StephFitMum’s Back & Shoulders Hypertrophy Workout

Are you bored of your current back and shoulder training program and struggle to really feel the motivation to “get after it” in your workouts? Have your upper body gains hit a plateau?


Then we’ve got just the thing for you!

Powerbuilder and Primeval Labs athlete Stephanie Sanzo (StephFitMum) is back with another hypertrophy-focused shoulder and back workout with a special focus on common lagging muscles that need a little extra work. 

And, since Stephanie loves to incorporate both strength and hypertrophy in her workouts, this training program also includes heavy-hitting compound exercises to build strength in your upper body.

The back and shoulders can be stubborn muscles. Incorporating shoulder and back hypertrophy workouts into your normal routine will help with muscle gain and overcoming this stubbornness.

Here’s a video of Stephanie doing the complete workout:

StephFitMum Back & Shoulders Hypertrophy Workout

Similar to other upper body workouts from Stephanie, she performs a thorough warm-up prior to the heavy lifting.


Grab a light kettlebell and complete the following circuit three times, resting 1-2 minutes in between each round.

  1. Bottoms Up Kettlebell Single-Arm Press: 3 sets, 10 reps
  2. Kettlebell Upright Row: 3 sets, 10 reps
  3. Kettlebell Swing: 3 sets, 20 reps

Note: Remember it's a warm-up; these are not meant to tire you out. 

Now, that you’ve got a light sweat going and the blood flowing, it’s time to get started with the shoulder hypertrophy workout!

Back & Shoulders Hypertrophy Workout

Note: We recommend a 30-60 second rest period between each round.




Barbell Overhead Press



Chin Ups



Tri-set #1:

Dumbbell Curl + Press



Dumbbell Lateral Raise



Dumbbell Bicep Curl



Tri-set #2:

Lat Pulldown



Rope Face Pull



Rope Straight-Arm Pulldown



Key Training Notes

Barbell Overhead Press

Nothing quite tests upper body strength and power like the barbell overhead press.

As an added bonus, improving your overhead press also helps build a stronger bench, better lockout, and a rock-solid core!  The overhead press is one of the best ways to add mass to your delts. Delts can also enhance your overall physique and confidence.

During each press, remember to keep your core and glutes tight, ribs down and feet planted throughout the movement. The more stable foundation you create, the more power and strength you will be able to translate into the bar, enabling you to push more weight for more reps.

If your shoulders are bothered by a traditional military press with a barbell, feel free to swap in overhead presses using dumbbells, kettlebells, or Swiss bars. You could even perform landmine shoulder presses, too.


Chin-ups are a phenomenal upper body exercise that especially hammers the back and biceps.

 As you perform each chin up, focus on using your lats to pull your body up until your chin is above the bar. Using a full range of motion is absolutely critical for getting the most out of the chin-up (or any exercise). Many lifters are quick to load their bodies up with a ton of added weight and half rep themselves into achy shoulders and elbows all for an ego boost. 

Dial back the weight and focus on performing perfect, full-range reps. If that’s too easy, then manipulate the tempo with which you raise and lower your body and try incorporating pauses at different points in the range of motion.

Manipulating your chin-ups requires added patience, strength and skill, but your diligence will be rewarded with bigger, better back and bicep gains!

Note: If you find this movement difficult to perform with your body weight, you can use a resistance band for assistance until you build up your strength to perform a full unassisted rep.

Dumbbell Curl + Press

The dumbbell curl to overhead press is an accessory movement that complements the heavy lifting from the overhead press by increasing your total training volume. In addition to the extra shoulder and bicep work, this exercise also provides a great core workout as you’re forced to maintain an upright torso while moving the dumbbells up and overhead.

To perform the exercise, begin by grabbing a pair of dumbbells and holding them at your sides. Choose a weight that you can curl for 8-10 reps with good form.

Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended at your sides with your hands facing each other.

Make sure your core is tight, your chest is up, and your shoulders are pulled down and back.

Contract your biceps to curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders, making sure to keep your upper arms tight to your sides.

Once the dumbbells reach your shoulders, drive the dumbbells overhead.

Now, slowly lower the dumbbells down to your shoulders, and then extend the elbow to lower the dumbbells back down to your sides.

Straight-Arm Pulldown

To finish off this back and shoulders hypertrophy workout, Stephanie performs one of the most underrated exercises for the lats -- the straight-arm pulldown.

What makes the straight-arm pulldown such a great lat builder is that not only does it help build a strong mind-muscle connection (which is of great help with lifters who struggle to feel their lats working during back exercises), but it also trains the lats to perform how they would if you were deadlifting.

To perform the straight-arm pulldown, grab the rope attachment and step back from the cable column so that the weight doesn’t touch the stack when your arms are extended. Doing this allows us to maintain constant tension on the lats, which creates more metabolic stress in the muscles and contributes to muscle growth.

Throughout the exercise, make sure you keep your arms straight as you pull your arms down and back. 

When the ends of the rope reach the sides of your body, pull your hands apart so you can draw the cable in closer to your body and get a more complete contraction of the lats.

Hold here for a second and then slowly raise the weight back to the starting position, maintaining tension on the lats throughout. As you approach full extension, do not let the weight touch the stack as this removes tension from the muscles.

Intracell 7-- Supreme Intra Workout Training Fuel

Intracell 7 is Stephanie’s go-to intra workout for her intense training sessions. The reason Stephanie is such a fan of Intracell 7 is that it contains nutrients that support and sustain athletic performance, including the likes of fast-digesting carbohydrates (Cluster Dextrin, Palatinose, Carb10), a full spectrum of essential amino acids, and important hydration agents (including electrolytes).

Intracell 7 mixes easily, tastes great, and digests easily, all while helping you to push hard and last longer in your workouts.