Even if you have the extra time lately, working a specific muscle group for hours on end can get more than a little tedious. And as Athlean-X founder Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. explains, it’s possible to make gains in a much shorter span of time.
Cavaliere breaks down two different shoulder workouts in his latest YouTube video, both of which only take 10 minutes. One requires a lighter pair of dumbbells (or weights you can securely grip), the other a heavier single dumbbell, giving the user the opportunity to adapt the weight based on what works best for them and the gear they have available.
The Athlean-X Light Dumbbell Shoulder Session
In the first workout, five exercises are performed for 2 sets of 45 seconds, with a 15-second rest period in between. “You get that brief rest, just to shake out the burn, and then you bring it right back again to see if you can get through another 45 seconds,” says Cavaliere. “Is it tough? Yes. Is it capable of delivering hypertrophy? Yes.”
The first move, the 1 1/2 lateral raise, is all about trying to get a focused contraction of the delt by raising the dumbbells, lowering them halfway down, and then back up again. This zero-momentum motion forces the middle delt to work harder than usual, according to Cavaliere.
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For the dumbbell H raise, Cavaliere recommends kneeling and facing the back of a chair in order to keep your form and posture upright during this move, which involves lifting the dumbbells up and together in a rectangular motion, bringing them closer to your face, then back out and down. Repetition of this move places pressure on the front delt.
For the W raise, assume a kneeling position, then raise the dumbbells at your sides, creating a W shape with your arms. “Not only are we hitting the rear delts, we’re also hitting the supporting muscles, namely the rotator cuff,” says Cavaliere. “That makes this a really effective exercise, especially if you’re not hitting these muscles often enough.”
The fourth move, the Urlacher, can be performed while seated or kneeling. “It starts out similarly to a bicep hammer curl, but quickly turns into this external rotation, side lateral raise combination,” explains Cavaliere. “You’re going to feel this one, with a tight contraction at the top.”
The fifth and final move, the kneeling speed press, looks easy at first, but when you add the speed and power component, it becomes much more difficult, especially on the second 45-second round. “This is a simple way to blast those shoulders without very much weight at all,” says Cavaliere.
The Athlean-X Heavy Dumbbell Shoulder Session
The second session, using one heavy weight, uses a different construction, with a 1:1 work to rest ratio for most of the exercise. The first move is the alternating cheat lateral raise (1 minute work, 1 minute rest). “We’re trying to control the descent of that dumbbell and switch hands each and every repetition,” says Cavaliere.
The alternating single-arm clean and press (1 minute work, 1 minute rest) involves a more explosive upward motion: “With this being a slightly longer exercise to perform each and every repetition, you might get a few less reps, but the key is high effort for the full minute.”
In the alternating single-arm high pull (1 minute, 1 minute rest), technique is crucial. “The key thing to focus on here is the relative position of the elbow in relation to the hand and wrist. The elbow is lower than the rest,” says Cavaliere. “You don’t want the elbow traveling higher than the wrist like it does in an upright row. We’ve got actual external rotation as opposed to internal rotation and elevation on the shoulder, which is much healthier and a better option, and still capable of delivering those muscle gains.”
The gravedigger (1 minute, 1 minute rest) might seem easier at first, as you’re able to split the load of the weight because you’re holding onto it with two hands, but it will feel much heavier because of where you’re at in the workout.
Similarly, the lower end of the dumbbell pressout (45 seconds, 15 second rest) feels like a rest, says Cavaliere: “When it’s closer to your chest you have a bit of a reprieve, you don’t feel the full weight of that dumbbell, before you have to press it out again.”
The workout concludes with 1 minute blast of the burnout move, the pushaway press. If you’ve done the session right, you’ll end up exhausted and gasping for breath, even though it only lasted 10 minutes.
“It’s not how long you train for,” he says. “It’s what you do in the time that you train that matters.”
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