Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

P90X Shoulders and Arms

Equipment Needed: 

  1. Weights or Resistance Bands
  2. Bench or Chair
  3. Wall

Duration: 59:53

List of Exercises (worksheets can be printed here

  1.  Alternating Shoulder Press
     
    Preparation:
      Stand upright, feet shoulder width apart, slight bend to your knees, core engaged. Position dumbbells on each side of shoulders with elbows below wrists.
     
     Execution:  Push dumbbells upwards until arms are extended overhead. Return to sides of shoulders and repeat.
     
     Comment : To maximize this exercise, ensure that the weights return to the sides of your shoulders after each repetition. Your elbow angle should be less than 90 degrees. Both the concentric and eccentric actions should be done in control.
     
     Primary Muscles:  Deltoid - Clavicular Part.
     
     Secondary Muscles: Deltoid - Acromial PartTrapezius - Transverse and Ascending PartsTriceps Brachii - Lateral, Longus, and Medius.
     
  2. In & Out Bicep Curls
     

    Preparation: Stand upright, feet shoulder width apart, slight bend at the knees. Hold dumbbells in hands, palms facing forward.
     
    Execution: 
    Keep your upper arms perpendicular to the floor as you bend at the elbows, curling your hands, holding the dumbbells, up to your shoulders. This "in" curl has your arms running parallel to each other in the sagittal plane. Slowly return your hands to the starting position. When your hands reach the starting position, turn your palms outward so that they are facing approximately 30-45 degrees from the midpoint of your body. Now, curl your arms up, keeping upper arms stationary. This is the "out" curl. Both arms curl at the same time, alternating between the "in" and "out" curls.
     
    Comment: 
    Keep a nice, slow pace and ensure your upper arms are always perpendicular to the floor. You do not want your upper arms moving. In order to target the biceps directly, you should be hinging at the elbow joint only.
      
    Primary Muscles: 
    Biceps Brachii.
     
    Secondary Muscles: 
    BrachialisBrachioradialis.
     
  3. Two-Arm Triceps Kickback 
     
    Preparation: Stand with feet staggered, in a high lunged position. Lean over your front bent knee, back flat. Dumbbells in hands, palms facing each other/towards body, dumbbells perpendicular to the floor. Elbows bent with hands close to shoulders.
     
    Execution: Keeping elbows at sides and upper arms parallel to the ground, push hands back and up, pinky side of your hands going towards the ceiling until the elbow is straight. Return hands to starting position under control.
     
    Comment: Since we are working the backs of your upper arms, hinge at your elbows only and do not allow too much movement from the shoulders.
     
    Primary Muscles: Triceps Brachii - Lateral, Longus, Medius.
     
  4. Deep Swimmer's Presses
     
    Preparation:  Stand upright, feet shoulder width apart, slight bend to your knees, core engaged. Begin with arms bent at 90 degrees, forearms parallel to the floor, pointing straight out in front of you holding dumbbells.  
     

    Execution:  Simultaneously raise the dumbbells, as you rotate the palms of your hand until they face forwards. Complete exercise by lifting the dumbbells until your arms are fully extended. Return to starting position. 
     

    Comment: You must really focus on the pacing of the eccentric action here, as lowering the weights too fast can cause your arms to drop past 90 degrees or your back to bend forward. You must keep a tight core throughout to maintain a straight body. Only your arms should be moving.
     
     Primary Muscles:   Deltoid - Clavicular Part.
     
     
    Secondary Muscles: Triceps Brachii - Lateral and Longus.
     
  5. Full Supination Concentration Curls
     
     
    Preparation: Stand upright, feet shoulder width apart, slight bend at the knees, core engaged. Hold dumbbells at your sides, palms facing behind you. Arms straight.
     
     Execution: With elbows at your sides and upper arms not deviating from being perpendicular to the ground, raise one dumbbell and rotate forearm until forearm is vertical and your palm is facing the shoulder. Lower to its original position and repeat with opposite arm. Continue to alternate between arms.
     
     Comment: When elbow is fully flexed, it can travel forward slightly, allowing forearms to be no more than vertical. This additional movement allows for relative release of tension in muscles between repetitions.
     
     Primary Muscles: Biceps Brachii.
     
    Secondary Muscles: 
    BrachialisBrachioradialis.
  6. Chair Dips 
     
    Preparation: Sit sideways on bench. Place hands on edge of bench. Use arms to support weight and ease body forward to place feet on floor directly in front with knees bent.
     
