Are you ready for an intense, high-rep shoulder workout that’s going to make your delts pop?
In this post, you’re going to get a shoulder routine you can do at home with just a pair of light dumbbells.
You will be doing ultra-high reps, doing a total of 300 reps for shoulders. I’m also going to take you through 2 specific methods for that. And this is going to give you that extreme pump.
You’re also going to be training every angle of your shoulders. I’ll go through each exercise with images below as well.
I’m writing this during the time of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak when most gyms around the world are closed.
This post is not intended to knock lifting heavy weight. Rather, it’s intended for those times when you can’t make it to the gym or your gym is closed for whatever reason.
Many do not have heavier weights at home, and buying weights can be expensive. So this workout shows you how to use what you have to get an intense workout (or you can buy a pair of lighter dumbbells, which aren’t so expensive).
4 Dumbbell Exercises for Shoulders
You’ll be doing 4 exercises for this shoulder routine. I’ll go through each one below.
These are going to be basic shoulder movements that will give you the best results. And then I’ll show you exactly how you’re going to do a total of 300 reps.
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
You can do these seated, or standing if you don’t have a weight bench at home.
You’ll be pumping out a lot of reps so don’t expect every rep to be perfect. With that said, here are some tips for dumbbell shoulder press:
- Try to get a full range of motion
- Stay completely focused, forcing your muscles to do the work (don’t shift your body or jerk the weight)
- When you get within 5 reps of your goal for that set (we’ll get to that below in the workout), start slowing those reps down to make your muscles work harder
You’re going to be doing 3 different types of lateral movements. This one is going to work your rear deltoids, which is often an underdeveloped muscle (this is why you’ll do this exercise first in the series of lateral exercises).
Here are some ways to make sure you’re targeting your rear delts with bent-over raises:
- Make sure you have a slight arch in your lower back as you lean forward; don’t round your back
- Maintain the same position with your arms throughout the movement (a slight bend in your elbows is okay); do not turn this into a bent-over row
- Use as less momentum as possible
- When you get to the top of the movement (arms extended), you can rotate your wrists out a little and that will help you contract your rear delts
Doing front raises with dumbbells will, of course, work your front deltoids. There are a few ways to make this exercise more effective below.
- Keep your torso straight throughout this movement; don’t sway or jerk your body to lift the dumbbells
- You can do these one arm at a time or simultaneously (because you’ll be supersetting this exercise, and we’ll get to that below in the workout, I recommend doing these simultaneously)
- Use controlled movements; don’t rush through this exercise (like Taylor Dayne said, ‘Don’t Rush Me’)
Dumbbell lateral raises are great for developing and defining your shoulders. Although they target more of your side delts, they really work your entire shoulder region.
Here are some ways to make lateral raises more effective:
- Like the other lateral movements, don’t sway, jerk, or use momentum
- Don’t raise the dumbbells too high, as you want to keep the stress on your delts and going to high lessens that stress; in fact, the image above is a little higher than you want to go
- Don’t let your arms just fall back to the starting position; control the weight as you bring your arms back down
2 Methods to Increase Workout Volume
Earlier, I mentioned ultra-high reps. This is known as doing anything over 25 total reps for a set. It’s perfect if all you have is a pair of light dumbbells at home.
In fact, powerlifter Ben Pollock even suggests integrating this method for muscle growth…
One of my favorite bodybuilding strategies involves ultra-high reps for growth: sets of 25, 50, or even 100. I love a challenge, and these ultra-high-rep sets require pushing yourself to the limit, even when using a really light weight. Actually, that light weight can be an advantage in itself: It’s a lot harder to accidentally injure yourself using 50 pounds compared to 500.‘How Ultra High Rep (25+) Sets Can Improve Your Strength and Size‘ Barbend.com, Ben Pollock, September, 14, 2018
We’re now going to take that a step further. There are 2 methods that I want you to use to get your total of 300 reps for this routine.
Method 1: Rest-Pause to 50 Total Reps
You’re going to use this method for your first exercise, dumbbell shoulder press.
- Set a goal for the number of reps you want to aim for, which in this case is 50 (you could do this for any goal, like 100!)
- Do as many as you can to get to that goal
- If you don’t make it, use the rest-pause method (rest 10-15 seconds) and pump out more
- If you still don’t make your target rep goal, do another rest-pause (if you have to do more than 2 rest-pause sets, drop down to lighter dumbbells)
Method 2: Superset Exercises to 30 Total Reps
For this method, you’ll be supersetting all 3 lateral movements: bent-over raises, front raises, and lateral raises (in that order). Of course, you can try this method with any group of exercises.
- Pick 3 exercises for that muscle, which in this case are the 3 lateral movements
- Set a goal for total reps; for this shoulder routine, it’s 30 reps
- Choose a modest target rep range for each exercise
- Superset those 3 exercises
- If the total number of reps is too easy, then you can increase the reps for each exercise or go with a little heavier weight
These methods will make all the difference in getting a good workout for shoulders with lighter dumbbells. And they will also keep you motivated throughout your set as opposed to just doing standard high-rep sets (that gets boring and you tend to lose focus).
It can be tempting to get stuck just going through motions when doing high-rep workouts. So don’t get sloppy on your reps.
Make sure you’re still focusing on making your muscles work harder by contracting them throughout each rep. Your goal is to build muscle, not just move the dumbbells from point A to B.
Focus, concentrate, and grow!
Ultra-High Reps Shoulder Workout
Now, let’s take a look at your actual shoulder workout with dumbbells. You’ll be using the 2 methods we just went over.
Here are some things to note before you get started:
- Make sure you have a dedicated (and motivating) space to do this workout at home
- Rest about 45 seconds between exercises
- Stretch your deltoids after your workout
- Stay focused and push yourself to crank out those ultra-high reps
|Exercise||Sets x Reps|
|Seated dumbbell press||4 x 50*|
|3 x 30**|
|Lateral Raises||1 x 10***|
*If you don’t get all 50 reps, do a rest-pause set as described above in ‘method 1’ (even if you get 50 on the first set, you probably won’t on the remaining 3).
**You’ll superset all 3 exercises, which means no rest between those exercises. Once you complete the 30 reps, you’ll rest 45 seconds before doing another
***This final 10 reps is to be performed as a rest-pause after you complete your final round of superset exercises. You’ll rest 10-15 seconds and pump out 10 more reps of lateral raises, which will give you a total of 300 reps for this shoulder workout.
300 Rep Shoulder Workout Video
Here’s the video version of the above shoulder workout you’ll be doing at home...
You get more methods using light dumbbells at home in my post: How to Build Muscle at Home with Light Dumbbells
Making Light Dumbbells Feel Heavy
Building muscle and getting a good workout isn’t about how much weight you’re lifting. Rather, it revolves around how hard your muscles are working.
Whether you’re lifting heavy or light, you can’t just do a few casual sets and expect muscle growth. It’s not going to happen.
I also want to reiterate that I’m not against lifting heavy. In fact, I’m an advocate for training heavy. But if you’re working out at home with limited weights and equipment, something is better than nothing.
And this is a great way to get more volume and get a good pump in your shoulders. You can also try these methods I showed you with other muscle groups.
Excuses Don’t Build Muscle,