The 30-Minute Shoulder-Sculpting Workout

The shoulders can be a challenge to train in a hurry. 

It’s a relatively smaller muscle group on average, sure, but it also involves three distinct “heads” — the anterior (front) head of the deltoid, the middle head and the posterior (rear) head. That means you can’t just do some presses and lateral raises and think you’ve accomplished your goals. Instead, you need moves that target each unique area but without the redundancy that can bog down a typical routine.

To accomplish that feat, we tabbed expert trainer Rachel Hall, who called on her experience as the fitness director of Body FX and her certification in Pilates mat and reformer training to sculpt and define the deltoids from front to back in 30 minutes flat.

“This workout uses an approach called ‘complex training’ and supersets to deliver effective results in a more time-efficient method,” she explains. “This type of resistance training is excellent for enhancing both strength and power, while the supersets improve muscular endurance and hypertrophy, essentially creating greater gains in a shorter period of time.”

For those unfamiliar, complex training pairs heavy resistance moves with power exercises, which prompts improvements in force and velocity. “The idea is that the heavy loads stimulate the nervous system, from which there is an increase in muscular force produced for the follow-up power exercise,” Hall says.

The workout also keeps equipment to a minimum — just dumbbells and bands (Hall suggests super bands from Body FX) — which also helps cut down on the time you need to get from start to finish.

The Sculpted Shoulders in 30 Workout

You’ll complete each exercise listed below as supersets, aiming for minimal to no rest in between. Only take enough time to physically switch from one exercise to the other within the superset, about 30 seconds max in between supersets, and up to 60 seconds between each of the five pairings that make up the session.

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