Sculpted shoulders are the perfect accessory for any occasion (just ask Michelle O). But more than that, a shoulder workout can help prevent future injuries.
Any movement that you don’t regularly do, from swinging a tennis racket to trying to place a book onto the top shelf can cause a shoulder injury, especially if the shoulders are weak. Strong shoulders look great, but they’re also important because you don’t want to end up wearing a brace after a weekend of bowling with friends.
A lot of people just work one part of their shoulder, but shoulders actually have three main parts—the front, middle, and back. To target all three sections, here are three effective exercises to get you on your way to strong, sexy shoulders.
Many of us are guilty of neglecting the back of our shoulders. A great exercise for the back of your shoulders is the “Rear Deltoid Pull”.
1. Rear Deltoid Pull
Start by placing a Thera-Band underneath one hand and grabbing it with the other. Then raise your body up into a plank position making sure that you are aligned in a straight line from you head to your feet. Slowly pull the band, raising your arm until it is level with your back and then return it to the starting position.
Try to complete three sets of 12 repetitions on each side for a count of four seconds per each repetition. If you find it difficult to hold the plank while completing the arm raise, bring your knees down to the ground for a modified position. Don’t forget to try to hold the plank for as long as you can for an added core-strengthening bonus.
2. Raise and Press
To really target that middle shoulder, try the “Raise and Press” with a pair of small dumbbells. Start by standing with your feet about shoulder width apart, tightening your abs and making sure your back is not over-arched. With your elbows slightly bent, bring the dumbbells up with the palms of your hands facing down.
Once your hands are level with your shoulders, bent your arms inward and press the dumbbells upward.
Gradually, reverse the motion by bring your arms back down into the bent position, straightening them out, and bringing them back to the outside of your thighs.
Aim for three sets of 12 repetitions, with each repetition lasting six seconds going up, and another six coming back down. If you’re not used to using additional weight, try this exercise using just your arm weight.
3. Lift and Split
Using the same set of dumbbells and starting position from the “Raise and Press”, bring you arms down to the front of your thighs keeping the elbows soft. Lift both arms up, with the palms facing the ground, until your hands are level with your shoulders.
Once you have reached this position, split your arms, pulling them away from each other until they are perpendicular to your torso.
In a continuous motion bring your arms down and back to the starting position. Just as with the “Raise and Press” try to complete three sets of 12 repetitions, with each repetition lasting six seconds going up, and another six coming back down. Focus on form and avoid rushing through the exercises to avoid unwanted injury.
*As with any exercise, make sure to complete a five to fifteen minute warm up before attempting these exercises and don’t forget to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.