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How to get a body like Chris Evans: Shoulders and arms workout

Chris Evans

Chris Evans first appeared on screen as Captain America looking as well built as the comic book character he came to represent. The origin story of Captain America is as iconic as any. However, when the live-action movie hit the big screen, it was the transformation of Steve Rogers into Captain America that really caught the eye.

Many argue he has helped set the standard for the phenomenal physiques displayed by Marvel superheroes.Chris Evans has almost become synonymous with Captain America, given his memorable portrayals of the courageous superhero. His leading role in the film series have shone a light on the robust physique needed to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders! Away from his superhero alter-ego in films such as Avengers: End Game and Captain America: Civil War, Evans has a long history of delivering exceptional performances in other roles. Namely, 2019 mystery Knives Out and 2013 thriller Snowpiercer both had fans on the edge of their seats.

Evans’ fans can also look forward to another project he is set to be heavily involved in. The Gray Man is an upcoming action thriller directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, starring Ana de Armas and Chris Evans himself. While Evans never again appeared on screen again completely shirtless as Captain America, he still maintained an imposing physique, the cornerstone of which are his broad shoulders and arms.

The Chris Evans workout

How to perform the exercises

This guide is aimed at trainees with a good knowledge of the exercises and how to train safely and effectively.

To start your life-changing body transformation today, visit any one of our gyms around the world or begin your online training program.

Seated dumbbell shoulder press

The set-up

  • Set the bench to a 75–80-degree incline.
  • Pick up the dumbbell using a neutral grip and sit on the bench with them resting on your thighs, close to your hip crease.
  • Position your feet shoulder-width apart, under or behind your knees and flat on the floor.
  • Lean back against the bench, using your thighs to help get the dumbbells into position, level with your chest and then up to a stacked position, with the wrist, elbow and shoulder all aligned.
  • Point your chest upwards (but keep the ribcage tucked down) towards the ceiling and tuck your shoulder blades down into your back pockets.
  • Your shoulders and glutes should be touching the bench and there will be a small gap between your lower can and the bench.
  • This is the start and end position for each rep.

The movement

  • From the stacked position at the top, ‘pull’ the dumbbells down towards your chest with the arms at an angle of 45-60 degrees to your torso.
  • You have reached the end of your range-of-motion when you can no longer lower the dumbbells without the shoulder rounding forwards.
  • Pause before reversing the motion, under control, to return to the start position.
  • Pause again before repeating for the desired number of reps.
  • On the last rep, lower the dumbbells to the start position, tuck your elbows in and sit forwards using your legs to generate momentum. You can also ask a training partner to take one dumbbell from you at a time.

Trainer tips

  • The set-up and movement are the same as other versions of the dumbbell bench press but this angle places more emphasis on your shoulders.
  • Make sure that the dumbbells do not clang together at the top of the movement.
  • Ensure that you do not ‘shrug’ the weight up at the top. This reduces shoulder stability and increases the risk of injury. Focus on keeping the shoulder blades tucked down throughout.

Neutral grip chin ups

The set-up

  • Select a grip that matches your shoulder width and range of motion.
  • Take the bar and lift your legs up. If you cannot reach, you may need a bench to help.
  • Depress the shoulder blades and keep the head in a neutral position.
  • This is the start and finish position for each rep.

The movement

  • Keeping the torso braced, depress the shoulder blades downwards and then draw your sternum towards the bar, driving the elbows behind you.
  • Your end of range of motion is determined by how far you can pull yourself up without the shoulders rotating inwards, the upper back rounding or the bar touching the chest. Your range of motion will be the same as in a standard neutral grip pulldown.
  • At the top of the rep, pause and focus on contracting the lats and mid-back.
  • Reverse the motion, under control, to return to the start position. Do not relax at the bottom of the motion.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Trainer tips

  • Use chalk or straps to remove grip as a limiting factor.
  • Do not swing as the momentum will reduce the tension from the target muscles.
  • Keep the shoulders blades depressed at the top of the movement.

Dumbbell preacher biceps curl, supinated grip

The set-up

  • Sit down on the bench and rest your upper arms on the pad shoulder-width apart. The crease of your elbows should be facing up.
  • Adjust the pad or seat height so that your armpits line up with the top of the pad when seated. There should be no gap between your upper arms and the pad.
  • Hold the dumbbells with an underhand (supinated) grip and with your elbows just short of full extension.
  • Keep your back straight and avoid hunching over the pad.
  • This is the start and finish position for each rep.

The movement

  • Press your upper arms down into the pad and curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders.
  • Keep your wrists straight and palms facing up throughout the movement.
  • You have reached the end of your range-of- motion when you cannot move any further without lifting your elbows off the pad.
  • Pause for a moment and focus on contracting (squeezing) your biceps.
  • Reverse the motion, under control, to return to the start position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Trainer tips

  • Keep your elbows fixed below your shoulders and do not let them pull forwards as this shifts tension off your biceps and onto your shoulders.
  • On the upwards movement, try focusing on curling your little finger up to the ceiling for a more intense contraction.

