Supercharge your strength, straighten your posture, and slim your physique by working your shoulder and back muscles.
For flatter abs and a faster metabolism, show your shoulder and back muscles some training love. "Most people have crappy posture, thanks to desk jobs," says Matthew R. Staver, the owner of Blueprint Health Studios in Destin, Florida. (ICYMI, your smartphone is wrecking your posture too.) But if you strengthen your back and shoulders, some of those muscles pull back and down to help you unhunch, which lifts your chest and aligns your spine, making you appear stronger, longer, leaner through your core, and more confident, Staver says. Plus, your latissimi dorsi, which span most of your back, are the widest muscles in the body. Working these biggies will earn you a greater burn during your routine and help your body melt more calories 24/7.
Staver created this mix of kettlebell moves to sculpt every muscle in your back and shoulders from every angle. "Focus on maintaining control through the entire range of motion of each exercise," he says. And pick a weight that makes the last two reps of each set difficult to crank out. "Even if you go heavy, you're not going to build Arnold muscles," Staver says. "You'll create a sculpted, trim look." (Then use that kettlebell to sculpt your butt with Emily Skye's favorite kettlebell butt exercises.)
How it works: Start with the warm-up, then do each exercise as indicated. Repeat the entire circuit once or twice. Do this routine twice a week on alternate days.
Total Time: up to 30 minutes
1. Kettlebell High Pull
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell by the handle with both hands with an overhand grip, arms long.
Pull kettlebell up to chest, bending arms wide to sides and keeping wrists in line with forearms, pausing for 2 seconds at top. Take 3 seconds to slowly lower to starting position.
2. Kettlebell Pendulum Raise
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell by handle with both hands with palms facing each other, arms long. Hinge flat torso forward from hips to start.
Shift kettlebell into right hand and, with straight arm, pull weight laterally toward right and up to shoulder height with palm facing down. Take 2 seconds to slowly lower to starting position. Switch sides; repeat. Continue alternating.
15 per side
3. Side Plank Fly
Start on floor in side plank on right forearm about an arm's-length away from a kettlebell, with left arm extended perpendicular from body and holding kettlebell handle with an overhand grip.
Keeping left arm straight, raise weight to over left shoulder (your chest will open and kettlebell will flip so bottom of bell is facing ceiling). Take 3 seconds to slowly lower to starting position.
15 per side
4. Good Morning Shoulder Press
Sit on floor with legs extended, holding a kettlebell by horns with both hands at chest, arms bent by sides. Lean torso back 45 degrees to start.
Sit up, pressing weight overhead (biceps will hug ears). Take 3 seconds to slowly lower to starting position.
5. Kettlebell Bus Driver
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell by bell with both hands, arms extended in front of you at shoulder height. Keeping arms straight, rotate weight toward right until hands are stacked. Switch sides (without pausing at center); repeat. That's 1 rep. Continue alternating.
6. Elevated Bent-Over Row
Start in plank position with right hand on a sturdy chair, box, or bench and left hand holding a kettlebell by handle with arm long and palm facing right.
Pull weight up to ribs, bending elbow behind you. Take 2 seconds to slowly lower to starting position.
20 per side
7. Shoulder Salutation
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell by bell with both hands at chest, arms bent by sides. Hinge flat torso forward from hips and extend arms forward from shoulders.
Keeping torso still and arms straight, raise weight overhead until biceps hug ears. Slowly lower to starting position.