8-Minute Shoulders

This pandemic has changed the way we do a lot of things- certainly the way we workout! At this time last year, we had no problem paying monthly dues, spending gasoline and time to get to the gym, and sharing equipment that someone else had just sweat all over it. Fast-forward to now, that just sounds… unnecessary. With very little equipment, you can get spectacular workouts at home. In this “8-Minute Workout” series, I’m letting you in to my own, personal, at-home workouts that target every major muscle group. This, the second edition is, is Shoulders!


Using just one set of medium-weight dumbbells, you can expect 12 challenging moves for the anterior, lateral, and posterior deltoids (that is, the fronts, sides, and backs of your shoulders). Each move lasts 40-seconds. To get the most out of 8 little minutes, I plugged two cardio moves after two stable strength moves. Heart-pumping moves are beneficial from a metabolic standpoint, so even if they aren’t your favorite part of the workout (they won’t be), if these jive with your body and current strength, trek through them with me. If not, opt for a modification given!

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Exercise 1: “The Cheerleader”

Because of the whopping 8-step sequence of this move, we highly recommend following along with the video instructions. Stand straight and tall, then lift arms straight in front of you. Second, bend your elbows to 90-degrees and match shoulder height. Third, pivot at the shoulder to turn your knuckles up to the ceiling. Fourth, press up to the ceiling. Fifth, bend the elbows to 90-degrees and match shoulder height. Sixth, pivot at the shoulder to turn your knuckles forward. Seventh, extend the elbows to take the arms straight in front of you. Eighth, lower the straight arms down by your sides.

Go, team, go!!



Exercise 2: Overhead Press

Rack the dumbbells to your collar bones. Press the weights overhead. Return to starting position.



Exercise 3: Mountain Climbers *Strength + Cardio!

Place the dumbbells under your shoulders and assume plank position. Lift one foot and drive the knee in toward your belly. Switch, rapidly.

Modification: Slow the tempo. Lift one foot and drive your knee in toward your belly, return to plank, and then do the same on the other leg.



Exercise 4: Plyo Donkey Kicks *Strength + Cardio!

Place both feet offset to one side with dumbbells sturdy under your shoulders. Hop both feet up and over to the other side. Continue to toggle side-to-side.

Modification: Plank Jacks: Place the dumbbells under your shoulders in plank position. Jump or step both legs out, wider than hips width, then jump or step both legs back together.



Exercise 5: MAC Raise

Stand straight and tall. Lift one arm straight in front of you. Lift the other arm to the side and bend the elbow to 90-degrees. Switch.



Exercise 6: Scaption

Turn your thumbs to face up toward the ceiling with pinky fingers down and angled in. Lift up to a “V,” and squeeze your back muscles in tightly. Return to starting position.



Exercise 7: Scissor Lunge with a Press *Strength + Cardio!

Stagger your legs into lunge position. Rack the dumbbells at your collar bones. Jump to swap legs as you press the weights overhead, then jump to swap legs again (to starting position) as you return the dumbbells to your collar bones. Repeat!

Modification: Instead of jumping to swap legs, step the back foot forward into a controlled lunge forward, then step it back to starting position. Further modification: Use only one dumbbell for the overhead press, not two.



Exercise 8: Repeat Exercise 7 on the opposite lead leg on the lunge. *Strength + Cardio!



Exercise 9: Upright Rows

Stand straight and tall with legs wider than hips width apart. Hang arms long in front of you, with dumbbells together. Next, bend your elbows to match shoulder height as you raise the dumbbells up your torso to the sternum.



Exercise 10: Lateral Raise to Front Shoulder Raise

Stand straight and tall with arms hanging by your sides. Abduct your arms out to the sides, bending the elbows just a little or a lot (depending on your strength). Return to starting position. Lift your arms straight in front of you. Return to starting position. Alternate between the two moves.



Exercise 11: Thrusters *Strength + Cardio!

Stand straight and tall with feet planted directly underneath hips and dumbbells racked at your collar bones. Next, bend your knees and sink your hips back slightly. Then, powerfully extend your knees and hips; rise up onto your tippy toes and propel the dumbbells high overhead. Finish by planting your heels back on the ground and returning the dumbbells to racked position at your collar bones. Repeat!

Modification: Perform this move with one or no dumbbells.


Exercise 12: Breakdancers *Strength + Cardio!

Place the dumbbells under your shoulders and assume plank position. First, jump one foot forward, landing it outside your hand. Next, jump back to plank. Third, jump to weave that same foot through the gap between your torso and the floor, landing it through on the other side. Jump to return to plank position. Repeat on the other foot! Continue to perform the three steps on one foot before swapping to the other foot. Because of the complexity of this 3-part-move, we highly recommend following along with the video instructions.

Modification: Omit Step Three. Simply jump from plank to taking the foot outside the hand (referred to as a “spider”) then return to plank.




This is the second of seven 8-minute workouts in this series. Do them, alone, or bundle multiple muscle groups in successive 8-minute videos. (Next up: 8-Minute Legs!) Either way, you’ll have an incredible at-home, fun, safe, and effective workout in less time than it would have taken to even get to the gym!




About Brook Benten


Brook Benten, M. Ed., is a Texas girl with over two decades of experience in the field. She has been an executive director, fitness journalist, and star of over a dozen workout DVDs. She now primarily answers to “MOM” and works from her home studio to bring you live & prerecorded workouts and Train with the Trainers LiveStream Classes. She is an avid cyclist, trained by Johnny G, kettlebell enthusiast (RKC, SFG II) trained by Pavel Tsatsouline. Brook has been a presenter at SCW MANIA® for many years and has trained countless fitness professionals.



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