Bolder Shoulders

Nothing adds symmetry to the body better than a great set of shoulders! Unfortunately, people tend to train only the part they can see: the front and the side. This causes you to neglect the important posterior and deep stabilizers (rotator cuff). You need to have good muscle balance for proper function and injury prevention. The following three exercises not only improve the look of your shoulders but also how the shoulders function.

For gaining muscle mass it’s hard to beat the Overhead Press. I like it performed in a neutral grip, so it not only develops size but is also a functional movement that minimizing stress to the joint. A Reverse Fly is a great way to train the rear deltoid, which will create balance and symmetry to the muscular development. Finally, the Sword Draw trains the rotator cuff with a full range of motion, thereby strengthening the external rotators of the joint.

Training the external rotators could be considered pre-habilitation training since you’re training to prevent injury. The infraspinatus of the rotator cuff is responsible for externally rotating the shoulder and is easily overcome by the powerful internal rotators, the Latissiumus Dorsi and Pectoralis Major; this is why it’s an important shoulder area to strengthen.

Perform the following exercises as a mini shoulder circuit, completing 8-12 reps of all three before resting. Repeat for 3 sets.

  1. Overhead Press:
    1. Hold a set of dumbbells in front of your shoulders, elbows facing forward and hands facing inwards
    2. Contract your abdominal muscles and soften your knees
    3. Press the dumbbells directly overhead while maintaining your elbows forward
    4. Slowly return to the start position.
  1. Reverse Fly:
    1. Stand in a staggered-leg stance with your left leg forward and right leg back. Bend forward to 45-90 degrees and keep both knees bent
    2. Place your left hand on your left thigh and hold a light dumbbell in your right hand, arm straight, & directly below your shoulder
    3. Raise the hand directly to the side, while maintaining a soft elbow. The arm should stay ‘rounded’. Stop when the hand is level with the shoulder.
    4. Slowly return to start position.
  2. Sword Draw:
    1. Attach a resistance tube at waist height and stand in a staggered stance, left leg forward, right leg back, holding the handle in the right hand.
    2. Slowly draw the hand back and upwards. (like half of a Y in YMCA). The thumb finishes out to the side level with the head
    3. Slowly return to start position.
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