The shoulders have a spectacular impact on the outline of the body. Strong, broad shoulders are generally seen as a symbol of power. If your chest and arms are huge but your shoulders are under developed and puny, you are not going to project authority. Well developed shoulders can be beneficial to both sexes. A good set of shoulders will look impressive anywhere, whether on stage for competition, in the gym or with clothes on. Shoulder development takes much effort and commitment given that deltoids tend to be a very stubborn muscle group. They need to be targeted with a wide variety of exercises, for overall mass and definition.
Let’s first look at what comprises the shoulders, or the deltoid muscles.
This is the front head of the shoulder muscle that flexes and rotates the arm inward. The anterior deltoids are significant in bench pressing, other pushing movements, and are usually also stimulated by triceps and biceps exercises.
This is the side head of the shoulder, and functions to bring the arms out and away from the midline of the body. This muscle comes into action most during isolated shoulder abduction movements, such as dumbbell side raises.
This functions by extending and rotating the arm outward. The rear deltoid is used in back exercises such as chin ups, rows and pull ups. Isolating the posterior deltoid can be achieved with reverse flys.
Now let’s take a look at some of the top 5 shoulder workouts that guarantee results. The best shoulder workout will have variety. Check these ones out.
1. Military Press
The Military Press is a shoulder exercise that focuses primarily on the entire deltoid muscle, with the least stress on the posterior deltoid. It is one of the best old school shoulder exercises and forms the foundation of many good shoulder routines. It is also an excellent shoulder workout for mass. Here’s how to do this exercise favorite.
1. Stand facing a barbell with feet about shoulder width apart.
2. Grab the barbell using an overhand grip with your hands still about shoulder width apart.
3. With your back straight, pick up the bar off the floor and lift it to your shoulders, and then above your head. This is the start position for the press
4. Now slowly lower the bar until it almost touches your upper chest.
5. Pause, and then gradually raise the barbell back upward without locking your elbows at the top of the movement.
6. Repeat for desired reps.
2. Arnold Shoulder Press
The Arnold Press is a shoulder exercise performed with dumbbells to build massive delts. The exercise was developed by Arnold Schwarzenegger to work all three heads of the shoulder with one continues movement. It is an all-in-one powerhouse exercise.
1. Sit on a bench with a dumbbell you can comfortably lift in each hand.
2. Raise the dumbbells to a shoulder position with your palms facing you.
3. Push the dumbbells upwards while initiating a twist movement.
4. As you reach the top of the pressing movement your palms should be facing forward.
5. Lower the dumbbells reversing the entire movement.
6. This is one repetition.
3. Front Lateral Raises
The front lateral raise isolates your anterior deltoid, or the front of your shoulder. These directions are for a front lateral raise with dumbbells.
1. Stand straight holding dumbbells on each hand. Your arms should be in the side of your body with palms facing you. Tighten your core muscles.
2. Exhale and lift the right dumbbells up to shoulder height only. Concentrate on keeping the shoulders down and squeeze your back muscles as you lift the weight. Stand straight.
3. Inhale and lower the dumbbell gradually down. Do not lean forward as you lower the weight
4. Repeat the movement with your left arm.
5. Repeat for desired reps
4. Side Lateral Raises
The lateral or side raise is a basic isolation arm exercise working the medial deltoid. You can do it with dumbbells at home or using machines at the gym. You hold a dumbbell on each hand at the side and the movement is outward also to the side while maintaining a minor break in the elbows to give support for the shoulder joints. For this exercise, you will select conservative weights so you do not injure the shoulder joint. A weight that you can lift for 8 to 12 reps is a good gauge. This is how to do the dumbbell lateral raise.
1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand erect with the dumbbells at your sides.
2. Palms should be facing your body’s sides. Hold the dumbbells slightly off your body, as this creates constant tension on the medial delts. This is the starting position for the exercise.
3. To begin, gradually raise the dumbbells upward to around shoulder height. It’s vital that you do not allow your wrists to go above your elbows when raising the dumbbells, as this will take the stress off the side delts and transfer it to the front delts.
4. Pause at the top of the movement, and then gradually lower the weight back to the starting position.
5. Not allowing the dumbbells to touch your body, raise them for the next rep.
5. Reverse Flys
The reverse fly is an excellent exercise to target the ‘posture’ muscles of the upper back, including the trapezius, the rhomboids, and the rear delts. Since you are bent over, you will need lighter weights compared to other back exercises. Here’s how to do it. Using light to medium dumbbells, start in a seated, bent over with your arms hanging downward and with dumbbells under the knees. Keep your back straight and your core engaged.
1. Lift your arms out to your sides, up to shoulder level, squeezing shoulder blades together. Do not bend your head, and instead look forward
2. Keep the elbows slightly bent and only lift to shoulders level
3. Lower and repeat the movement
4. Do the desired number of reps
There you have it, a solid shoulder workout routine. In order to work the shoulders fully, you need a variety of exercises that stimulate all three areas of the deltoid muscle. These 5 exercises do exactly that. Follow the regimen with discipline and motivation and you will have commanding shoulders before you know it.