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Day 40:Shoulders

After an Active Rest and Abs day, you should find this shoulder workout easier than those a couple days before. That’s true even during Phase Two. I’ve designed this program so that you perform the most challenging workouts early in the week, after your cheat meal. And then you re-gather through more focused workouts on smaller body parts such as shoulders and arms. You can think of these as mini-cycles if that helps you get through your first diet on Operation Aesthetic.

I begin almost every shoulder workout with some very light warm-up sets to really feel how my target muscles are responding that day. You’ll see me performing reps with no weight on the bar throughout the program as I’m getting ready for my standing military presses. Obviously, these don’t count toward working sets.


*I often include drop sets when I’m dieting. What that means is that instead of performing every set after a rest, you grab a lighter weight and go immediately with more reps—but that’s still a part of the same set. This technique works well for compound shoulder movements such as standing military presses or isolation moves.

*Drop sets are great for bringing in detail as you’re reducing body fat. I strongly recommend that you incorporate these for exercises or muscle groups where you really want to amp up detail when your strength is flagging. I haven’t specifically included these in my shoulder workouts, but you can add them where you want.

Early morning cardio


25 minutes

Perform this session upon waking before consuming food.



Standing military press

Note that I only bring the weight down to just below chin level—that’s where I feel the action best.

6 SETS / 12, 10, 7, 3, 15, 15 REPS

One-Arm Cable Lateral Raise
I like to really emphasize the negatives on these to feel the stretch in the middle head of the delts.

5 SETS / 12, 10, 7, 3, 15 REPS

Cable Front Raise

SUPERSET: The transition between front raises and upright rows is really fast. You can secure two locations, or you can just quickly change handles between sets. Again, rest is fairly short—only about 60 seconds between supersets with no pause between the two moves within the superset.

5 SETS / 12, 10, 7, 3, 15 REPS

Cable Upright Row

5 SETS / 12, 10, 7, 3, 15 REPS

Smith Machine Overhead Press
This move is all about the pump. You should feel the blood in all of your delt heads.

5 SETS / 12, 10, 7, 3, 15 REPS

Dumbbell Shrug

Emphasize the traps at the top of your shoulders as well as the portion in the middle of your back. Often people only target one aspect of their traps.

4 SETS / 12, 10, 8, 15 REPS

Post-Workout cardio


25 minutes

You can also perform this later in the day—it’s not essential to perform this immediately after weight training.

TIP: As you get deeper into your Operation Aesthetic diet, your instinct may be to rest longer between sets, but that’s the wrong way to go. That taxes your body more. It’s much better to get to your next set after only 4560 seconds of rest, especially for smaller muscle groups when you’re cutting calories. This supports metabolism while helping to reduce catabolism and increased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone that causes catabolism). Reduce the weights rather than rest time. Get into the gym, and then get out.

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