Body Beast: Bulk Shoulders

Sagi Kalev
Year Released: 2012

Categories: Upper Body Strength

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Part of the Body Beast set, the Bulk workouts are the second phase of the program after Build. Each Bulk workout focuses on one muscle group.

The format and set are the familiar ones: stripped-down gym setting, Sagi and two very muscular male backgrounders, unobtrusive music as background filler. There is a countdown clock that shows total workout time as well as the time left in whatever you're doing at the moment: warmup/cooldown, lifting or resting between sets. There is a readout with the name of the upcoming exercise and the rep count, and a countdown clock on the reps while you're lifting. This workout is 35 minutes long, with 4 minutes total of warmup and stretch and 31 minutes of weights work.

The only equipment you really need for this workout is dumbbells. Sagi uses a weights bench for some seated exercises, but all could be done standing. The one EZ bar/barbell exercise can also be done with dumbbells. One backgrounder is the designated equipment modifier who does the workout using only dumbbells and a stability ball in place of the bench/step.

The warmup is the usual Sagi-style short one: jogging in place with high knees, arm circles, then using a light set of dumbbells for short sets of some of the exercises to come: lateral raise, overhead raise, upright row, front raise, reverse fly. The warmup ends with high knees.

The exercises in order:

SUPER SET of lateral raise and seated Arnold press, in which you alternate sets of each exercise. The lateral raise is a straight set of 15 reps light, 12 reps heavier and 8 reps at your heaviest weight. The Arnold press is a drop set in which the final set of 8 reps at heaviest is followed by another set of 8 at lighter-than-heaviest weight, with no rest between the two sets of 8.

PROGRESSIVE SET of barbell/EZ bar upright rows. The format is a set of 15 reps light, 12 reps heavier, 8 reps heaviest; 8 reps heaviest, 12 reps heavy, 15 reps light. The only rest in the set is between the two sets of 8.

SUPER SET of seated alternating front raises and "plate twist-twist", in which you hold a barbell plate or one dumbbell, swing it up to shoulder height, twist it once in each direction, and bring it back down. The twist motion with a plate looks like twisting a steering wheel from 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock. The rep count for this set is 15-12-8 on the raises and three sets of 10 reps each on the twists.

PROGRESSIVE SET of reverse fly. Sagi does these lying down on his stomach on an inclined bench, head/chin down and only his arms moving. I tried a set on my inclined aerobic step but wasn't comfortable, and did the rest seated. This exercise could also be done standing and bent over at an angle.

SUPER SET of "Superman stretch" and "plank twist-twist". Superman stretch is on all fours: lift one arm out in front to shoulder height while the opposite leg extends straight back to hip height. Lower and do on the other side (two sets, 10 reps per side). Plank twist-twist is getting into plank and alternating bending one knee and bringing the leg toward the opposite arm pit by rotating the hips but keeping the back and torso as straight as possible (two sets, 30 seconds each).

STRETCH of one minute of shoulder and side stretches.

This workout is deceptive. The multiple reps and sets build up quickly, and what feels like a comfortable weight in the first couple of sets is challenging by the end. It is definitely for intermediate-to-advanced exercisers.

The two backgrounders in this workout, Scotty and Brian, struggle with their form. Sagi spends a lot of time correcting Scotty and at one point yells at him, "Scotty, your form SUCKS!" Both Scotty and Brian go too heavy on exercises and Sagi talks them into dropping the weights to lighter or finishing out the set unweighted.

Instructor Comments:
Sagi is very helpful in this workout to his struggling backgrounders. He demonstrates excellent form himself and makes lots of corrections when his backgrounders aren't listening to his tips. Sagi has enormous muscles and it's fun to hear the huge weights he selects.