    Execution: Using arms, lower body until elbows reach 90 degree bend. Press into the bench to push body back to starting position.
     
    Comment: Make sure your torso is as close to the bench without rubbing up against it. Your torso should travel straight up and down, perpendicular to the floor. Try and keep your upper arms parallel to each other so that your elbows do not flare out to the sides too far. To intensify, try placing your feet in different positions whether they are further away from you (straight legs) or on another chair/bench at varying heights.
     
    Primary Muscles: Triceps Brachii - Lateral, Longus, Medius.
     
     Secondary Muscles: Deltoid - Clavicular Part, Levator Scapulae, Latissimus Dorsi, Pectoralis Minor.
     
  7. Upright Rows
     
     Preparation: 
    Stand upright, feet shoulder width apart, slight bend at the knees, core engaged. Grab dumbbells with overhand grip. Stand with held in front of thighs.
     
     Execution: Pull dumbbells to front of shoulders with elbows leading out to the side. Allow wrists to flex as dumbbells rise upwards. Lower and repeat.
     
     Comment : To protect the shoulders from impingement here, ensure that, as the dumbbells are pulled up towards the chin, the height of your elbows should be higher than your wrists.
     
      Primary Muscles: Deltoid - Acromial Part.
     
     Secondary Muscles:  Deltoid - Clavicular PartBrachialisBrachioradialisBiceps BrachiiTrapezius - Transverse and Ascending Part, Serratus Anterior, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Supraspinatus.
     
  8. Static Arm Curls
     
    Preparation: 
    Stand upright, feet shoulder width apart, slight bend at the knees, core engaged. Hold dumbbells in hand, palms facing forward. Bring one arm to a 90 degree elbow bend, so that the upper arm is perpendicular to the floor and the forearm is parallel to the floor. Hold this static position.
     
     Execution: As one arm remains bent at 90 degrees, in a static position, the opposite arm completes 4 consecutive curls at a controlled speed. On the 4th curl, the "moving" arm then stops at a 90 degree static elbow bend during the eccentric action. The arm that was initially being held at 90 degrees, then slowly drops to your side and completes 4 consecutive curls. You will complete 16 total curls (8 each arm) while one arm is static at a 90 degree elbow bend and the other arm is completing curls (4x4 rep sets).
     
     Comment: You must really fight and focus on keeping your one arm stationary so that the forearm does not drop below being parallel to the floor.
     
     Primary Muscles: Biceps Brachii.
     
    Secondary Muscles: 
    BrachialisBrachioradialis.
     
  9. Flip Grip Twist, Triceps Kickbacks 
     
    Preparation: Stand with feet staggered, in a high lunged position. Lean over your front bent knee, back flat. Dumbbells in hands, palms facing down, dumbbells parallel to the floor. Elbows bent with hands close to shoulders.
     
    Execution: Keeping elbows at sides and upper arms parallel to the ground, push hands back and up, palms of your hands going towards the ceiling until the elbow is straight. Return hands to starting position under control. Once you are back at the starting position, twist your hands so that at the starting position, your palms are up, backs of hands are facing the floor. Push hands back and up, backs of your hands going towards the ceiling until the elbow is straight. Return hands to starting position under control. Alternate between these two hand positions.
     
    Comment: Since we are working the backs of your upper arms, hinge at your elbows only and do not allow too much movement from the shoulders. You may need to use lighter weight here compared to the 2-arm triceps kickbacks because when your are kicking your arms back with palms to the ceiling, less strength is produced from the arms.
     
    Primary Muscles: Triceps Brachii - Lateral, Longus, and Medius.

    Secondary Muscles: Extensor Carpi UlnarisExtensor Digitorum
     
  10. Seated 2-Angle Shoulder Flys

    Preparation: 
    Sit on chair or bench. Grab dumbbells with palms facing each other, thumbs up. Elbows are at 90 degree angle.

    Execution:  Raise arms to sides until arms are parallel to the floor, maintaining a 90 degree bend in the elbows. Return arms to starting position and lean forward until ribcage comes in contact with thighs, maintaining a flat back. Repeat same action as before, raising arms until they are parallel to the floor, also keeping the 90 degree angle at the elbow. Alternate between raises while sitting completely upright with torso leaned forward approximately 30-45 degrees.

