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How to Build an Aesthetic Back & Shoulders with Stephanie Sanzo

by Primeval Labs on March 14, 2019

If you want to know how to build a strong, toned, and aesthetic upper body like Primeval Labs Athlete Stephanie Sanzo, then you want to read this article.


Powerbuilding is a style of training that combines bodybuilding and powerlifting training protocols into the same program. This can be done either in the same workout or spread out across your training week where one workout is focused on developing strength while another session in the week focuses more on size and muscle building.


Today, we’ve got a powerbuilding workout courtesy of Stephanie Sanzo that combines powerlifting and hypertrophy training into one workout, creating a truly unique and effective workout that’s sure to challenge even the fittest among you.


Stephanie Sanzo Intra Workout Supplement

Intracell 7 Black

It’s no secret that StephFitMum loves to drink Intracell 7 Black during her training sessions. Intracell 7 Black is packed with beneficial nutrients that support performance and help delay the onset of fatigue during training.


Specifically, Intracell 7 Black contains 20 grams of fast-digesting carbohydrates from four different sources including Carb10 and ModCarb. These nutrients pass through the stomach quickly and are rapidly taken up by skeletal muscles without causing GI upset or leaving you feeling “heavy” during training.


Intracell 7 Black also contains a full complement of essential amino acids (EAAs) to provide working muscles with the essential building blocks they need to repair exercise-induced muscle damage and support muscle growth.


And to complete this supreme intra workout supplement, Intracell 7 Black also includes ingredients that support hydration and enhance blood flow to working muscles.


Simply put, Intracell 7 Black is the most advanced intra workout supplement on the market.


Note: for this particular back and shoulder workout, Stephanie uses 3 scoops (1.5 servings) to keep her muscles fueled and energy levels high during training.

StephFitMum Aesthetic Back & Shoulder Workout

This workout includes a series of super sets that are guaranteed to have you beat up by the end!


Prior to starting this back and shoulder workout, make sure to complete a thorough warm up consisting of light weight rear delt raises, side laterals, overhead presses, band pull aparts, and arm circles.


Stephanie’s preferred warm up for the workout consists of a circuit of four upper body exercises repeated for a total of two rounds for her shoulders and a superset of two cable machine exercises for her back:


Shoulder Warm Up Circuit

  • 2x10 dumbbell lateral raises
  • 2x10 dumbbell front raises
  • 2x10 rear delt flyes
  • 2x10 overhead dumbbell shoulder press


Note: Move from one exercise to the next, and after completing one round of all four exercises back-to-back, rest for 1-2 minutes before repeating.

Back Warm Up Circuit

  • 2x10 straight-arm cable pulldown
  • 2x10 single-arm cable row

Note: Rest 1-2 minutes between circuits.


Now that the warm up is complete, let’s get to the workout!


Back & Shoulder Workout

Stephanie follows a powerbuilding training philosophy with her workout programs. What this means is that each workout will start with a heavy compound movement using lower reps and heavier weights to develop strength.


After the heavy compound movements are completed, she then moves onto her hypertrophy work, which entails training in the typical bodybuilding rep ranges of 8-15 reps per set.


Stephanie’s primary two strength movements for this workout are the seated barbell overhead press and weighted chin ups.


Superset #1
   a. Seated Barbell Press 5 X 5 (*perform a drop set on the last set)
   b. Pull Ups 5 X 5


Rest: 2-3 minutes between supersets


Superset #2
   a. Seated Arnold Press 4 X 8-10
   b. Lateral Raise 4 X 8-10


Rest: 1-2 minutes between supersets


Superset #3
   a. Machine High Rows 4 X 8-10
   b. Straight Arm Pulldowns 4 X 8-10


Rest: 1-2 minutes between supersets


Superset #4
   a. Machine Reverse Flys 3 X 12-15
   b. Barbell Curls 3 X 12-15


Rest: 1-2 minutes between supersets


Superset #5
   a. Crucifix Walk 4 X 40m
   b. Plate Hammer Hold Walk 5 X 40m


Rest: 1-2 minutes between supersets


Back & Shoulder Training Pointers

Slight Elbow Bend

For the side lateral raises, straight arm pulldown, and reverse flyes, make sure to not fully lock out the elbow, allowing for an ever so slight bend. In addition to protecting your joint, maintaining a slight bend in your elbows also prevents the muscles of the forearm and upper arm from taking over during the movement, allowing the intended muscles to bare the brunt of the load.


Flex the Triceps on Curls

At the bottom of each barbell curl, make sure to flex your triceps hard. While this might seem confusing (given that the curl is a movement training the biceps), flexing the triceps helps fully straighten the arm and lengthen the biceps. This results in your have a slightly longer range of motion to work the biceps through, which increases the stimulation they receive and amount of work they have to do...both of which lead to superior bicep development over time.


“Resist” the Weight Down

Far too often when performing exercises, especially ones like the dumbbell side lateral raise and barbell curl, lifters let gravity do all of the work on the eccentric phase of the movement. In the process of doing this, they’re also missing out on the phase of the exercise that induces the most muscle-building benefits.


Remember, muscles like the side delt and biceps are very small compared to other major muscle groups such as the quads, hamstrings, and lats. As such, they don’t receive a lot of time under tension and go through a rather limited range of motion. To increase time under tension and the amount of stress on smaller muscles, milk the negative for everything you can.


By this we mean, during the lowering phase of the movement, resist gravity as much as you can, taking a solid 2-3 seconds to lower the weight and fight gravity from pulling it down. Start implementing this tactic into your training sessions and you’ll find new growth.

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