Upper-Body Strength 15 | Adapt to Perform
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Upper-Body Strength 15

Session details
Whiteboard
Resistance
Upper Body
Number of rounds
3
Equipment
Intensity:
Easy
Medium
Hard
00:00:00
Round 1
: Minutes
1. Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Reps: 6 6 6
Exercise 1

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Reps
6
6
6
Description

The shoulder press is a classic deltoid-building exercise that is common in gyms around the world. The standing press is worthy of being the main movement in a muscle-building shoulder workout, but is also a great strength movement.

Pick up the dumbbells using a neutral grip (palms facing in).
Bring the dumbbells up to shoulder height by bending at the elbow.
Once the dumbbells are in place, rotate your palms so they are facing forward. This is your starting position.
Take a deep breath then press the dumbbells overhead by extending the elbows and contracting the deltoids.
Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position (the arms should be roughly 90 degrees or slightly lower depending upon limb lengths).
Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Seated Dumbbell Press Tips

Keep your back flat throughout the duration of the exercise.
Don’t allow the head to jut forward excessively.
Drive the bicep to the ear and exhale as you press.
If you sense any pressure in your neck or traps during the movement, look to address a lack of thoracic spine extension or shoulder flexion.
Keeping the elbows slightly bent at the top and not locking out entirely will help to keep tension on the shoulders.
If you can’t lock out the elbows overhead than it may indicate a lack of shoulder mobility due to poor scapular upward rotation.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Resistance Band Shoulder Press
Adaptation:
2. Dumbbell Row
Reps: 6 6 6
Exercise 2

Dumbbell Row

Reps
6
6
6
Description

The Dumbbell Row is a popular movement for building stronger and bigger traps and shoulders. Many lifters combine this move with either their back or shoulder workout since it involves both body parts. It is generally performed for moderate to high reps, such as 8-12 reps per set or more.

Hold a dumbbell in one hand with a neutral grip.
Hinge forward until your torso is roughly parallel with the floor (or slightly above) and then begin the movement by driving the elbow behind the body while retracting the shoulder blade.
Pull the dumbbell towards your body until the elbow is at (or just past) the midline and then slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position under control.
Repeat for the desired number of repetitions on both sides.

Dumbbell Row Tips

Experiment with head position and see which option (looking forward vs. packing the neck) works better for you.
Fight the urge to use your opposing arm to brace against your leg or any other implement.
Keep some tone through your abdominals as you pull the dumbbell into your body to ensure you don’t arch excessively through your spine.
Don’t allow momentum to dictate the movement, control the dumbbells throughout the entirety of each rep.
If you feel your biceps being overused and your back remaining underactive, consider utilizing a false grip (i.e. don’t wrap the thumb around the dumbbell).
Don’t allow the head to jut forward as you pull.
Similarly, ensure the shoulder blade moves on the rib cage. Don’t lock the shoulder blade down and just move through the glenohumeral joint.

Benefits
- Builds stronger, bigger traps and lateral deltoids
- More shoulder-friendly than barbell upright rows
- Great burnout movement on shoulder day

3. Dumbbell Bicep curl
Reps: 6 6 6
Exercise 3

Dumbbell Bicep curl

Reps
6
6
6
Description

The Dumbbell bicep curl is a single-joint exercise for building bigger and stronger biceps. Popular among gym goers of all experience levels, this move can be done seated or standing. It is generally performed for moderate to high reps, such as 8-12 reps or higher, as part of the arm-focused portion of a workout.

Dumbbell Bicep Curl Instructions

Pick the dumbbells up and let them hang by your sides with your palms facing inwards towards your body.
Bend the arms slightly to take up the tension in the biceps. This is the starting position for the exercise.
Keeping your back straight and your elbows tucked in at your sides, as you curl up, rotate your palms so they face upwards slowly curl both dumbbells up as far as possible.
Squeeze the biceps hard, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
Repeat for desired reps.

​Dumbbell Curl Tips:

Keep your elbows in at your sides.
Focus on only allowing your forearms to move.
Keep the rep timing slow and control the weight throughout the set - don't let the weight drop down quickly.
Don’t allow your arms to swing at the bottom

Benefits
- Permits wrist supination, unlike the barbell version
- Allows you to target the biceps
- More time efficient than the alternating dumbbell curl
- Simple way to build biceps size and strength

Dumbbell Bicep Curl
Resistance Band
Adaptation:
4. Dumbbell Triceps Kickback
Reps: 6 6 6
Exercise 4

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Reps
6
6
6
Description

The single-arm triceps kick-back is an isolation move from a bent-over position used to increase size and strength of the triceps. If the Triceps are weakened try the straight arm pull where they will be worked isometrically.

Using a neutral grip, pick up the dumbbell with your left hand. Keep your back straight and bend forward, if needed use the opposite hand as support.
Tuck your left upper arm close to your torso and bend at the elbow, forming a 90-degree angle with your upper arm and forearm. This is the starting position.
Moving only at the elbow, raise the dumbbell behind you until your arm is fully extended.
Pause, and then lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.
Repeat this movement for desired reps and then repeat using your right arm.

Exercise Tips

Focus on moving the weight with your triceps, keeping control of the weight as you slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
Keep your body as still as possible, moving only your forearms.

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback
Straight Arm Pull
Adaptation:
5. Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Reps: 6 6 6
Exercise 5

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Reps
6
6
6
Description

The dumbbell lateral raise is an upper body isolation exercise for building shoulder strength and muscle. It's a staple strength training move and is a great option for accessory work on upper body training days. This exercise particularly focuses on the lateral or medial head of the deltoid, making them appear wider and more developed.

Grab a set of dumbbells and sit straight up with the dumbbells at your sides.
Your palms should be facing your body. You should be holding the dumbbells slightly off your body, as this keeps the tension on the side delts. This is your starting position for the exercise.
To execute, slowly raise the dumbbells up to around shoulder height. It's important that you do not let your wrists go above your elbows while raising the weight, as this will take the work off the side delts and put it on the front delts.
Pause at the top of the movement, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
Do not let the dumbbells touch your body, and then raise them for the next rep.

​Lateral Raise Tips:

The dumbbell lateral raise is one of those exercises that so many people do incorrectly. First, this is an isolation exercise, so you should be focusing on stretch and muscle contraction, not using heavy weights.
Second, you MUST keep your rep timing slow and controlled. So many people use momentum to swing heavy weights up, and this is not going to get you the best results from the dumbbell lateral raise.
Third, it very important that your elbows stay above your wrists. If your wrists come up too far, the focus comes off your side delts and onto your front delts. A good trick to ensure this does not happen is to tilt the dumbbells down as if you were pouring a jug of water as you raise them up. This makes it very hard to raise the wrists higher than the elbows.
And finally, keep the side delts under stress for the whole set by not allowing the dumbbells to touch your body or "hang" at the bottom of the movement.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Resistance Band Pull Apart
Adaptation:
6. Dumbbell Shrug
Reps: 6 6 6
Exercise 6

Dumbbell Shrug

Reps
6
6
6
Description

Assume a siting position with the dumbbells held in a neutral grip on both sides of your body.
Contract the traps to elevate the shoulders. Squeeze hard at the top and slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Dumbbell Shrug Tips

Looking slightly up while shrugging may enhance the contraction as traps help to control the movement of the skull. This motion should be smooth and controlled, as a ballistic movement could result in a neck injury.
Limit momentum and excessive jerking or bouncing of the weight.
Don’t allow the head to jut forward excessively as you squeeze the traps, this can put the neck in a compromised position and result in an injury.
Adding a pause at the top of the movement can help to enhance the mind-muscle connection.