Think you have what it takes to gear up and pass through a military-style bootcamp? You might not be going to basic training, but this simple bodyweight routine will help you to build up strength in your shoulders and chest while maxing out your upper body mobility.
Take on the two circuits, then test yourself with the benchmark workout. If you can’t pass the test, drop and give us 20. (Just kidding. Work your way up to a lower and lower score each week!)
Do 2 rounds of this circuit to bulletproof your shoulders. The first move trains shoulder stabilizers; the second warms up your rotator cuffs. Rest 15 seconds after each set.
135-Degree Wall Slide
Stand facing a wall, a few inches from it. Press your forearms flush against it, elbows bent 90 degrees, palms facing each other. Angle your forearms out slightly; this is the starting position. Squeeze your shoulder blades and slowly slide your arms up and out without shrugging; then slide them back down. That’s 1 rep; do 15.
90-Degree External Rotations
Hold your arms out to your sides and then bend your elbows so your hands and forearms point up (perpendicular to the floor), palms facing forward. Keeping your upper arms parallel to the floor, slowly rotate your forearms down toward the floor as comfortably as you can. Rotate them back up. That’s 1 rep; do 15.
Do 3 rounds of this circuit. Focus on contracting your back muscles each rep; both moves challenge middle-back, shoulder, and core muscles. Rest 15 seconds after each exercise.
Bent-Over Lateral Raise to Front Raise
Bend at your hips and knees so your torso is nearly parallel to the floor, arms dangling. Without moving your torso, take 2 seconds to raise your arms out to the sides until they’re parallel to the floor; then take 2 seconds to lower them.Use the same tempo to raise and lower your arms in front of you. That’s 1 rep; do 15.
Plank Speed Rows
Assume a pushup position, your hands slightly beyond shoulder width and feet hip width apart. Your body should form a straight line from ankles to head. Row one hand to your chest, keeping your hips square to the floor. Lower your hand; repeat with the other hand. That’s 1 rep; do 30, moving as quickly as possible with good form.
The Benchmark Workout
Do 10 rounds of this circuit. Start with 10 reps of each move; ladder down by 1 each round (so 9 reps of each move in Round 2, and so on). Then check the scorecard below.
Assume a pushup position, but with your fingers pointed outward. Keeping your core tight and elbows tucked close to your torso, bend your arms and lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause and
push your body back up. Lock out your elbows; if you don’t, the rep doesn’t count. That’s 1 rep.
Lie on your stomach, arms in front of you. Simultaneously raise your arms, legs, and head off the floor. (If this hurts your back, leave your legs on the floor.) This is the starting position. Keeping your arms straight, rotate them out wide until your hands touch your hips (think snow angel). Return to the starting position. That’s 1 rep.
How quickly can you crush this circuit?
- > 5 minutes – Basic training
- 4 to 5 minutes – Moving up in the ranks
- < 4 minutes – MH fit
By Ray Peleckas, N.A.S.M.