June 29, 2021
This Back and Shoulder Workout Will Help You Stand Up Tall
Many people tend to skip back work in favor of pressing exercises when they strength train, which tends to make the muscles in the front of the body, like the shoulders, stronger and more developed. As a result, this imbalance between front and back muscles can lead to rounding or hunching with your posture.
That’s why exercises that strengthen your rear delts—the small muscles on the back of your shoulders—are especially important. Those muscles help stabilize your shoulders, which can prevent injury, both when you are strength training and in everyday movement
This back and shoulder workout will make sure you are working toward balanced strength, and because of its focus on single-arm moves, you’ll get a good dose of core work in there too. Because your body needs to resist rotating when you’re moving weight on one side—like with the single-arm row—your core will fire to stabilize it.
Here’s what you need to strengthen your back and your shoulders right at home.
What you need: Two pairs of dumbbells. (You’ll want to go lighter on the reverse fly and the lateral-to-front raises.)
- Single-arm row
- Reverse fly
- Alternating overhead press
- Lateral raise to front raise
- Complete 10–15 reps of each exercise. (For the single-arm moves, you’ll do that number on each side.) Perform 4 rounds of each superset, resting 1–2 minutes between them. In both sets, try not to rest between exercises.
1. Single – Arm Row
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in your right hand with your arm at your side. (You can also support your non-rowing hand on a sturdy surface that’s about hip height.) Step forward about two feet with your left foot and rest your left hand on your left quad. This is the starting position.
- With your core engaged, hinge forward at the hips, pushing your butt back, and bend your left knee, making sure you don’t round your shoulders. (Your hip mobility and hamstring flexibility will dictate how far you can bend over.)
- Gaze at the ground a few inches in front of your feet to keep your neck in a comfortable position.
- Pull the weight up toward your chest, keeping your elbows hugged close to your body and squeezing your shoulder blade for two seconds at the top of the movement. Your elbow should go past your back as you bring the weight toward your chest.
- Slowly lower the weight by extending your arms toward the floor. That’s 1 rep. Complete 10–15 reps, then switch sides.
When you’re rowing, keep your chest tall and avoid slouching or hunching over, says Fagan. Make sure you are squeezing your shoulder blades, which helps your back muscles do the work instead of your arms.
2. Reverse Fly
3. Alternating Overhead Press
If you have pain or discomfort when you press overhead, omit this move. You’ll still be hitting all three parts of your shoulder with the reverse fly and the front-to-lateral raise.
4. Front – to – Lateral Raise
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, a lighter dumbbell in each hand, arms resting along the front of your legs, palms facing your legs.
- With a slight bend in your elbows, slowly lift your arms straight up in front of you to shoulder level, then slowly lower them back to start.
- Keeping that same bend in your elbows, raise your arms out to the side to shoulder level, then slowly lower them. This is 1 rep.
Complete 10–15 reps.