Posted on February 13, 2019 by Jenny Cromack

When looking to build a strong looking physique, the key areas are a big back and boulder shoulders. Building these two muscle groups will help create a V taper in your upper body and create the illusion of a bigger, more muscular body. Placing more emphasis on back training rather than “mirror” muscles such as the chest can also help with injury minimisation as it pulls the shoulders back into a more stable, secure position.

Back and Shoulders Training

Whilst all muscles in the back do contribute to most back-focused exercises, there are two main movements which target certain areas more specifically. Vertical pulling movements place more emphasis on the latissimus dorsi which creates more width to the back. Horizontal pulling movements target more of the upper back to create more thickness, especially in the trapezius and rhomboids.

The shoulders are comprised mainly of the deltoids which have three heads that each contribute to a different plane of motion. The anterior, or front, head mainly works to raise the arms out in front of the body. The medial, or middle, head works to raise the arms out to the side of the body. Lastly the posterior, or rear, deltoid contributes to raising the arm behind the body such as a rowing or reverse fly motion.

The Workout

A1) Pull ups 3 x 6-8

A2) Barbell overhead press 3 x 6-8

B1) Incline dumbbell rows 3 x 10

B2) Dumbbell arnold press 3 x 10

C1) Upright row 3 x 12

C2) Cable face pulls 3 x 12

D1) Dumbbell shrugs 3 x 10

D2) Dumbbell side raises 3 x 10


Supersetting back and shoulders ramps up the overall intensity of the workout, burns some extra calories and also shortens your workout time so you won’t be living in the gym.

If this gets you hankering for more, here’s another great back workout and another great shoulders workout.

Happy lifting,