I recently got a request for a workout that targets the chest and shoulders from a reader named Cinda.
Thanks to everyone who leaves comments on my posts and lets me know they do the workouts – I love sharing fitness with you and I really appreciate you taking the time to read my blog, ask me questions and let me know what you want to see!
In response to Cinda (and anyone who was hoping I’d do one of these), I put together a few sequences for the chest, shoulders and delts that you can do as a complete set or break off and incorporate into other workouts.
This sequence will also work your core and triceps, and I recommend combining it with the back strengthening circuit for a great upper body workout.
All you’ll need for today’s workout is a towel, a mat (optional) and a chair, step or stool.
Be sure to let me know if you have any questions or requests today, or just check in and let me know you tried this series!
Chest and Shoulders Workout (no equipment needed)
Chest and Shoulders: Form Tips and Mods
- 30-45 seconds: Speed Bags
- 10 small arm circles to the front
- 10 small arm circles reverse
- 10 big arm circles
Series 1: CHEST
8-10 Regular Push-Ups: Target your entire chest and warm it up.
- Come into high plank, belly button hugging up to your spine, shoulders stacked above wrists, neck and head in neutral and nice straight legs.
- Press yourself up and down.
- Drop to your knees anytime you need to, but maintain that good form.
8-10 Diamond Push-Ups: Targets your inner chest and triceps.
- Using the same good plank form as before, bring your thumbs and index fingers to touch, forming a diamond shape.
- Lower and lift your chest, going down only as far as you can while maintaining an engaged core and good alignment.
- Drop to your knees at any time.
8-10 Wide Push-Ups: Targets your outer chest.
- Hold a strong plank but bring your hands out wider than your shoulders. You may find this quite a bit easier to do than the last push up variation, and sometimes even easier than a regular push up.
- Because your hands are out wide, they won’t be under your shoulders. Focus on keeping them parallel with each other, and in line with your shoulders horizontally.
- Hold a strong plank as you raise and lower yourself, dropping to your knees at any time.
8-10 Decline Push-Ups: Targets the Upper Chest.
- Put your feet on an elevated surface and feel free to begin with a bottom step on a set of stairs, a low stool or low box or anything that you feel comfortable with. The trick here is to not let your back arch. Your body will naturally want to bend but you must keep it straight.
- As you lower and raise yourself up, be sure your wrists are in line below the shoulders. Keep a slight engagement between the shoulder blades, helping to stabilize the trunk and keep your head and neck in neutral.
- Modify this by lowering the height of your box or step. If it’s too challenging to maintain form, you can either work on holding plank with your feet elevated, or work on your regular push ups.
8-10 Incline Push-Ups: Targets the Lower Chest
- Place your hands on an elevated surface, bringing your body into a straight line. Push up and down from this position.
- Continue to maintain a strong plank position throughout the movement.
- Do this against a wall if you’re working up to it. The farther your feet move away from the wall, the more challenging this will be.
Series 2: DELTS
10 Slow, 8 Fast: Underhand Towel Raises – targets the front and rear delts
- Hold a towel with an underhand grip, hands shoulder width distance apart.
- Apply tension to the towel as if you were trying to pull it apart.
- Keeping your arms straight, slowly raise and lower your towel to chest height. When you get to 10, go for 8 fast reps.
- The less tension you apply to the towel, the less challenging this will be. You can also do this with no towel, simply raise and lower your arms with your palms turned up.
10 Slow, 8 Fast: Overhand Towel Raises – Targets the front Delts
- Flip your hands and hold the towel with an overhand grip. Using the same form as you did with the underhand towel raises, apply tension to the towel, as if you were trying to pull it apart. Raise and lower.
- Do this without the towel or apply less pressure to pulling it apart to make this less difficult as you’re building up strength. Don’t worry if these are hard, these muscles don’t always get worked or targeted enough.
10 Rotating Elbow Planks – Targets the Mid Delts
- Begin in elbow plank. Your body is in a strong, straight line just like it is in high plank. Your core is engaged.
- Rotate to the left onto your left elbow. Your feet can remain stacked or staggered for stability. Don’t let your hips sag toward the ground, keep them lifting.
- Drop down to one knee as you come into side plank, and onto both knees in forward plank as shown to take some of the pressure off your shoulders as you’re developing your strength.
Series 3: UPPER SHOULDERS
8-10 Pike Push-Ups – Targets the upper and mid Traps and Deltoids
- Come into a downward facing dog. The farther your feet are from your hands the easier this move will become. The idea is to get your weight over your shoulders.
- Press up and down in this position, being mindful of your back not arching excessively.
- To make this more challenging, add 5 more pike push ups with each of your legs lifted.
- Walk your feet back until you can do several of these pushups. Each time, aim to come a little closer to your hands.
30-45 seconds: Reverse Plank Hold
- Sit down, and lift your chest. Dig your heels into the ground and place your palms beside you, beneath your shoulders. Lift yourself into a reverse plank, keeping your hips and chest lifting.
- Try to avoid looking down or up, let your head find a comfortable neutral.
- If this is a bit tricky, walk your feet in to a reverse tabletop position and continue to hold yourself up.
Stretch Your Chest
For a brief tutorial on how to do this properly, CLICK HERE (opens in a new tab).
I recommend pairing this great sequence with the Back Strengthening workout or incorporating these moves into your warmup before lifting on chest or shoulder day.
Let me know if you have any questions, and what you’d like to see next – and remember that building a strong, balanced and fit body is about more than exercise! Dial in your eating with whole foods that burn fat naturally and keep your metabolism fired up – use my 6-week Eating System for great nutrient balancing information and how to apply it!