good shoulder workouts for men and womenGood shoulder workouts, Make the man…

You see, without a good set of deltoids, the correct name for the major muscles of your shoulders, clothes just don’t fit right which helps explain why suits and jackets often have shoulder pads!

A broad, properly proportioned pair of shoulders makes it obvious you hit the gym – even in your normal street clothes, and well-developed shoulders are also likely to be more functional while being resistant to injury. However, poor exercise choice and lack of appropriate stretching and mobility can leave your shoulders in a heck of a mess and once your shoulders start to act up, many activities can become painful and even impossible. Just as painful knees make most lower body exercises all but impossible, shoulder issues will affect most if not all upper body movements.

The deltoids, named after the Greek letter delta which is shaped like a kite, are for all intents and purposes three separate muscles that work together but can also be emphasized individually. Your deltoids are not unlike natural American football shoulder pads that overlap to cup your shoulder joint.

Anterior deltoid – located on the front of your shoulder joint and the main muscle in overhead presses and front raises.

Medial deltoid – located on the side of your shoulder joint and also called lateral deltoid in some texts. This muscle is the focus of side raises.

Posterior deltoid – located on the back of your shoulder, this muscle is often overlooked as it is out of sight and therefore out mind but its main job is extending your arm behind you.

To develop well-rounded shoulders, it is important to work them from a variety of angles. This ensures that each of the aforementioned heads gets at least some attention. Focusing excessively on the anterior deltoid by doing nothing but pressing for your shoulders can result in a shoulder muscle imbalance which may, in turn, affect shoulder joint function and may even lead to injury.

Here are two different but well-balanced shoulder workouts for you to try…

Workout one – Barbell only shoulder workout – Good Shoulder Workouts

Perform two to four sets of 8 to 12 repetitions of each of the following exercises. Rest 60 to 90-seconds between sets.

Barbell Bradford press
Targets: Entire deltoid region with an emphasis on anterior deltoid
How to perform: Using a shoulder-width, overhand grip, rest and hold a barbell across the front of your shoulders. Press the weight up and over your head and then lower it behind your neck. The bar should only just clear the top of your skull. Immediately press the bar back up and over and return it to the front of your shoulders.

Barbell upright rows
Targets: Entire deltoid region with an emphasis on medial deltoids
How to perform: Grip your barbell with an overhand hip-width grip and stand with your knees slightly bent for extra stability. Lift your chest and pull your shoulders down and back. Leading with your elbows, pull the barbell up the front of your body until it is just below your chin. Lower the weight and repeat.

Barbell wide grip row to chest
Targets: Posterior deltoids
How to perform: Grip your barbell with a wider-than shoulder-width grip. Bend your knees and hinge forward from your hips so that, without rounding your lower back, your torso is inclined to around 45-degrees. Leading with your elbows, pull the bar up and into your chest; squeeze your elbows together. Lower the bar slowly and repeat.

Workout two – Dumbbell only shoulder workout – Good Shoulder Workouts

Perform two to four sets of 8 to 12 repetitions of each of the following exercises. Rest 60 to 90-seconds between sets.

Batwings
Targets: Posterior deltoids
How to perform: With a dumbbell in each hand, lay face down on a flat or slightly inclined exercise bench so your head is not supported by the bench top.  Keeping your neck properly aligned, bend your arms and, leading with your elbows, pull the weights up and into your armpits. Hold this position (but not your breath) for 30 or more seconds. Keep your shoulders pulled tightly back throughout but do not allow your shoulders to shrug upwards.

Lean away side laterals
Targets: Medial deltoids
How to perform: With a single dumbbell in your hand, grab hold of a sturdy upright pole and lean away from it so your body is inclined to around 15 to 20-degrees. Let the dumbbell hang straight down vertically from your shoulder. Without swinging, raise the dumbbell up and out to shoulder-height and then lower it gain. Do an identical number of reps on each side.

Surfboard press
Targets: Entire deltoid region with an emphasis on anterior deltoid
How to perform: Hold a dumbbell so that it is standing vertically in the palm of your hand at shoulder-level. Place your other hand on top for balance. Press the dumbbell up and over your head so that it now rests on your opposite shoulder. The dumbbell should describe an arc as it travels over your head. Continue switching sides for the duration of your set. This exercise can be performed seated or standing.

Strong shoulders not only look good but they are more resistant to injury and perform better. Dedicating one training session per week to your shoulders makes not just aesthetic sense but functional sense too.

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