The Big 50 Shoulder Circuit

Build shoulder strength and size at the end of your workout with the "Big 50" Shoulder Circuit from STACK expert Giovanni Grassi.

Dwight Freeney Workout

Dwight Freeney

When most people think about a shoulder workout, they envision the Overhead Shoulder Press. It's effective, but it's not the only way to build stronger and bigger shoulders.

The shoulder is a complex joint with several muscles acting on it. (LearnĀ how to keep your shoulders healthy.) The deltoids and traps are the main concern for most athletes, since they are the most visible. However, the smaller muscles of the shoulder are equally important for performance and joint health.

To give your shoulders a strength and size boost, I recommend performing the Big 50 Shoulder Circuit at the end of your workout. The Big 50 involves five exercises performed for 10 reps each with no rest between sets. Start by performing only one set of this routine and add a set as it becomes easier. Your goal is to perform five sets of the circuit with one-minute rests between sets.

Grab a pair of light to moderate-weight dumbbells and get ready to grind through this grueling circuit.

DB Upright Row

Focus: side and back of shoulder, upper back, biceps

  • Assume athletic position holding dumbbells at waist with palms facing thighs
  • Pull dumbbells up to shoulder height; keep dumbbells close to body and elbows high
  • Slowly lower dumbbells
  • Repeat for specified reps

DB Forward Raise

Focus: front of shoulder

  • Assume athletic position holding dumbbells at waist with palms facing thighs
  • Raise dumbbells in front to shoulder height; keep arms straight
  • Slowly lower dumbbells
  • Repeat for specified reps

DB Lateral Raise

Focus: side of shoulder

  • Assume athletic position holding dumbbells at sides
  • Raise dumbbells to shoulder height; keep arms straight
  • Slowly lower dumbbells
  • Repeat for specified reps

DB Bent-Over Reverse Fly

Focus: back of shoulder and upper back

  • Keeping back flat, bend at waist until chest is parallel to floor
  • Holding dumbbells with palms facing together, start with arms straight and pointing toward floor
  • Pinch shoulder blades together and raise dumbbells to side
  • Return to starting position
  • Repeat for specified reps

DB Curl to Press

Focus: total shoulder and biceps

  • Assume athletic stance holding dumbbells at waist with palms facing out
  • Curl dumbbells to shoulders
  • Extend arms to press dumbbells overhead and slightly behind ears
  • Lower dumbbells to shoulders, then to waist
  • Repeat for specified reps
Develop your shoulders with exercises and workouts from STACK's Shoulder Guide.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: SHOULDERS | WORKOUTS | HEALTH | PRESS | DUMBBELLS | WAIST | UPPER BACK