This Program aims to develop the shoulders & arms from every angle. There are a number of training devices that can be used to assist in training the shoulders & arms (and a number of devices that should be avoided too). The equipment that is used in this program is commonly found in most gym facilities & commercial health clubs and includes Dumbbells, Barbells and high-to-low Cable apparatus. If the piece of equipment required is not available to you, you will need to substitute for a similar piece of equipment or exercise where necessary. I have provided a PDF link below for ease of reading and/or printing needs. The PDF also includes clickable thumb nail pictures for each exercise that direct link to exercise video demos.

pdf iconPhase 1 – Shoulders & Arms Program

Definitions & Abbreviations

Reps = the number of repetitions/repeats of a given exercise

Sets = a cluster of reps performed in sequence without rest

es = each side – exercises with this abbreviation require both sides of the body to be worked (e.g. Alternating Incline Dumbbell Curls in phase 1).


Program Walkthrough

We will use Session 1 of Phase 1 of the Shoulders & Arms Program as an example:

Perform exercise A:1 (Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press – unsupported) for 8 reps. Rest 10 seconds.

Perform exercise A:2 (Bent-over Dumbbell Reverse Flies) for 12 reps. Rest 10 seconds

Perform exercise A:3 (Bent-arm Dumbbell Lateral Raises) for 12 reps. Rest 10 seconds (or 60 secs if no A:4 exercise is performed)

*Optional – Perform exercise A:4 (Barbell Front Raises) for 12 reps. Rest 60 seconds.

Repeat the circuit A:1 to A:4 an additional 2 times for a total of 3 sets of each exercise. Once all 3 sets have been completed for the ‘A’ exercises, move onto the ‘B’ exercises and proceed in a similar sequence.

In order to select the correct load for each exercise in the program, let the reps dictate the weight used for each exercise – i.e. if the exercise has 12 reps prescribed for the session, choose a weight that you will get close to 12 reps with on each set. If you can only complete 9 reps and 12 reps are prescribed, the weight is too heavy. If you can complete 15 reps and 12 reps are prescribed, the weight is too light. You may fall within 1-2 reps on your target rep prescription on your last set of a given exercise – this is fine. Aim to get as many reps as you can for a given weight on a given exercise whilst using full range of motion and without any exercise technique breakdown. The aim is to increase your total workload for a given exercise each session. Even if this is only equates to 1-2 reps more for an exercise each session, this will add up to significant gains over time. If you do not reach (or even exceed) a target rep prescription, make sure you write this on your program sheet and aim to beat this total number of reps for the given exercise in the subsequent session. A practical example of this is provided below:


Shoulder & Arms Program - example2.jpeg

After the first workout you should get the feel for which loads are best to go forward with for each exercise in the remaining sessions.


Here are the exercise technique guidelines and tips:

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press – UnsupportedSit as tall as possible with dumbbells above the shoulders and in alignment with the ears. Whilst keeping elbows under wrists, drive the weight vertically overhead until the elbows are fully extended. Under control, lower the weights down to the starting position to complete the movement.
Bent-Over Dumbbell Reverse FliesWith slightly bent elbows, arc the arms towards the ceiling until they’re just passed a parallel position to floor. Lower the dumbbells back to starting position. The torso should remain fixed & horizontal the whole time while the thumb & pinkie remain horizontal throughout the entire lift.
Bent-arm Dumbbell Lateral RaiseMaintain a 90’ bend in the elbows and a slightly bent-over posture throughout the lift. With a thumb-up grip, drive the elbows towards the ceiling until they are level with the shoulders. Lower the weights back to the starting position.
Barbell Front RaisesGrasp the barbell with an overhand grip. Stand tall and with straight arms, raise the barbell until both arms are level with the shoulders. Lower the barbell back to starting position with control.
Alternating Dumbbell Incline CurlsLay back on an incline bench set 30-45 degrees. With a palm-up grip, start with the dumbbells & arms hanging straight down. Bending at the elbows (not shoulders), curl the weight up, aiming for biceps to touch forearms. Lower the weights to starting position.
Cable Tricep KickbacksBegin with & maintain a horizontal torso during the entire exercise. Grasp a cable with a neutral grip and extend the forearm back until the arm is straight, being careful to move only at the elbow joint (not shoulder).
Reverse Grip EZ Bar Drag CurlsGrasp an EZ Bar with an overhand, shoulder width grip (thumbs should be higher than pinkies on bar). Keeping the bar against the body the entire exercise, drag the weight up to maximum elbow flexion and back down to start position.
High-pulley Tricep Pushdowns – straight barMaintaining an erect posture the entire exercise, grasp the bar with and overhand grip at full elbow flexion. Keeping the elbows tucked into your sides, push the arms down to straight without moving the torso or upper arms. Return to start position under control.
No Money’s – resistance bandStart near the top of a sit-up position with a 45’ trunk angle. Knees and hips should be 90’. With straight arms, rotate through the trunk (not shoulders) from left to right covering a 180’ angle of rotation with the trunk.



Different people will have different recovery ability and different adaptation responses to this program, so the frequency of training sessions over a given time period will differ from person to person and should be individualised based on one’s recovery ability. For this reason, you will notice that there are no set ‘days’ in the programs. In general, I have found that most will benefit from training these muscle groups and movements in the fashion outlined within this program at least every 3-5 days. Therefore, one’s training split could be as follows:

Mon, Thurs, Sun, Wed, Sat, Tues …

Mon, Sat, Thurs, Tues, Sun, Fri, Wed …


Upon Completion…..

If you have completed this Phase 1 of the Shoulders & Arms Program, send me an email at for the next stages of this program. I would love to hear your feedback on the program too.