Short workouts are essential for fitness-minded people who don't want to sacrifice size, performance, and success by spending more time than they need to in the gym.

If you've already trimmed down your exercise routine, this workout will show you how to get bigger shoulders even faster, so you can squeeze in a great workout in a lot less time.

The key to mastering shorter training sessions is to minimize both the distance between exercises and the amount of equipment you need. For this workout, all you need are two pairs of dumbbells and a bench.

The 12-Minute Workout for Boulder Shoulders

  • One circuit means completing the reps for each exercise in succession without rest.
  • Rest 30 seconds after completing one full circuit.
  • Complete 3 total circuits.
  • Read the instructions below to learn how to modify your exercise form on each circuit.
Workout for Boulder Shoulders
Arnold Dumbbell Press
12 reps
Side Lateral Raise
12 reps
Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise
12 reps
Dumbbell Shrug
12 reps

Circuit 1

For the first circuit, you're going to do the exercises in the order they appear above. Use heavier dumbbells for the Arnold press and the dumbbell shrug, and lighter dumbbells for the laterals and the bent-over lateral raise.

Circuit 1

Perform all four exercises while standing. Standing forces you to stabilize your body with your legs and core. You must keep your core tight while pressing overhead, which is why you're starting with the Arnolds, while your muscles are fresh.

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Circuit 2

This time, perform all four exercises while seated on the bench. Sitting helps to better isolate the shoulders and traps, because you're less likely to generate momentum.

The exercise order also changes for this circuit. Do both the lateral raises and bent-over raises with the lighter dumbbells first, then grab the heavier dumbbells for the presses and shrugs. Again, do not take any time between exercises, and limit your rest after the set to only 30 seconds.

Ciruit 2

Circuit 3

You get to make this final set your own. You've done one set standing, and one set seated, so choose how you want to finish the workout on this third round. You can do it all standing, all seated, or mix it up.

As for exercise order, you'll do the presses and shrugs first before doing the lateral raises and bent-over raises. As soon as you finish the last rep, rack the weights and get out of the gym. If you do this right, you'll be in and out in less than 20 minutes with a great shoulder pump!

About the Author

Roger Lockridge

Roger Lockridge

Bodybuilding is the reason I am who I am today. I am more confident in myself, actually looking for the next challenge, and inspiring others.

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Shoulder Workout