Strengthen Your Back and Shoulders With This 20-Minute Dumbbell Workout From Kelsey Wells


When it comes to upper body day at the gym, most people focus on bicep curls and triceps dips to strengthen and tone your arms, but it’s also important to not neglect your back and shoulders. Kelsey Wells, a NASM-certified trainer and creator of the gym-based PWR programs on the SWEAT app, created this back and shoulders workout for POPSUGAR to increase strength and build lean muscle mass in the upper body.

This workout is inspired by the launch of Wells’s PWR 5.0 program, which includes access to a total of 54 weeks of workouts tailored for the gym. “The latest weeks added to my gym-based PWR program will provide women who have been exercising regularly and training with me for some time brand new workouts to help them continue to build strength and level up their training,” Wells told POPSUGAR.

For this workout, you’ll need a resistance band (long elastic bands are ideal), and a set of dumbbells. Wells said if you don’t have dumbbells you can use water bottles or something with a similar weight to add resistance. So clear out some space, either at home or at the gym, and get ready to work!

Kelsey Wells’s Back and Shoulders Workout With Resistance Band and Dumbbells

Equipment needed: Resistance band and medium dumbbells

Warmup: Warm up with three to five minutes of cardio, such as walking or jogging in place, to increase your heart rate and help warm up your muscles for your workout. After your cardio warmup, follow with dynamic stretches such as leg swings, arm circles, and torso twists to increase your range of motion and reduce risk of injury.

Cooldown: Cool down after your workout with three to five minutes of walking
to lower your heart rate. Wells also suggests finishing your cooldown with some static stretches where you hold a single position for twenty seconds or longer to increase flexibility, range of motion, and help reduce soreness and risk of injury.


  • Activation: Complete the first two exercises — resistance band pull-apart for 10 reps then sprawl for 30 reps — back-to-back for 4 minutes, then rest for 30 seconds.
  • Pyramid: Complete a pyramid of dumbbell shoulder presses, starting with 12 reps, then resting for 30 seconds, then 10 reps, then rest for 30 seconds, then 8 reps, then rest for 30 seconds, then 6 reps, then rest for 30 seconds. Complete four laps through.
  • Superset: Complete a superset of two exercises — dumbbell side to front raise for 12 reps then dumbbell bent-over row for 12 reps — for three laps through. Then rest for 30 seconds.
  • Total workout time: Workout should take 20-25 minutes.
Exercise Reps
Band Pull Apart 10 reps
Sprawl 30 reps
After 4 minutes, rest for 30 seconds
Shoulder Press 12 reps
Rest 30 seconds
Shoulder Press 10 reps
Rest 30 seconds
Shoulder Press 8 reps
Rest 30 seconds
Shoulder Press 6 reps
Rest 30 seconds
Side to Front Raise 12 reps
Bent-Over Row 12 reps
Rest 30 seconds

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