Summer time is officially in full swing and that can only mean one thing…everyone is wearing tank tops. How do you ensure that you are looking trim in your new tank top? With the right shoulder and arm workout of course. I understand that during summer especially, people have a lot to do and also find themselves traveling a lot. That’s why this workout can be done in 30 minutes (40 min with warm-up and cool down) and uses only dumbbells to ensure you will have access to this equipment at most gyms including many hotel gyms.

The shoulders and arms can be two of the most problematic areas for males and females. To train these areas sometimes we need to use different modalities. If you have been stuck in the usual 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps for most of your workouts this routine will be a breath of fresh air. What we are going to use is timed sets. So, instead of having a specific amount of reps you perform as many reps as possible, with proper technique, during the allotted time.

This method is effective because it takes advantage of what is called time under tension (TUT). There are many ways to effectively utilize TUT with the goal being to put your muscles under tension for a specific amount of time to create the training affect you are looking for. In this case we are looking to build some muscle to create that trim and sexy look in our Summer tank tops.


Today’s shoulder and arm workout will utilize five different exercises

Dumbbell Military Press

Stand with feet about shoulder width apart, knees soft, butt tight, core braced, and dumbbells positioned on your shoulders so that your wrists are directly over your elbows. Squeeze the dumbbells as hard as possible and then press them straight overhead. The dumbbells should not travel out in front of you or behind you and they should be brought towards each other so that when extended your arms are directly vertical. Once a rep is complete, return to the start position by lowering the dumbbells under control.

Lateral Delt Raise

Stand with the feet about shoulder width apart, knees soft, butt tight, core braced, and dumbbells held down in front of your waist with palms facing each other, and a slight bend in your elbows. Raise the dumbbells out to the side away from each other until your hands are parallel to your shoulders (and no higher) with palms facing down. Return to the start position under control.

Dumbbell Shrugs

Utilize the base stance that was used for the military press and lateral delt raise. Hold two dumbbells down at your side with a neutral grip. Shrug your shoulders straight up towards your ears without rolling them in either direction. Make sure you do not tuck your chin as you shrug. Also do not jerk the weight uncontrollably, or bend your elbows at all while you shrug.

Neutral Grip Dumbbell Bench

Lie on your back on a bench with two dumbbells held directly over your shoulders and palms facing each other. Keep the feet on the ground, lower back flat, shoulder blades pulled down and back, and head resting on the bench. Initiate the movement by bending the elbows and lowering the bumbbells down closer to your torso while keeping your wrists aligned over your elbows. Once you reach this bottom position forcefully press the dumbbells back to the beginning position. Do not turn the hands away from the neutral position at any time during the movement.

Hammer Curls

Once again begin in the base stance we used for the shrugs, including the two dumbbells down by your side. Holding the dumbbells with a hammer grip, bend at the elbow and raise the dumbbells to your shoulders. Do not allow the elbows to travel forwards as this will incorporate too much shoulder activation. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position under control.

The Plan

Exercise Sets/Reps Rest
Dumbbell military press 4×30 sec 60-90 sec
Lateral delt raises 4×30 sec 60-90 sec
DB shrugs 2×45 sec 90 sec
Neutral grip dumbbell bench 4×40 sec 60-90 sec
Hammer curl 4×40 sec 60- 90 sec

To progress this plan beyond a couple weeks you can increase the weight used, increase the time per set by 5-10 seconds, or decrease the rest periods by 20-30 seconds.

There you have it, a short, portable, and effective shoulder and arm routine sure to give you that appearance in a tank your friends will be jealous of. For maximum results, use this program alongside an individualized diet plan and you will be more than pleased with your results.

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


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Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans