Jackie Wright: Strong, sculpted and functional shoulders
May 24, 2012
We all want strong, sculpted and functional shoulders. Exercises such as pushups and pull ups include the shoulder muscles either as movers or stabilizers, as do many other exercises such as rows and bench presses. However, it is also important to perform exercises specifically targeting the deltoids.
Therefore, perform multi-muscled exercises which include pushups and pull ups or variations thereof, but also try adding these three shoulder exercises and begin to enjoy improved shoulder strength, muscular definition and a smoothly functioning shoulder joint. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
•Perform 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions of each of these exercises two-three times per week on non-consecutive days.
• Begin without any external resistance until you have mastered the exercise. Then, you may add light to moderate levels of external resistance. One of the most common errors is to attempt to lift too much external resistance. These are small muscles which are easily injured. If you are moving your body when it is supposed to be stable, then you are really NOT lifting the external resistance.
•Begin standing with the feet hip distance apart, head/neck/shoulders in neutral, shoulders rotated back/down, rib cage lifted, navel pulled toward the spine, pelvic floor engaged, knees relaxed and the body weight in the mid-foot to the heels.
•Suspend the arms in front of the thighs, with the palms face down in front of the thighs, engage the anterior of the shoulder and lift the arms to shoulder height, then lower the arms back to the front of the thighs.
Tip: Avoid lifting the arms above shoulder height, leaning backward to lift the arms higher or hyperextending the lower spine. Remain stable throughout the exercise without using momentum or rocking the body.
• Same beginning position as the front raises above.
• Suspend the arms alongside the torso and then slightly in front of the thighs with the palms facing one another. Thumbs face forward.
• Engage the medial of the shoulder and lift the arms directly to the sides of the body with the palms facing the floor, to shoulder height only. Then, lower the arms back to the beginning position.
Tip: Avoid lifting above shoulder height or turning the palms up as you lift. Make certain to control the movement throughout the exercise, same speed each direction.
• Stagger the legs front to back, hinged approximately 15 degrees from the hip joint, front knee flexed slightly, back knee relaxed.
• Head/neck/shoulders in neutral, shoulders rotated back/down, rib cage lifted, navel pulled toward the spine, pelvic floor engaged and the knees relaxed. Torso is one straight line from the top of the head to the tailbone.
• Suspend the arms by the sides of the torso with the palms facing the wall behind you. Engage the posterior of the shoulder and lift the arms straight back approximately 20 TO 25 degrees and then return the arms back to the beginning position.
Tip: Avoid moving the wrists or elbows, both joints should be stable throughout the exercise and avoid rotating the torso toward the extending shoulder-keep the torso motionless.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com, her email at NSFGL@comcast.net, her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com and her Facebook page at Never Summer Fitness.
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