbbell
4 sets 
12 reps 
Squeeze your delts, not your traps
 
Targets: 
Muscle Groups:
Mid Shoulders
Mid Back
Upper Shoulders
 
Description: The lateral raise with dumbbells is an effective exercise for developing the deltoids, and is performed by extending the arm to the side of the body with the elbow extended. Start with a light weight to perfect the technique. ...

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7 Front Raise, Flutters
3 sets 
10 reps 
 
Targets: 
Muscle Groups:
Front Shoulders
None
 
Description: Front Raise Flutters are an effective exercise for developing and strengthening the shoulders. The constant movement of the flutter motion will help stimulate muscle growth. Below you will find a video tutorial and step by st ...

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8 Shoulder Shrugs, Dumbbell
3 sets 
10 reps 
Squeeze your traps hard
 
Targets: 
Muscle Groups:
Upper Shoulders
None
 
Description: Shoulder shrugs with dumbbells develops the upper shoulders to build a broad strong sloping neckline. Can be performed with a barbell, dumbbells, cables or any other suitable resistance equipment. Below you'll find a video gu ...

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Print Workout 

 Intensity Levels

Level Intensity (Int) Goal Examples & Guide Lines
5 Low N/A Daily activities. Normal Breathing, Talking (>2 hrs)
6 Low Moderate N/A Brisk Walk, Slow Jog, Normal Breathing & Talking (1 - 2 hrs)
7 Moderate CV: Endurance Jogging - Fast breathing. Talk just okay (> 20 min)
8 High Moderate CV: Race pace Fast Jog - Heavy breathing, Talk broken (>10 min)
9 High CV: Sports Hard run - Breathing heavy. Talking hard. (1-3 min)
10 Maximum CV: Speed Sprint - V. hard breathing. Talk impossible. (5 -8 sec)

 Workout Saftey

All exercises should be completed with proper technique maintaining good posture throughout. Use technique and posture failure as an indicator as to how challenging you find the resistance or exercise position. Optimize the resistance and exercise type according to your own ability.

It is important to incorporate exercises that cover all major muscle groups into your main workout to ensure a balanced program. Focusing too much on one muscle group can cause muscular imbalances.

Taking these guidelines into consideration means that you will get far more from your workouts, advance quicker and help reduce the risk of exercise related injury.

Always seek professional advice from a qualified fitness instructor before attempting any exercise or workout.

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