P90X Shoulders and Arms Workout Guide

The P90X Shoulder and Arms is the glamor workout focusing on your biceps, triceps and shoulders. For this workout, you do 15 different exercises, 5 for each muscle, 2 sets for each exercise for a total of 30 sets. That sounds like a lot of exercises and it is. At first glance you might think this workout takes 1.5 – 2 hrs. Not at all. With a warm-up, stretching and stretching after the workout, you’re done in under an hour.

There are 15 exercises total. You will complete three exercises in each sequence (1 shoulder, 1 biceps and 1 triceps), and then repeat those exercises before moving on to the next sequence. For the exercises, resistance bands can replace dumbbells. All exercises are performed standing unless otherwise noted.

1. Alternating Shoulder Press – Shoulders
Bring the dumbbells up to you shoulders with your palms facing out. Alternate raising each arm straight up while twisting your palm in.
Reps: Max

2. In & Out Bicep Curl – Biceps
With your palms facing out, do 1 normal curl with your arms straight out. The next curl bring your arms up at a 45 degree angle to the side and repeat.
Reps: 16 total, 8 each way

3. Two-Arm Triceps Kickback – Triceps
While bent over, raise your upper arms until they are parallel with our body. Straighten your arms to ‘kickback’ the dumbbell until your arm is straight.
Reps: Max

Repeat Exercises 1, 2 & 3
After you repeat the exercises, you can take a 30 second water break.

4. Deep Swimmers Press – Shoulders
Raise the dumbbells up to your shoulders with your palms facing in. Then, press the dumbbells over your head rotating your palms out.  Bring your arms back to your original starting position. Do a full bicep curl at the bottom for added intensity.
Reps: Max

5. Full Supination Concentration Curl – Biceps
With your palms facing out, curl one arm up while rotating your palms out slightly, pausing at the top to squeeze your biceps. Repeat with the other arm.
Reps: Max

6. Chair Dip – Triceps
Using a nice sturdy chair, place your hands on the seat of the chair. Extend your legs out as far as you feel comfortable. Then, lower yourself down until your upper arms are parallel with the floor, and then raise yourself back up. For added intensity, raise one leg off the ground or put your legs up on another chair.
Reps: Max

Repeat Exercises 4, 5 & 6
After you repeat the exercises, you can take a 30 second water break.

7. Upright Row – Shoulders
Start with the dumbbells in front of your body, palms facing in. Raise the dumbbells straight up until they are just under your chin.  Make sure your elbows remain higher than your wrists.  Lower and repeat.
Reps: Max

8. Static Arm Curl – Biceps
With your palms facing out, start with one arm at 90 degrees from your body.  Keep it there while doing 4 normal curls with the other arm.  On the 4th curl, switch arms and repeat.
Reps: 16 total reps, 8 for each arm

9. Flip-Grip Twist Triceps Kickback – Triceps
Starting in the same position as the triceps kickback, start with your palms facing down and perform a kickback.  Then, twist your wrist so your palms are facing up and perform another kickback. Repeat this sequence.
Reps: Max

Repeat Exercises 7, 8 & 9
After you repeat the exercises, you can take a 30 second water break.

10. Seated Two-Angle Shoulder Fly – Shoulders
While sitting on a chair, start with the dumbbells at your side. Raise the dumbbells up to your sides and then lower. Next, bend over so your chest is almost touching your knees. Raise the dumbbells up again to your sides and lower.
Reps: 16 total, 8 each side

11. Crouching Cohen Curl – Biceps
Crouch down into a standing seated position. Then, rest your elbows on the insides of your knees. Perform bicep curls with your palms facing out. For added stability, lean your butt against a wall.
Reps: Max

12. Lying Down Triceps Extension – Triceps
While lying on the ground, raise the dumbbells straight over your chest with your palms facing in. While keeping your upper arms at a 90 degree angle to the floor, lower the dumbbells down towards your head, and then raise them back to the starting position. Make sure the weight isn’t too heavy that you drop the weights on your head.
Reps: Max

Repeat Exercises 10, 11 & 12
After you repeat the exercises, you can take a 30 second water break.

Bonus Exercises

13. In & Out Straight-Arm Shoulder Fly – Shoulders
Start with the dumbbells slightly in front of you, palms facing in, and raise the dumbbells out in front of you keeping your arms straight. For the next rep, do the same movement but with your arms straight out to your side.
Reps: 16 total 8 each direction

14. Congdon Curl – Biceps
Start with the dumbbells to your sides, palms facing out. Perform a normal bicep curl, and at the top, turn your palms so they are facing in before lower the dumbbells back down.
Reps: Max

15. Side Tri-Rise
Lay down on the floor on your right side. Fold your right hand up to your left shoulder. Place your left palm on the floor and push your upper body off the ground like a push-up. Repeat the exercise on your other side.
Reps: Max

Repeat Exercises 13, 14 & 15
After you repeat the exercises, you can take a 30 second water break.

The Equipment

For this workout, you’ll need dumbbells or resistance bands and a sturdy chair with a hard seat (not a cushion).

My Review

I have completed this workout three times in Phase 1 of P90X classic. Of course I love this workout.. what guy doesn’t like a good arm workout. I like all the shoulder and bicep exercises. However, I’m not in love with all the triceps exercises. I was never a fan of triceps kickbacks and I especially hated them standing. I preferred to do them with one knee on a bench. That’s probably a hard option to give for a home workout. I would have preferred an overhead triceps extension in place of one of the kickbacks. I guess if it really bothered me, I could just replace it. Other than that, there’s nothing else I can complain about.

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