[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]When it comes to an upper body workout, don’t forget about the shoulders! Incorporating a shoulder routine
into your training strengthens and contributes to the overall tone and shape of your upper body. But it’s not all about appearances. Shoulder joints are very mobile and prone to injury. Building rotator cuff strength around the shoulder joint helps to reduce the likelihood of injury.
Other benefits to having strong shoulders include:
The Best Shoulder Exercises
A complete shoulder strengthening workout will cover the major muscles in your shoulders. This includes the deltoids, trapezius and rotator cuff muscles. There are exercises that work all the muscle groups together and exercises that isolate single muscles.
If you’re a beginner, consider starting with one exercise that strengthens the entire shoulder. After a few weeks, begin adding exercises that isolate specific muscles, making sure to balance your workout with other areas of the shoulder as well. Include your shoulder routine two times a week, performing each exercise for three sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.
Dumbbell shoulder press
Start your shoulder workout with the press, which will work the entire shoulder. One set using a light weight is a perfect warm-up.
- While standing, hold a dumbbell in each hand and then raise to shoulder height with palms facing forward.
- Slowly press up both dumbbells engaging your shoulders to lift the weight until your arms are straight above your head almost fully extended without locking your elbows.
- While controlling the weight, lower both dumbbells back down to shoulder height, then press back up to the top without resting.
Front dumbbell lateral raises
Front lateral raises work to isolate the front of the deltoid muscle.
- Begin by standing with your arms down by your sides, a dumbbell in each hand and palms turned in toward your body.
- With palms facing down, slowly raise your arms in front of you until the dumbbells are parallel with your shoulder. Don’t lock elbows.
- Without pausing at the top, lower the dumbbells while controlling the weights to the starting position.
Rear Deltoid Raises
The rear deltoid exercise will concentrate on the back of the shoulder (the rear deltoid).
- Sitting on a bench, hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing inward and arms down by your sides.
- While keeping a tight core, bend forward at the hips and keep a flat back.
- Keep your eyes looking at the ground with a neutral neck and a slight bend in your elbows throughout the exercise.
- Extend both arms out to the sides and control the weight as you lift up until arms come parallel with the floor.
- Pause, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
Shrugs (barbell or dumbbell)
Shoulder shrug exercises isolate and work the top of the deltoid and trapezius muscles.
- Begin by standing with feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent and core engaged.
- Hold a barbell or two dumbbells with palms facing your body and arms straight down in front of you.
- Raise your shoulders toward your ears as high as you can and pause for a second.
- Slowly lower your shoulder back to the beginning position.
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