Short Circuits Part. 1: Shoulders

article 2008 short circuits shoulders Short Circuits Part. 1: Shoulders
Do you want to maximize your size and definition, but don’t have the luxury to spend hours training? Use any of these three powerful 20-minute circuit-training workouts when time is of the essence.

Oftentimes, the hours in our lives just don’t add up the way we’d like. Figure an hour to get ready in the morning, about 10 at work, a 60-minute commute each way, an hour for dinner, two to watch the game, three hours of quality time with the family at night … add seven hours of shut-eye, and you’re at about … well, 26 hours to pack into a 24-hour day. And you didn’t even figure in a workout yet!

You may think you have to compromise your muscle-building results when you only have an extremely limited amount of time to train every day. But the good news is, you don’t — and we’ve designed the routines to prove it, starting with shoulders in this first of a series of exclusive ProSource articles.

The first two workouts below are built for either home or gym use, while the third incorporates a selection of high-tech equipment at your disposal at a typical health club. To complete the routines in 20 minutes, employ a two-seconds-up/one-second-squeeze-at-the-top/three-seconds-down cadence for every rep, and rest no more than 30 seconds between circuits. Within circuits, the only break between each exercise is the time it takes to switch positions and/or weights for the next movement.

With these plans in hand, you can squeeze your lifting into almost any schedule — no matter how crazy it may be.

Workout Circuit #1: Dumbbells

Exercise Reps
Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise 15, 12, 10
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 15, 12, 10
Dumbbell Front Raise 15, 12, 10
Standing Dumbbell Press 12, 10, 8
Dumbbell Upright Row 12, 10, 8

Instructions: Repeat the circuit three times through. The math: 171 total reps at 6 seconds per rep = 1,026 seconds, or about 17 minutes; plus 30 seconds rest between the first and second circuit and second and third circuit, totals 18 minutes, leaving 2 minutes for switching from exercise to exercise within the circuits.

Note: If you’re at home, switching out dumbbells may take a little longer if you have the collared adjustable versions where you have to switch plates on and off, but on the first three exercises at least, you likely can use the same weight and still be adequately challenged. If you have two sets of adjustable dumbbells, you can set one pair up for the first three exercises, and another for the latter two.

Workout #2: Dumbbells and Barbells

Exercise Reps
Seated Dumbbell Press 15, 12, 10, 8
Standing Barbell Press 10, 10, 8, 8
Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise 12, 12, 10, 8
Seated Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise 12, 12, 10, 8

Instructions: Repeat the circuit three times through. For your first set of seated dumbbell presses, use a very light weight for a warm up.

The math: 165 total reps at 6 seconds per rep = 990 seconds, or 16 and a half minutes; plus 30 seconds rest between the first and second, second and third and third and fourth circuits, totals about 18 minutes, leaving 2 minutes for switching from exercise to exercise within the circuits.

Note: In a gym, use a power rack for the standing barbell press, so you can take it off the racks and be in position to press. At home, you’ll need to add a power move off of the floor, bending your knees and lifting the bar to your hips deadlift style, then cleaning it to your shoulders to get into position to do your pressing repetitions.

Workout #3: Machines

Exercise Reps
Seated Machine Lateral Raises 15, 12, 10, 8
Seated Machine Press 10, 10, 8, 8
Reverse-Pec Deck Flye 12, 12, 10, 8
Reverse Cable Crossover
Repeat the circuit three times through.
12, 12, 10, 8

The math: 165 total reps at 6 seconds per rep = 990 seconds, or 16 and a half minutes; plus 30 seconds rest between the first and second, second and third and third and fourth circuits, totals about 18 minutes, leaving 2 minutes for switching from exercise to exercise within the circuits.

Special Instructions: Because you’re using machines and can switch weight effortlessly from set to set, take advantage by pushing yourself — select challenging weights, and if you fail mid-set, simply drop the weight by 10% or so and complete the prescribed reps. Choosing heavy enough weights to start each set that you need to drop mid-set will add an extra dimension of intensity to your session.