The Only 4 Back and Shoulders Moves You Need for the 30-Day Dumbbell Challenge

30-day dumbbell challenge calendar
Don't neglect your back and shoulders if you want a powerful flex. Our 30-Day Dumbbell Challenge targets your entire upper-body.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

The 30-Day Dumbbell Challenge builds strength from head to toe. Get all the details on the challenge here.

Arms get a lot of attention when you're flexing. But if you're only focusing on your biceps and triceps, you're missing a crucial part of your upper-body pump (and strength).

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"Most people will have a stronger push rather than a pull, so we have to give our shoulders and backs extra attention," says Mathew Forzaglia, certified personal trainer and founder of Forzag Fitness on the NEOU App. That also means better posture and less upper-back pain, he says.

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It can be difficult (though not impossible) to target these muscles with body-weight exercises, and not all of us have access to a gym. That's why dumbbells are particularly helpful for building your delts (or deltoids, the muscles of your shoulders), traps (or trapezius, the muscles of your upper back) and lats (or latissimus dorsi, the muscles of your mid-back).

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Check out the exercise demos below from Forzaglia, our 30-Day Dumbbell Challenge host. You'll do this workout every time our challenge calendar says "Back and Shoulders." (You can also do this workout anytime outside of the challenge!)

Every six days, the rep scheme changes so you're doing the following:

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Sets and Reps per Exercise

Round

Sets

Reps

1

2

10

2

2

12

3

2

15

4

3

10

5

3

12

Try This Dumbbell Workout for Back and Shoulders

For this workout, you'll need a set of dumbbells. If you don't have one, try one of these creative alternatives to dumbbells.

First, start with a quick warm-up: Walk briskly for 5 minutes or jog in place for 3 minutes to get your chest and arm muscles ready to work. You can also try these upper-body activation exercises.

1. Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

JW Player placeholder image
Type Strength
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Back
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs.
  2. Hinge your hips back and bend your torso forward 45 to 90 degrees, keeping your back flat.
  3. Start with your arms extended toward the ground, palms facing each other.
  4. Draw your elbows up toward your ribs and pull the weights up alongside your lower abdomen.
  5. As you lift the weights, focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  6. Lower the weights back down with control.

2. Dumbbell Reverse Fly

JW Player placeholder image
Type Strength
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Back
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs.
  2. Hinge your hips back and bend your torso forward 45 to 90 degrees, keeping your back flat.
  3. Start with your arms extended toward the ground, palms facing each other.
  4. With your elbows slightly bent, use your upper-back muscles to raise the dumbbells out to your sides to chest height.
  5. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top before lowering back down to the start with control.

3. Dumbbell Upright Row

JW Player placeholder image
Type Strength
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Shoulders
  1. Stand tall with a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs, palms facing you.
  2. Bend your elbows out to the sides as you raise the dumbbells up and along the front of your body.
  3. Stop when the dumbbells reach chest height and your elbows reach shoulder height.
  4. Lower the weights back down with control.

4. Dumbbell Shoulder Press

JW Player placeholder image
Type Strength
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Body Part Shoulders
  1. Begin seated or standing with a straight back, feet planted, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Lift the weights above your shoulders with your elbows bent at 90 degrees. This is the starting position.
  3. Brace your core and press both dumbbells overhead.
  4. Lower the weights back to the starting position with control.

Follow Along With the Challenge

Use the calendar below to help you stay on track with the 30-Day Dumbbell Challenge. Do the workout (or rest day) listed, then check off each day as you complete it. (Get a printer-friendly version here.)

Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

Back to the 30-Day Dumbbell Challenge

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