Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

How To Do "Around the World" Exercises? (2 Variations)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Last updated: May 4, 2023

As a fitness trainer who’s constantly on the drive to find the best mobility exercises for my clients, the around the world exercise showed more promise the more I read about it.

When I saw the results it brought to my clients, I decided to write this article to educate my readers as well.

I’m writing this piece to show how to do this exercise with proper form.

Let’s get started.

Quick Summary

  • The around the world exercise has two variations — standing and seated — and only requires a dumbbell and a weight plate.
  • Adding around the worlds to your workout routine can help you target various muscle groups, increase muscle strength, and improve shoulder mobility.
  • Around the worlds are not ideal for hypertrophy, but they’re an excellent warm-up for other exercises.

How To Do the Around the World Exercise

An image illustrates how to do the around-the-world exercise

The around the world exercise has two variations: standing and lying down. Both target different muscle groups and build strength and mobility.

1. Standing Around the Worlds

To do standing around the worlds, you will need a weight plate and enough room to move your arms around.

Here’s how:

  1. Begin by standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart, holding the weight plate at chest level with arms parallel to the floor and elbows slightly bent.
  2. Keep your back straight, and engage the core muscles.
  3. Begin to rotate the plate until it’s above your head (it’s okay to bend your elbows fully at this point).
  4. From the overhead position, continue the movement back to the starting position as you slowly straighten your arms with elbows slightly bent.
  5. Repeat for reps and switch directions.

2. Lying-Down Around the Worlds

A woman doing lying down around the world in the gym

To do lying around the worlds, you will need a pair of light weights (preferably a pair of light dumbbells) and a flat bench.

Here’s how you perform them:

  1. Begin by lying on a flat bench facing the ceiling with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Straighten both arms, palms facing each other as if you were beginning a dumbbell fly.
  3. Keeping the arms straight, lower them behind you in a straight line as you slowly turn your wrists so your palms face the ceiling (you should feel a slight stretch in your chest muscles).
  4. Next, lower your arms till they’re perpendicular to your torso. Hold this position till you feel a slight burn in your shoulder muscles.
  5. Lower your arms down towards your hips.
  6. Raise your arms back to the starting position.
  7. Repeat the entire movement for reps, or you can move the dumbbells in the reverse direction back to the starting position.

What Are the Benefits of the Around the World Exercise?

The benefits of the around the world exercise include an improvement in shoulder stabilization, increased grip strength, and warming up the body before heavier lifts.

Muscle Groups Involved

The standing variation of the around the world exercise targets your shoulder muscles.

The major muscle group that lying-down around the worlds target is the pectoralis major. When done slowly, they also target the shoulder muscles.

“This [around the world exercise] isn’t a great mass builder, but it’ll leave your pecs pumped and sore, so it’s a great chest workout finisher.”

- Patrick Dale, Ex-Marine

How To Incorporate Around the Worlds Into Your Workout

A person holding dumbbells in the gym

The around the world exercise isn’t the best option for hypertrophy, and using a heavy weight to do this exercise could potentially injure your shoulder muscles.

So, they’re best employed as warm-up or finisher exercises.

You can do them as part of your warm-up exercises before a chest or shoulder workout to build strength and mobility.

You can also do them as a final exercise after a chest or shoulder workout to really feel the burn.

Safety Precautions

Here are some safety precautions to consider when doing the around the world exercise.

  • Warm-up: Before doing the around the world exercise, warm up your shoulders with shoulder circles to prepare them for the weight you’re about to carry [1].
  • Use proper form: Performing around the worlds with proper form can help you avoid unnecessary shoulder injuries.
  • Start light: In addition to proper form, it’s best to do this exercise with a very light weight to prevent injury.
  • Rest and recovery: Doing this exercise as a finisher after chest day can leave your pecs extremely sore, so we recommend taking a good protein supplement to fuel your muscles [2].


Are Around the Worlds a Good Workout?

Yes, around the worlds are a good workout. It’s highly beneficial for your shoulders and pectorals. It also helps you isolate the pecs and improves your mind-muscle connection.

How To Do Around the World Chest Workout?

To do an around the world chest workout, you need to isolate your pecs when doing the exercise. This requires establishing a mind-muscle connection and making your pecs the target muscles.

Are Around the Worlds Good for Abs?

Yes, around the words are good for abs. To engage this muscle group, keep the core flexed as you go through the movement.

Build Strength and Stability With the Around the World Exercise

Around the worlds are an excellent way to begin and end your chest or shoulder day. With two variations, this versatile exercise builds strength, mobility, and stability.

Because it makes for a good finisher exercise, leaving your chest sore, we highly recommend supplementing your chest workout with a high-quality protein powder.

We’ve extensively tested many products to come up with these lists of the best performers, so make sure to try one out.


Was this article helpful?

About The Author

You May Also Like

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *