Shoulder Workout: Endurance Burnout + Strength Exercises

Shoulder Workout - low weight/high rep endurance rounds mixed with heavier strength circuitsToday’s workout is a follow-up to the biceps and triceps one I posted a few weeks ago. Same structure, different focus. Shoulders are the target, but in a few of the moves, you’ll feel your chest and biceps getting a lil’ love as well.

Endurance + Strength Shoulder Workout

Equipment I Used:

  • Light hand weights (2-5lbs) — I’m using 2 lbs which was PLENTY high for the first endurance round. I probably could have done 3-4 lbs for the second round.
  • Medium-heavy dumbbells (8-20lbs) — I’m using a pair of 10-lb dumbbells.

Shoulder Workout - low weight/high rep endurance rounds mixed with heavier strength circuits


LIGHT WEIGHTS | 20 seconds each x3 without rest

  • Reach and Pull | Arms start extended out to your sides, palms facing up, soft bend to the elbows (arms make a “W” shape). From here, you’re going to pull the elbows behind your back, squeezing your shoulder blades together and then extend them back out to the starting position.
  • Flip the Cup | Same starting position as the first move. From here, keeping a soft bend to the elbows, flip your hands so that the palms face down and then up again. You’re tracing a “C” shape with your hands.
  • Lateral Pulses | Arms straight out by your sides at shoulder height, palms face down. Pulse the arms up and down.


HEAVIER WEIGHTS | 30 seconds work / 10 seconds rest x9 (three times through the exercises)

NOTE ON WEIGHT: If you’re using the same weights for all your heavy exercises, you may find these first two moves to be too much. In general, we can go heavier with arm exercises in which we keep our arms close to our center of gravity; and need to go a smidge lighter when we extend out away from our core, such as with standing lateral and front raises. You can either grab a slightly lighter set of weights or, if you only have one pair of dumbbells, just alternate arms in the lateral and front raises like I do in the video. Makes a world of difference!

  • Lateral Raise (option to alternate) | Before you do anything, roll your shoulder cage up, back and down, opening up your chest. Then engage your abs, pulling your bellybutton in towards your spine. Maintain this upright, tall, open posture throughout the exercise: don’t let your shoulders shrug up or roll forward, and don’t let your low back arch excessively. From this starting position, lift your right arm up to shoulder height, palm down, at a wide angle out to your side. With control, lower it down to your side and repeat with the left arm. If you’re choosing the more difficult option, you’d do both arms at the same time.
  • Front Raise (option to alternate) | Same idea as the lateral raise, but you’ll lift the weight up in front of your body instead of out to the side.
  • Bent Raise to Rotation | Start with your arms down by your sides, elbows bent at 90 degrees (as if you were starting to do a hammer curl). Maintaining that arm shape, lift your elbows up and out to the sides. At the top of this raise, your hands and elbows should be at armpit/shoulder height. From here, rotate your arms open and up until they reach goal post position. Reverse the movement back to start. So throughout this entire movement, your arm is in the same L shape. You’re just lifting and then rotating from the shoulders.


LIGHT WEIGHTS | 20 seconds each x3 without rest

  • Bent Pulse | Elbows bent at 90 degrees, palms facing in, forearms parallel in front of your face. Pulse them up and down keeping the elbows in line with your shoulders.
  • Elbow Tap | From the first move, push the weights together (you can interlace your fingers if that helps) and while actively pushing, tap your elbows together.
  • Front Press | Trying to keep the weights together (or close to it) and elbows squeezing in together (narrower than your shoulders if possible) reach the arms up and down in front of your face.


HEAVIER WEIGHTS | 30 seconds work / 10 seconds rest x9 (three times through the exercises)

  • Shoulder Press | Start with arms in goal post position: elbows bent at 90 degrees at shoulder height. From here, press your hands up overhead, bringing weights together above your head. Lower back down, but only so far as brings your elbows back to shoulder height. Don’t let them dip down lower than that. As you do these, be careful not to shrug your shoulders up towards your ears.
  • Arnold Press | This is a shoulder press where you fluidly circle your head with your forearms at the bottom. It’s easiest to start in the middle of the movement: elbows bent to 90 degrees out to your sides in goal post position. Shoulders should be down and back, not shrugged up towards your ears. From here, press the weights overhead and together. Lower them back down to 90-degree bends and as you do, close your forearms in front of your face, rotating the palms to face you. When weights tap together in front of your face and your forearms form the number 11, reverse the movement, opening up your arms to goal post as you rotate your palm outward and press the arms straight overhead.
  • Shoulder Shaper | Start with arms in goal post position: elbows bent at 90 degrees at shoulder height. From here, maintaining those 90-degree bends, bring your forearms together in front of your face. Return back out to goal post position. Elbows should stay at shoulder height the entire time.

Shoulder Workout - low weight/high rep endurance rounds mixed with heavier strength circuits

WEARING | Athleta leggings // Athleta tank (old but they’ve got a lot of similar high-neck tanks)

Enjoy this workout! It’s great to pair with a run or other cardio. If you’re a beginner, you might want to break it up. Do the first set of endurance and strength exercises and then save the second set for another day. Make sure to warm up the upper body before jumping into it and take some time to stretch afterwards. Let me know if you have any questions about it in the comments!


Three Holiday Gift Ideas: Gift Card Edition

  • Fashion-lover or the guy/chick who needs some serious wardrobe help | Stitch Fix gift cards, baby! By now you guys know I love Stitch Fix! Get another fan of the service a gift card. It’s a great option if you know they love clothes but aren’t confident you’d be able to pick them out something specific–let the SF stylists take care of that. Also great idea for a guy in your life if you’re like me and find men impossible to shop for!
  • Blogger or work-from-home professional | I’ve talked about Breather room rentals on the blog before–I use them for shooting pictures and videos for Pumps. They’re also great if you need a spot for an off-site meeting, conference call, event. The service isn’t in every city, but they’re offering gift cards for the holiday season and the blogger or work-from-home professional would love some free time! Tip: If you use the code PUMPIRON you can get $45 in credit so to maximize your free rental time, first use that code and then cash in on your gift card.
  • Fitness lover | A gift card to your loved one’s favorite fitness studio is a guaranteed home run of a present (I know I’m always giddy to receive them!). Studio classes get pricey and even just a couple freebies is uh-mazing. Most Boston studios offer gift cards or some way to purchase credit for your friends and family so just visit their website or email the studio. For yoga lovers, CorePower is currently doing a promotion where you can buy $100 gift cards for only $80.

LET’S HANG OUT | YouTube // Instagram // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Snapchat @nicoleperr

Outfit links and first gift link are affiliate.

3 Common Form Mistakes in Tabletop Exercises (+Workout Roundup)

Common Form Errors in Tabletop Exercises - tips for correcting them and workout roundup to put them to use!

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Joe had a nasty flu from Wednesday through the weekend so I’ve been on nurse duty the past few days. You have no idea how happy I am to see him go back to work feeling better. I was about to lose my mind loved taking care of him, but it’s good to see an end to the loud whimpering and overreacting pain.

I kid, I kid. But seriously this man cold vs. mom cold video sums up my weekend.

ANYWAY. As you guys know, I’ve been teaching megaformer classes for about three years now, and a bunch of the exercises done on the machine are based in a tabletop position. So at this point in my teaching career, I have seen just about every possible way to do tabletop exercises incorrectly–you’d be surprised how creative people can get! 😉

I thought it’d be helpful to go over the three most common form errors I see with tabletop exercises as it applies on and off the megaformer. You can watch in video form or keep reading for pictures and text.

Three Common Form Errors in Tabletop Exercises

Now if we’re talking yoga or dance, the following three “errors” might not be wrong at all. In fact, they feel pretty delicious when done as part of a yoga stretch. There may even be some exercises in which you should have uneven hips. Listen to your fitness instructor or trainer for guidance first and foremost; the following apply generally.

Arching the Back

Common Form Errors in Tabletop Exercises - tips for correcting them and workout roundup to put them to use!

Often we’re so focused on the glutes (or whatever the target muscle group is) that we forget about our core. Other times, we find that if we arch the back, we can get the leg up a little higher. But it’s important to note that a bigger range of motion isn’t always better. Make sure you’re engaging your abs throughout the tabletop exercise. Don’t counter an upward motion of the leg with a downward arch of the low back.

Leaning over to the Supporting Side

Common Form Errors in Tabletop Exercises - tips for correcting them and workout roundup to put them to use!

Ok not my most flattering angle, but this is really the best way to demonstrate the form error–and trust me, I tried every alternative praying they’d be better (LOL). Anyway, this issue pops up mostly with lateral exercises like fire hydrants and will be exaggerated the tighter you are through the hips. When lifting the leg laterally in a tabletop position, you want to keep the supporting hip stacked directly over the supporting knee; don’t lean over to the side. You’ll most likely find you can’t get your moving leg up as high if you do this–that’s OK!

Uneven Hips

Common Form Errors in Tabletop Exercises - tips for correcting them and workout roundup to put them to use!I see this one most frequently if there’s an ankle weight or other resistance (bungee cord, etc.) on the moving leg/foot. You want to keep both hip bones the same distance from the floor (again, in most tabletop exercises, not all). Try not to roll the target hip open or let it drop down to the floor. Keeping your core and the supporting side glutes engaged will help with this.

