I’ve been strength training for years, but this 8-minute shoulder workout is the hardest I’ve ever tried

Honestly, you need to try this

Man performing standing shoulder press
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to lifting weights I like to think I’m not too shabby. I’ve trained consistently, four times a week for the past six years, and, as a natty with a 62kg bodyweight, I can bench 60kg, squat 100kg, and deadlift 102kg. So, not too bad I think. 

But, a couple of weeks ago, I was invited for a personal training session at Calcot and Spa’s brand new fitness centre – the Grain Store – where I was taken through an 8-minute shoulder workout and, I can honestly say, it was one of the hardest sessions I’ve done in a long time. Maybe even one of the hardest I’ve ever done. If you’re pushed for time but need a speedy workout that’ll leave your shoulders swole, this is it.

Woman doing dumbbell squat

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The 8-minute session from Calcot Personal Trainer, Cody Lewin, was an AMRAP workout, which stands for ‘as many rounds as possible’. He gave me four exercises – dumbbell thrusters, dumbbell overhead carries, dumbbell lunges and sled push – that I had to complete for a set amount of reps/or distance, for as many rounds as I could within my 8-minute time cap.

Now, AMRAPs are hard at the best of times, they overload your muscles by increasing time under tension, but they're also a great form of cardio too, as they pump up your heart rate. However, what made this particular AMRAP so hard was the fact that I wasn’t allowed to drop the weights between the dumbbell exercises – oh my god – my shoulders have never burned so much in my life (or looked so pumped!). Even my partner who powerlifts and can happily squat over 300kg, who I'd dragged into doing the session with me, continually kept saying "my shoulders!".

Ready to give the 8-minute challenge a go yourself? Grab a pair of dumbbells. Here's the workout:

  • 6 dumbbell thrusters
  • 40 metres dumbbell overhead carries
  • 20 metres front rack dumbbell lunges (so held up by your shoulders)
  • 20 metres sled push (reasonable weight, e.g. 60kg)

If you're trying this at home, but have no sled, fill up a large rucksack with some books or weights, attach a rope, and walk backwards. If your gym doesn't have one, head on over to the cable machines, pop it to its lowest setting, attach the weight belt and walk backwards.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.