Body Beast: Build Shoulders

Sagi Kalev
Year Released: 2012

Categories: Upper Body Strength

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This workout follows the standard Body Beast formula. Sagi leads two backgrounders through a brief warmup, strength workout and stretch. There is a workout timer on the bottom of the screen which counts down both total workout time and the time left in the set you're doing or the rest period you're taking. Total workout time is about 40 minutes. The music is background metal/guitar and generally only plays during a lifting phase. Sagi fills up the rest of the time with talk, both form tips and encouragement to his backgrounders (and to you). For equipment, you'll need dumbbells and a weights bench (can substitute a step with risers, stability ball or High Step). If you don't have a bench or substitute for it, you could do all of the exercises standing. Two exercises use a barbell, but one backgrounder subs dumbbells.

The warmup is brief and some of it is done with light weights (a handful of reps of some of the exercises you do in the main workout: lateral raise, overhead press, upright row, delt flyes). After that you move into the main part of the workout.

First is a single set of seated overhead press, done in a drop-set formula: 15 reps; increase weight and do 12 reps; increase again and do 8 reps; then drop down on weights and finish with a final set of 8.

Next is a super set of lateral raise and upright row: again, 15 reps followed by 12 and then 8. The upright row has a final drop-set of 8 reps. Following that is a giant set of underhand press with the barbell, alternating side-side-front raises, and a rear delt raise/flye. Next is a superset of shrugs and what Sagi calls "scap trap", a trap/shoulder/upper back exercise done while leaning over, dangling your arms and lifting/lowering dumbbells using just the muscles in your upper back. The workout concludes with a super set of "Sagi six ways" (seated: lateral raise to front raise to overhead raise, then back to front raise, lateral raise and down; those six moves equal one rep) and reverse crunches for abs. A very quick stretch, less than one minute, concludes the workout.

This workout is for intermediate to advanced exercisers. Beginners could learn good form from Sagi, but the number of sets/reps is more geared towards exercisers who have some background already in strength training.

I was a little apprehensive the first time I did this workout, since shoulders are a weak area of mine and nine exercises times all those sets seemed like overkill and a recipe for straining a rotator cuff. I went light on my weights the first time through, then realized that this workout is well planned enough that you really can go moderate-heavy and BUILD shoulders, not just tone. The rests between sets are long enough to recover and gear up to go heavier, and the exercises work all parts of the shoulder in a balanced way.

Instructor Comments:
Sagi is Sagi, you love him or hate him. He does talk a lot and gives bodybuilder-gym-style encouragement ("the Beast is with you all the way! Whatever it takes! No one left behind!") but I find it amusing and not at all distracting. His form and his pointers are excellent. He and his guys have impressively muscled physiques.