Superset Your Way to Bolder Shoulders

Paige Hathaway shares her workout for strong, sexy shoulders.
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Being unhealthy comes in all forms, whether it is being too thin or overweight. I grew up playing soccer and being active, but I had never made my health or fitness a priority. I had never lifted weights. I didn’t consider myself an athlete.

Superset your way to boulder shoulders

These words, taken from Paige Hathaway’s bio, seem almost disingenuous. How could someone who looks like this have ever been unhealthy? But everyone’s fitness journey starts somewhere, and Hathaway’s began in her 20s when she started lifting weights to enter a bikini competition as a poultice to ease a painful breakup. Suddenly her thin, shapeless body began to develop curves, her strength skyrocketed and her confidence bubbled over.

Never Give Up!

Strength training also uncovered an inner power Hathaway didn’t know she had: perseverance. After doing well in a few competitions, she (along with hundreds of other women across the globe) decided she wanted to be a fitness model. But while others crumbled under the weight of rejection, Hathaway endured, hitting up every available fitness show, expo and conference and handing out comp cards to anyone who would take one.

Time and again, she got rejected for fitness modeling. Until … she didn’t.

Sponsors started noticing, her social media started to grow and suddenly she was somebody. “The universe has a weird way of working out, and I believe that if you work really hard, stay positive and never give up, anything is possible,” she says. “You may not be the most gifted, have the most talent or even be the most educated, and that’s OK. Determination alone is omnipotent. The hardest-working person in the room will always prevail above the rest.”

Social Media Cred

Today, she is one of the most recognized women on social media with more than 3.4 million followers on Instagram and almost 5 million on Facebook. Her PHFit online program helps hundreds of people get in shape and lose weight every month, and her website has more than 5,000 subscribed members.

“I never thought that people would be so responsive to me and to what I have to say about health and motivation,” Hathaway says. “Everything that I have done so far has been a direct result of those who have empowered me. Now it is my turn to empower others.”

Building Bolder Shoulders

As her gift of empowerment to our readers, Hathaway designed this shoulder workout exclusively for Oxygen, a system of supersetting that increases the time-under-tension, thereby increasing your opportunity for growth while also helping save your joints.

“Supersetting allows you to pre-exhaust specific heads of the deltoid with the first exercise, thus allowing you to recruit another area of the deltoid while using less weight,” she explains. “This encourages hypertrophy while also helping prevent injury.”

Because shoulders can be a persnickety muscle group, Hathaway recommends a thorough and specific warm-up. “The shoulder joint has more origins and insertions than any other joint in the body, and warm-ups should be taken very seriously,” she says.

Paige’s Favorite Warm-Up

Two continuous countdown sets of a shoulder press/lateral raise combo with very light weight (5 to 8 pounds, max).

*Each set consists of 10 shoulder presses, 10 lateral raises, eight shoulder presses, eight lateral raises, and so on, down to four reps apiece.

*Without resting, do it all again until 56 continuous reps have been completed. Only now is it time to get to work.

Superset workout for bolder shoulders

Do the moves of each superset back-to-back with no rest in between, and take 60 to 90 seconds of rest between supersets.

Superset 1

1.5 Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

1.5 seated dumbbell shoulder press for bolder shoulders

Setup: Sit on the end of a bench with a short back with your feet flat on the floor and hold a set of dumbbells at your shoulders, palms forward.

Move: Press the weights up to full extension, then lower halfway back down. Extend all the way to the top once more and then back to the start to complete one repetition.

Seated Up and Out

Seated up and out for bolder shoulders

Setup: Swap your dumbbells for a lighter set and hold them at your sides with your palms facing inward.

Move: Lift the dumbbells straight up in front of you to shoulder height, then flip your palms downward and open your arms to the sides so you make a T. Lower them back to the start to complete one rep.

Supersetting Tip: Make the transition between the eccentric and concentric phase of the press controlled and calculated, and when doing the up and outs, make each move smooth and specific.

Superset 2

Standing Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise

Standing dumbbell lateral raise for bolder shoulders

Setup: Stand with your feet hip-width apart spaced evenly on the center of a resistance band (not shown). Hold your heaviest set of dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing inward; place the other two dumbbell sets within easy reach.

Move: Lift your arms up and out to the sides, keeping a slight bend in your elbows and raising them to shoulder height and turning your pinkie upward as you reach the top. Pause briefly before lowering slowly back to the start for a count of two. Do all your reps, then place the weights on the floor.

Side Lateral Band Raise

Side lateral band raise for bolder shoulders

Setup: Grasp the band handles and hold them at your sides, elbows slightly bent, palms facing inward.

Move: Lift the handles all the way to shoulder height, then raise and lower them exclusively in the top three-fourths of your range of motion using a fast tempo for reps.

Supersetting Tip: To increase your time-under-tension, use an ever-increasing ratio of eccentric to concentric motion for the standing dumbbell side lateral raises: Start with a 1:2 ratio for set one, a 1:3 ratio for set two and a 1:4 ratio for set three. The side lateral band raises act as a burnout, finishing off your fast-twitch fibers and creating a burn that should melt your Lulu’s.

Superset 3

Seated Bent-Over Dumbbell Rear Delt Raise

Seated bent-over dumbbell rear delt raise for bolder shoulders

Setup: Sit on the end of the bench and hold a set of dumbbells in your hands, palms facing inward. Hinge at the hip and fold forward until your chest is resting on your legs and your arms are perpendicular to the floor, elbows slightly bent, head neutral.

Move: Lift your arms up and out to the sides, raising for a count of two until your upper arm is parallel to the ground. Lower the weights slowly for a count of three and repeat for reps.

Seated Dumbbell Upright Pull/Press Combo

Seated dumbbell upright pull/press combo for bolder shoulders

Setup: Trade up to a heavier set of dumbbells and sit upright on the bench with the dumbbells at your sides, palms facing inward.

Move: Drive your elbows skyward until the dumbbells come to shoulder height, then quickly pivot your arms in the sockets and flip the weights up to come into the bottom of a shoulder press. Then extend your arms completely, lower back down, pivot your arms again into the pull and lower to the start to complete one rep.

Supersetting Tip: To ensure you hit the rear delts for the raise, lock your shoulder blades down into your back and keep your hands in your peripheral vision at all times. When transitioning from the upright pull to the overhead press, make your transition quick but smooth. Rotator-cuff muscles + jerky motions = possible injury.

Weekly Workout Split

Monday: Legs, Abs

Tuesday: Back, Chest, Cardio

Wednesday: Shoulders, Calves, Cardio

Thursday: Legs, Abs

Friday: Biceps, Triceps, Cardio

Saturday: Abs, Cardio

Sunday: Rest

Paige Hathaway does cardio for 45 minutes per session and incorporates three to four machines, performing intervals interspersed with plyometrics and ab exercises.

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