Photos by Paul Buceta
If there’s anything as impressive as Amy Jo’s abs, it’s her powerful, to-die-for delts. That’s why we asked our cover athlete and owner of her own transformation-focused fitness studio to show us exactly how she builds her shapely shoulders, and lucky us, she obliged! This routine hits every inch of the deltoids, building strength and definition, while also bringing your chest muscles into the mix. “It’s my favorite body part to train,” she says. “It’s the start of the physique, and almost always visible.”
A word of caution, this routine is not for the faint of heart—or shoulders. If you have any past or pre-existing shoulder injuries, it’s best to stick to very light weights with these exercises (save the heavy lifting for leg day), and just focus on muscle tone and endurance. And as always, feel free to modify as needed.
4 sets of 30 seconds
Stand tall holding a weight plate out in front of you with arms straight and abs tight. Without dropping your arms, turn the plate to the right, then to the left, and so on (as if you were turning a wheel). Repeat for 30 seconds. If your shoulders burn out, grab a lighter plate to finish the set.
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Upright Row with Press
4 sets of 12 reps
Stand tall holding a weight plate down in front of your legs with arms fully extended (A). Bend your elbows and pull the plate up under your chin (B), then extend your arms and press it straight out in front of you (C). Lower back down and repeat.
Incline Bench Plate Press
3 sets of 10-12 reps
Lie on an incline bench, holding a weight plate between your palms with fingers spread wide. Begin with it in front of your chest with elbows bent (A). Extend your arms and push the plate towards the ceiling. Press your palms against the plate to activate chest muscles (B). Lower back down and repeat.
Dumbbell Lateral Overhead Raise
4 sets of 10 reps
Stand tall holding a dumbbell in each hand down in front of your legs with arms fully extended, palms facing you (A). Keeping your arms straight, slowly raise the weights out to the sides (B). Continue raising them all the way up until they are extended overhead (C). Slowly lower back down and repeat.
Incline Bench Dumbbell Front Raise
3 sets of 10-12 reps
Holding a light dumbbell in each hand, get into a reverse position on an incline bench with your chest against the back and feet flat on the floor. Begin with arms extended downwards, with your palms facing the ceiling (A). Keeping your arms straight, slowly raise the weights towards the ceiling until they touch at the top of the movement (B). Slowly lower back down and repeat.
Advanced Bonus Burnout!
Single set to failure
Place two steps side by side on the floor about two feet apart. Get into high plank position with one hand on each step and feet on the floor (A). Keeping your torso tight, slowly lower into a push-up so your chest drops between the steps (B). Press back up and repeat with good form until failure.