Rope triceps extension

The set-up

  • Using two standard length rope attachments will maximise your range-of-motion and allow you to extend your elbows fully.
  • Make sure the ropes are not twisted, or they will be slightly different lengths.
  • Performing this exercise from a more stable kneeling position may help you to focus on the movement.
  • Choose one version; bench-supported, kneeling, standing, and perform it consistently for an entire phase to avoid interrupting your progress.
  • If performing the chest supported version, straddle the bench and lean into it so that your torso angle matches the bench angle (around 60-80 degree angle).
  • Adjust the cable to the highest setting and attach two standard length rope attachments.
  • Hold the ropes with a neutral grip and take three to four steps back from the station. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, push your hips back and lean forward slightly.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades back together and pull your elbows back behind your shoulders.
  • This is the start and finish position for each rep.

The movement

  • Keeping your upper arms and torso still, extend your elbows to straighten your arms.
  • You have reached the end of your range-of-motion when you cannot move any further without your upper back rounding and shoulders rotating inwards.
  • Pause for a moment and focus on contracting (squeezing) your triceps.
  • Reverse the motion, under control, to return to the start position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Trainer tips

  • Do not let your shoulders or upper back round.
  • Ensure that you do not allow your head drop down as this may strain your neck.
  • Aim to lock into a position similar to a pressing movement, with the shoulder blades fixed.
  • Keep your elbows tucked in and do not let them flair out at any point.
  • Do not let the weight pull your upper arm forward and aim to open and close the elbow joint only.

Chest supported dumbbell lateral raise

The set-up

  • If performing the chest supported version, pick up the dumbbells, straddle the bench and lean into it so that your torso angle matches the bench angle.
  • Hold the dumbbells with a neutral grip and let your arms hang by your sides with a small bend in your elbows.
  • This is the start and finish position for each rep.

The movement

  • Push the dumbbells out to your sides while keeping your shoulders depressed. Your elbows should travel just in front of your shoulders.
  • You have reached the end of your range-of- motion when you cannot lift the dumbbells any higher without your shoulders shrugging upwards.
  • Pause for a moment before reversing the motion, under control, to return to the start position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Trainer tips

  • A common mistake is externally rotating your arm on the upwards movement. This compensation pattern shifts tension from the medial deltoid and onto the stronger anterior deltoid.
  • Focus on keeping the back of your hands facing up at all times.

Dumbbell skull crushers

The set-up

  • Pick up the dumbbells using a neutral grip and sit on the bench with them resting on your thighs, close to your hip crease.
  • Position your feet shoulder-width apart, under or behind your knees and flat on the floor.
  • Lie back, using your thighs to help get the dumbbells into position level with your chest.
  • Point your chest up towards the ceiling and pinch your shoulder blades back together.
  • Your head, shoulders and glutes should be touching the bench, and there will be a small gap between your lower back and the bench.
  • Using a neutral grip, press both dumbbells directly upwards until you have fully extended your arms overhead.
  • Tuck your elbows in and position your upper arms perpendicular to the floor.
  • This is the start and finish position for each rep.

The movement

  • Keeping your upper arms still, bend your elbows to lower the dumbbells down towards your shoulders.
  • You have reached the end of your range-of- motion when you have fully flexed your elbows.
  • Pause for a moment before reversing the motion, under control, to return to the start position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Trainer tips

  • Keep your elbows tucked in and do not let them flair out at any point.
  • Do not let the weight pull your upper arms backwards. Keep your upper arm still and hinge only on your elbow joints.

Neutral-grip dumbbell biceps curl

The set-up

Pick up the dumbbells and sit on the bench.

Let your arms hang by your sides and hold the dumbbells with either an underhand or neutral grip.

Point your chest up and pinch your shoulder blades back together.

Position your elbows directly below your shoulders.

This is the start and finish position for each rep.

The movement

  • Curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders.
  • Keep your upper arms still and wrists straight throughout the movement.
  • You have reached the end of your range-of- motion when you cannot move any further without your shoulders or elbows pulling forwards.
  • Pause for a moment and focus on contracting (squeezing) your biceps.
  • Reverse the motion, under control, to return to the start position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Trainer tips

  • Keep your elbows fixed below your shoulders and do not let them pull forwards as this shifts the tension from your biceps and onto your shoulders.
  • On the upwards movement, try focusing on curling your little finger up to the ceiling for a more intense contraction.

Why this workout works

Training the muscles of the arms can be optimally done in one workout. Since the muscles of the biceps and triceps are antagonists (opposites) they can be trained back-to-back with minimal interference.

This allows you to perform much more work than with straight sets, which could involve many minutes of rest between each set.

We can even target the deltoids (shoulders) with minimal interference to the biceps and triceps, to increase training volume on the upper body.

While this is a shoulders-and-arms workout, make sure that your overall program targets each body part at least two to three times per week in order to ensure maximum growth.

 

TO START YOUR LIFE-CHANGING BODY TRANSFORMATION TODAY, VISIT ANY ONE OF OUR GYMS AROUND THE WORLD OR BEGIN YOUR ONLINE TRAINING PROGRAM.

DISCLAIMER | Results may vary | Results are based on individual circumstances | Timeframes for results are not guaranteed | Willpower is always required!

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