Exercise Database

Dumbbell Shrugs

  • These work the upper trapezius
  • Have palms facing each other, shoulders pulled back and a neutral head position.
  • Keeping the arms straight, shrug the weight up so the shoulders come straight up, close to the ears.
  • Pause and slowly lower. Range of motion is important, ignore those you see half-rep shrugging with extreme amounts of weight.

T-Bar Row

T-Bar Row
  • These work your posterior deltoids as well as lats and middle traps
  • Place an unloaded barbell so one end is in the corner of the room
  • Load the other end, preferably with smaller diameter plates (allows for greater range of motion)
  • Take a shoulder width or slightly wider stance and using interlocked fingers, grasp the barbell just inside the weight plates
  • Engage the shoulders by pulling them back as well as bending the elbows, stopping when the plates touch your torso. Note that the use of a V Handle is recommended to allow for further range of motion.
  • Lower to full extension of the arms, allowing the shoulder to come forward as well.

Seated Barbell Shoulder Press

  • This primarily hits the anterior and lateral deltoids.
  • Set the bench as close to vertical as possible
  • Take a stance so that your legs feel in a strong position to help with balance
  • Align your knuckles with the bar so that when you press, your forearms are under the bar (forearms in front of the bar = wrist stress)
  • Choose a grip that allows the forearms to remain close to vertical for the movement
  • A good cue for the top position is to push “behind the ears”, meaning the head comes through
  • Avoid arching the back too much, doing so means the weight is likely too heavy. Think of keeping the rib cage down over the body

Standing Barbell Shoulder Press

standing barbell shoulder press
  • This primarily hits your anterior and lateral deltoids.
  • Align your knuckles with the bar so that when you press, your forearms are under the bar (forearms in front of the bar = wrist stress)
  • Choose a grip that allows the forearms to remain close to vertical for the movement
  • Have soft knees and don’t use them to generate momentum (that would be a push press)
  • A good cue for the top position is to push “behind the ears”, meaning the head comes through
  • Avoid leaning back too much, doing so means the weight is likely too heavy

Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise

dumbbell side lateral raise
  • Unsurprisingly, this hits the lateral deltoids.
  • Take a slight bend in the elbow and have palms facing each other.
  • Pull the shoulder blades back and have a neutral head.
  • Raise the dumbbells so the wrists are level or slightly below shoulder height. Note that’s it common to get shoulder impingement from lifting any higher than that (my demo is perhaps a touch high).
  • Pause for a split second and lower slowly, most of the benefits come from a controlled lowering of the dumbbells.
  • Don’t go too heavy! These are small muscles that fatigue quickly, keep good form.

3/4 Range of Motion Bench Press

3/4 Range of Motion Bench Press

3/4 range of motion bench press

  • Regular hand width, a little more than shoulder width.
  • Extend the arms but don’t lock out the elbows.
  • Elbows don’t need to touch the sides, 45 degree angle is best.
  • Full lockout fatigues the triceps first, so to hit the chest, stay in the bottom 3/4 of the movement.
  • You can do heavy sets with these or high rep finishers.