Achieving broad and sculpted shoulders takes consistency, dedication and the right exercises to hit the upper body from all angles. And while many women desire those toned shoulders that perfectly complement spring and summer clothing, many have trouble getting there. But it IS possible! You see, it all comes down to this— even when training gets tough, you’ve got to SHOULDER ON!
To help us achieve this goal, IFBB Figure Pro Candice Keene is the perfect inspiration. Candice is a Figure International champion and a true training expert who knows exactly what it takes. Here she demonstrates an upper body-sculpting workout that includes some less-than-traditional exercises to help you change things up in order to see results. Not only will you rock your short sleeves when the warmer weather hits, but also having a set of beautiful, toned shoulders can make your waist appear smaller, giving your physique a more balanced shape.
So come on, ladies— it’s time to SHOULDER ON!
GET IT RIGHT
How to perform the exercises in this workout
DUMBBELL MILITARY PRESS
Begin seated on bench, and hold two dumbbells at your shoulders with your palms facing forward. Press the dumbbells above your head, and lower back to starting position.
Candice’s Tip: “Keep your core nice and tight to protect your spine and keep stable. Also, don’t bring the dumbbells together all the way at the top. By doing this, it creates more time under tension.”
PRONE INCLINE BENCH DUMBBELL RAISE
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie facedown on an incline bench. Slowly raise the dumbbells in front of you, and keep your elbows locked. Squeeze at the top and breathe out. Lower arms back down to your starting position and inhale.
Candice’s Tip: “Keep your neck in neutral position, looking down. Be sure to only bring your arms up at the point of alignment with the body. Going past that point, you will be at risk of injury or tweaking your shoulder. And again, core tight!”
PRONE INCLINE BENCH REAR LATERAL RAISE
After performing the dumbbell raise, raise your arms to the side until your elbows are shoulder height and palms are facing the floor. Keep your elbows slightly bent. Return to the starting position.
Candice’s Tip: “Keep the same body position as first exercise (tight core, neutral neck position). When you bring the dumbbells to side, lead with the elbows. REALLY focus on working the rear delts and not the mid-back.”
DUMBBELL UPRIGHT ROW
Hold dumbbells and stand with palms facing the front of the thighs. With a relaxing neck and traps, lift the dumbbells up to front of the shoulder, with elbows facing out.
Candice’s Tip: “When doing this move, lead with your elbows upright. Hold for two seconds and really feel the squeeze.”
REVERSE-GRIP BARBELL PRESS
Sit on a bench holding a barbell with a reverse grip. Press the barbell upward and feel the stretch in your shoulders, and lower back down.
Candice’s Tip: “Keep your arms locked in the 90-degree position with palms upward. Use your mind-muscle to focus on working the front delts when raising and not your biceps.”
STAGGERED STANCE CABLE LEANING LATERAL RAISE
Grasp the left cable with the left hand. Begin facing away from the cable machine, one foot in front of the other, slightly leaning forward. Slowly stretch the cables up, keeping elbows slightly bent, until your elbows are parallel to the floor and then slowly lower, all the while leaning forward slightly and making sure your stance stays staggered. Repeat with the other side.
Candice’s Tip: “When in the staggered position, bring core tightly in to stabilize pelvic and lumbar area to ensure a more controlled movement with the lateral raise. First lead with elbows, then follow with the cable pulley. It should be a slow and controlled movement, making sure no other muscles are assisting.”
CABLE ROPE HIGH PULLS
Attach rope on cable machine, set the cable to the highest position. Grasp rope, lean back slightly, and pull rope toward forehead. Repeat.
Candice’s Tip: “I like to grab the ends of the rope with back of hands facing me, thumb position down. Position the pulley slightly above head level. Have a staggered stance for leverage, while keeping core tight, just slightly leaning back. When returning rope to starting position, go nice and slow with a good retraction of shoulders forward.”
REAR DELT REVERSE CABLE FLYE
Face and stand directly in the center of the cable machine, between the two stacks of weight. Set the cable to the lowest position or with just a few plates, and attach a rubber-grip handle. Begin grasping the left high-pulley cable handle with your right hand, and the right high-pulley cable handle with your left hand. Hold hands in front of your chest, elbows bent slightly, and pull the cables back in an arc until your elbows are behind your back. Bring your shoulder blades together, return and repeat.
Candice’s Tip: “Position pulley at chest/shoulder level. You don’t need a lot of weight here— just a few plates. When executing, stand upright with core and pelvis tight. And pull the handle back, elbows leading and really focus on only that rear delt muscle!”
STEP-UPS WITH HANDS
Get in a plank position behind an aerobics step. Then, step your palms up to a plank with both hands on the step and back down.
Candice’s Tip: Along with shoulder action, this really tests your core strength. Remember— belly button to spine, and tight core and pelvis. Try to keep neck in alignment with body.”
FOREARMS TO HANDS ON BOSU
Start in a plank on forearms, then place one palm on Bosu to press up to a plank, using both hands, and then back down to forearms.
Candice’s Tip: “To ensure proper activation and results, first and foremost proper and perfect form and alignment is important! Remember, mind over matter with these challenging core/shoulder moves. You can do it!!”
KEYS TO BUILDING SHOULDERS
Candice shares her top tips.
• Slow and controlled movements (no momentum/assistance from the body).
• Focus on the whole shoulder anatomy. “Incorporate a variety of different delt raises, hitting different angles.”
• Warm up properly. “Warming up prior is very important. This prevents the risk of injury. When warming up, dynamic movement stretching, like the warm-up in this workout, is recommended. Static stretching is good during your workout in between sets.”
• Train heavy!
• Make sure you incorporate different variations of presses (i.e., Arnold press, dumbbell press, barbell press, etc.)
• Change up your shoulder routine often— keep those babies guessing!
• Incorporate supplements into your diet plan. Candice’s favorites include BCAAs, creatine, ALLMAX’s Carbion (fast-digesting carb powder for post-workout), beta-alanine and ALLMAX’s Isoflex (clean isolate protein powder).
KEEP UP WITH CANDICE
Contact Candice via Facebook (IFBBFigureCandiceKeene). You can also find Candice on Twitter (@candicekeene) and Instagram (@candicekeene and @poselikeafigurepro)
Candice can be contacted for appearances through www.fmg-fitnessmanagementgroup.com.