Back-to-Back Exercises for Killer Shoulders

A well-muscled back is a strong and attractive feature for both men and women, so how do we get one?

Back and shoulder workouts produce muscle growth and definition that can look spectacular on anyone. So to get you started here are two push, one pull and one holding exercise that will change your body shape for the better:

Pull Ups
We all have strengths and weaknesses in our physical make up. An obvious weakness that I have, which I keep meaning to address, is the pull up. I hate doing these and as a consequence, I don’t. But that’s going to change. I’m determined. 

The heavier you are the more difficult these will be. To avoid injury if you’re not able to pull up our own body weight. Assisted pull ups are a good way to begin. In essence we’re talking about hanging from a bar suspended above your head and pulling yourself up so that your chin reaches bar height. That’s an unassisted pull up. Some machines allow you to step on a lever that supports as much of your bodyweight as you choose, so that your pull upwards is lighter. 

Alternatively, you can perform seated pull downs with a cabled pulley machine. These mimic the pull up except your drawing the bar towards you, usually shifting much fewer kilos and activating less of your core.

Dumbbell Rows
Bent over so that your upper body is parallel to the ground, with your opposite hand or even with one knee resting on a bench, pull the dumbbell up towards the side of your body in a rowing motion. You’ll get a solid workout for your back with some activity on your arms and rear shoulder muscles.

A similar version of this is seated at a pulley machine where you can pull towards yourself with the pulleys or handles level with the area between your waist and rib cage.

Shoulder Press
Shoulder presses are a straightforward movement that can be done with dumbbells or a machine. Dumbbells are probably best however, as they removes the bias of having a naturally more dominant side, as determined by whether you are right or left handed.

Simply seat yourself at a bench with the dumbbell held at shoulder level and raise it until the arm is at full extension, before returning it to your shoulder. Varying the position of the dumbbell by rotating your wrist 90 degrees will give a slightly different work out to your shoulders.

Racing Driver
Finally take a 5, 10 or 20kg disc off the Olympic bar and hold it out in front of you at shoulder height with your arms straight. Set yourself a time limit of 30 seconds or a minute depending on your strength and slowly rotate it to the left, like you’re turning a steering wheel. Pull it back so the your hands are back at 9 and 3 o’clock, hold and slowly turn to the right. This will strengthen your arms, chest and shoulders. 

To add a little extra bite at the end, bend your arms a little and throw in some other movements like bringing the disc up and over your head or twisting from the waist as you move it either side of your body.

Now get the singlet on and show us those shoulders!  
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