    Comment:  Both the concentric and eccentric actions should be slow and in control. You do not want to 'throw' the weights upwards, but instead, raise them.

    Primary Muscles: Deltoid - Acromial and Posterior Part.

    Secondary Muscles:  Deltoid - Clavicular PartTrapezius - Transverse and Ascending PartSerratus AnteriorSupraspinatus.
     
  11. Crouching Cohen Curls
     

    Preparation: From a standing position, slightly bend knees and come into a crouched or squat position. Keep a flat back as you line your elbows up with the inside "notch" of your knees. You may use a wall to push your butt against if needed. Hold dumbbells in your hands, palms facing forward.
     
    Execution: Raise dumbbells up towards your shoulders, using your biceps, keeping upper arm stationary and your elbows pressed into your knees. Return to starting position.
     
    Comment: The idea behind this "preacher curl"-type exercise is to maintain a stationary upper arm. By placing your elbows in/on your knees, you are removing the opportunity for your upper arms to "cheat" and help you curl the weight.
     
    Primary Muscles: Biceps Brachii.
     
    Secondary Muscles: 
    BrachialisBrachioradialis.
     
  12. Lying Down Triceps Extensions 
     
    Preparation: With your feet flat on the floor, lay on your back either on the floor or on a sturdy bench. Dumbbells are in both hands, palms facing each other, dumbbells perpendicular to the floor. Keep your upper arms fixed and allow your lower arms to hinge at the elbow.
     
    Execution: As you keep your upper arms in place, lower the dumbbell beside your head (in line with your ears, or slightly above them) by flexing at the elbow. Return to starting position by extending your arms.
     
    Comment: Do not struggle for extra reps here since you have weight above your face.
     
    Primary Muscles: Triceps Brachii - Lateral and Longus.
     
    Secondary Muscles: Brachioradialis, Extensor Carpi Ulnaris, Extensor Digitorum.
     
  13. In & Out Straight Arm Shoulder Flys 
     
    Preparation:  Grab dumbbells with overhand grip. Position dumbbells in front of upper legs with elbows straight or slightly bent.
     
    Execution: Raise both arms forward and upward directly in front of you until arm is parallel to the ground. Lower the weights back to starting position. Now raise arms directly out to the side, maintaining straight arms, raising until arms are parallel to the ground. Return to starting position and prepare to raise to the front again.
     
    Comment: Any straight-arm variety of a shoulder fly should be completed with very light resistance. Again, maintain a good, slow, controlled movement throughout both the concentric and eccentric actions. Do not throw the weight up, simply lift, or raise it.
     
    Primary Muscles:  Deltoid - Clavicular (front) and Acromial (lateral) Part.
     
    Secondary Muscles: Deltoid - Acromial (front) and Clavicular (lateral) PartTrapezius - Transverse and Ascending PartSerratus AnteriorSupraspinatus.
     
  14. Congdon Curls

    Preparation: Stand upright, feet shoulder width apart, slight bend at the knees, core engaged. Dumbbells in hands, palms forward.

    Execution: Maintain a stationary upper arm as you hinge at the elbow, curling your hands up to your shoulders. Once your hands are facing your shoulders, keep your arms bent as you then twist your hands so that your palms are facing each other. Then, complete the eccentric part of the curl, palms facing each other, lowering the weights to your side. Once back at the starting position, turn your palms face up again, and repeat.

    Comment: Make sure to keep a nice, controlled movement throughout, including the time it takes you to rotate your hands.

    Primary Muscles: Biceps Brachii.
     
    Secondary Muscles: 
    BrachialisBrachioradialis
     
  15. Side Tri-Rises

    Preparation: Lay Down on your right side. Body Extended fully. You may bend your knees slightly if more comfortable. Place and hold your right hand on the back of your left shoulder. Place your left hand on the floor by your right pectoral/armpit area.

    Execution: Use your left arm to push your body off the floor, getting your left arm as close to fully extended as possible. Lower your body back to the floor in a controlled manner. Once one side is completed, repeat on the other side.

    Comment: Keep your working elbow as close to your torso as possible. Do not let it flare too far from your body.

    Primary Muscles: Triceps Brachii - Lateral, Longus, and Medius.

    Shoulders and Arms is unlike Chest and Back in that it is not really about max repetitions. You should be aiming for a specific repetition range based on your goals. Use my Complete Guide to Sets and Reps to help you determine what is right for you!