This Shoulder And Triceps Exercise Will Critically Smoke The Again Of Your Arms


Your shoulders and triceps aren’t your biggest muscles. But they play a key role in upper body strength, which is why we have a shoulder and triceps workout that will smoke those small but powerful muscles, in just four movements.

« It’s really important to have strong shoulders because they help us with much wider movements, » ACSM Certified Personal Trainer Asher freeman, creator of the Non-normative body club in Philadelphia, says SELF.

Your shoulders, which include your front, side, and rear deltoids, are called pushing muscles, and your triceps (the muscles at the back of your arms) help them do these movements. So that means that every time you perform pushing movements, like push-ups and presses, the muscles in the front of your shoulders (as well as your triceps) kick in to complete the movement, Freeman explains. But your shoulders, especially your rear deltoids, are also involved in pulling movements like rows. Additionally, your rear deltoids also help stabilize your shoulders during pushing movements.

All of this means that by strengthening your shoulders and triceps, you improve your strength when performing various upper body movements, both in the gym (think: crush that bench press) and in everyday life. days (imagine: efficiently pushing a heavy cart of groceries).

Now, a good shoulder and tricep workout affects all three parts of your shoulder, which is especially important when you factor in everyday life. Many of our daily activities, like driving a car or working at a computer, can cause us to move our shoulders forward, shortening the front deltoids while lengthening the rear deltoids, says Freeman. “The lengthening of these muscles sometimes means their weakening,” adds Freeman. This is why it is especially important to target the rear deltoids during strength training in order to remedy this common imbalance.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to make sure that your upper body workout (and really, all type of workout) incorporates all the planes of motion through which a joint can move so that you don’t create an imbalance or increase the imbalances you already have. Many of us tend to work primarily in the sagittal plane, which involves forward and backward movement. But this shoulder and triceps workout, which Freeman created for SELF, also adds movement in the other planes of motion, through his lateral movements and rotation exercises. Working your shoulders in all of these different directions ensures you hit all muscles that support the joint, resulting in balanced and complete strength training.

Quick caveat: If you do strength training once or twice a week, this workout probably isn’t the best choice for a self-reliant routine. Instead, you may want to prioritize movements that incorporate large muscle groups like the chest and back, says Freeman. These exercises also affect your triceps and shoulders, so they’re great value for money. (Here’s a solid circuit workout that will help you build balanced upper body strength.) But if you already do two or more weight training days a week and want to add some extra accessory work, this shoulder and shoulder routine triceps could be a good addition to a heavier upper body strength day, says Freeman. Just be sure to stick at least 48 hours between upper body strength workouts so that your muscles have enough time to recover.

Whenever you do this routine, first make sure you warm up for at least 5 minutes so you don’t jump in with cold muscles. Here is an awesome upper body warm-up that you can try.

Do you feel ready to seriously work your shoulders and triceps? Keep scrolling for a four-move shoulder and tricep workout that will give those little upper body muscles the love they deserve.


What do you need: Light to medium dumbbells that will allow you to perform about 8 to 12 reps of each movement in good form. If you can do more than 12 reps, increase the weight or slow down the tempo of the exercise. Conversely, if 12 repetitions seem too difficult, reduce the weight.

The right amount of weight for you depends on your current strength and fitness. Typically, beginners can start with 5 to 10 pound dumbbells, says Freeman. If possible, have two sets of dumbbells of varying weight on hand; you might want to use a heavier option for the halo exercise, says Freeman.


Superset 1

  • Arnold Press
  • Reverse fly

Superset 2

  • Halo
  • Curved triceps retreat


  • For Superset 1, do 8 to 12 reps of each movement without resting between movements. Rest 1 to 2 minutes after completing both movements. Complete 2-3 rounds in total.
  • For Superset 2, do 8 to 12 reps of each movement without resting between movements. Rest 1 to 2 minutes after completing both movements. Complete 2-3 rounds in total.

Demonstration of the movements below are Nathalie Huerta (GIF 1), trainer at Queer Gym in Oakland; Erica Gibbons (GIF 2), a California-based personal trainer and graduate student licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist; Morit Summers (GIF 3), a Brooklyn-based trainer and owner of a body-positive gym, Brooklyn Fitness; and Cookie Janee (GIF 4), a background investigator and specialist in security forces in the Air Force Reserve.

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