Common Form Errors in Tabletop Exercises - tips for correcting them and workout roundup to put them to use!

WEARING | Lululemon tank c/o thredUP (old) // New Balance leggings c/o NB // adidas neo sneakers (sold out in white but the gray is cute!)

So now that you’re a pro when it comes to tabletop exercises, give one of the following workouts a try (only the first one has a video to go along with it). Looking at the older ones, I was actually guilty of a these form errors myself. Kinda cool to see how far I’ve come!

Tabletop Workouts

Let me know if you have any questions, and as always, I’d love for fellow instructors and trainers to chime in with additional form tips!

Also, over the next couple weeks, I’ll be including three holiday gift ideas at the bottom of posts so be sure to scroll down each day if you’re looking for some shopping inspiration. 🙂


Three Holiday Gift Ideas


LET’S HANG OUT | YouTube // Instagram // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Snapchat @nicoleperr

Outfit links and first two gift idea links are affiliate.

Five Random Thoughts

five-random-thoughts-decemberEmphasis on RANDOM. This blog post has absolutely nothing to do with anything. Not sure if I should say, “Enjoy!” or “May the odds be ever in your favor”…

As a kid, I thought every movie was filmed like Boyhood.

Growing up, I thought that one actor played a character in a movie, regardless of age changes throughout the storyline. So if a movie included flashbacks to a character’s childhood, I thought the film crew had to shoot those scenes when the actor was a kid and then wait 20 years to film the rest of the movie when the actor was an adult (super practical and efficient). I remember being in awe of movies that flash-backed to when an adult character was a baby–what commitment! And: How’d they know the baby would want to act when it grew up?!

I don’t know at what age I finally figured out that it was two different people playing the same character, but it blew my mind. I then immediately felt like a complete idiot.

Would you rather have your text messages made public or your phone’s camera roll?

Ohgodohgodohgod. At first it seems like a no-brainer: Hell no am I letting my texts go public. But … those selfies. You know those days when your outfit is straight fire and you nailed your eyeliner and you are just FEELING YOURSELF and have to snap a selfie or two … hundred. And the result is 10,000 versions of the same pose with just sliiiiight variations (angry RBF, less-angry RBF, smize hard, smize harder, slight chin tilt up, slight shin tilt down) and you’re just trying way too hard in all of them, and you have enough shame not to post them to social media but also enough narcissism not to delete them … yeah those can’t see the light of day.

Then again, who knows what’s buried in the archives of my text messages.

Publish the damn selfies.

I need to figure out a way to be tan without real tanning or spray tanning.

img_6074I love having a tan. My body looks leaner and more defined, my face looks clearer and less blemished, and I can finally use the #tangoals emoji skin-hair combo. (I mean that’s what life’s all about am I right or amiright?!) Tanning beds are absolutely not an option, but I’ve always hated spray tanning. It smells weird, it stains white sheets and clothes, and when I sweat during workouts or teaching, it runs everywhere and I end up looking like I’m covered in dirt streaks. It’s a total mess. If anyone has some product recommendations or other tips for getting a faux glow, holler at me!

I don’t understand people who listen to music while the television volume is also on.

You know that part in A Clockwork Orange where his eyes are being held open and he’s strapped into a chair being forced to watch traumatizing video footage as part of the aversion therapy? I relate to him on a very deep level when I’m sitting in a room with the TV on and someone starts playing music. The walls start closing in, my palms get sweaty, the noise seems to get louder and louder, I can’t concentrate on anything–it’s maddening! I won’t even watch a damn Snapchat story with volume if someone in the same zip code is watching television.

Aaaaand then there’s Joe.

Music blasting in the apartment, turns on the TV, and then starts watching a loud YouTube video on his iPhone. WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK. It causes me to panic. I frantically search for the remote control and beat the living shit out of that mute button, trying urgently to dismantle the bomb that’s about to explode in my brain. And then we both just sort of stare at each other as if the other is insane. Good times, good times.

Are Mike Pence and Bart Bass the same person?

Every time Mike Pence is on the television, I get a fleeting rush of excitement thinking Gossip Girl reruns are on. Chuck Bass’ dad? Is that you!? Am I losing my mind or are these two men the same person:bart-bass-mike-pence

And there you have it. The most useless blog post you’ll read all day.

Your turn:

  • Texts or camera roll made public?
  • What weird misconceptions did you have as a kid?
  • Any faux tanning advice for someone who sweats for a living?

Happy Friday! I’ll be back to the health-related content next week. Thanks for indulging this ramble. 😉