A lot of the strength needed for upper body resistance training comes from your shoulders! When you do push-ups, bench presses, pull-ups, and military presses, your shoulders act as secondary muscles to the primary muscles doing all the work. In order to more effectively train your upper body, you need to strengthen your shoulders! Here are a few moves to help you blast your shoulders and get them in shape:
This is NOT an easy exercise to do, but it will be amazing for your shoulders! Grab a weight plate (as heavy as you can handle), and place your back against a wall. Hold the plate at your waist, and slowly trace a circle in the air (moving clockwise) as large as you can. Move the plate to the side, up over your head, to the other side, and back down to your waist. Repeat this clockwise circle for a total of 6 reps, and do another 6 with counterclockwise movement. Your deltoid muscles will stay engaged throughout the entire movement, setting your shoulders on FIRE!
Isometric exercises focus more on endurance than strength, but they can be highly effective for developing your shoulders as secondary muscles. The handstand is a difficult exercise to do, as all of your body weight is resting on your hands and shoulders. If you can’t quite master the handstand, try the Pike Hold. Stand a large step away from the wall, place your hands on the floor, and walk your feet up the wall until they are roughly waist height (if you were standing straight). Hold this position for 30 seconds, rest, and repeat. Work until you can read the proper handstand position.
Lateral Raise with Rotation
Lateral raises are amazing for your lateral deltoids (the outer portion of your shoulder muscles), which must be trained in order to develop proper muscular balance. Grab dumbbells with your palms facing your legs, and extend your arms to raise the dumbbells to shoulder height. Now twist your palms until your thumb is facing upward, twist back to normal position, and lower. The rotation of your hands will strengthen your shoulder rotators and add a second or two of pause at the height of the exercise. It’s guaranteed to be harder than your classic lateral raises!
Thanks to the Governator, we have this amazing exercise for your shoulders! Instead of doing a dumbbell overhead press the normal way, turn your wrists at the bottom of the press so that your palms are facing your head. Twist as you press upward, so your palms face away at the top of the arc. Do two or three sets of this exercise, and you’ll feel the burn in your shoulders!
Jab and Cross Punches
Ever wondered by boxers have such powerful shoulders? It’s all thanks to those jabs and cross punches they do hundreds of times per training session! You don’t have to be a boxer to benefit from this amazing exercise, but you can do it without boxing gloves or a punching bag. Simply get into the boxer’s stance (non-dominant foot forward, hands up to protect your chin), and start throwing jabs (with your non-dominant hand) and crosses (with your dominant hand). You’ll soon feel the burn in your shoulders!
Medicine Ball Jumping Jacks
Jumping Jacks are traditionally a cardio movement, but using the medicine ball will make it EXCELLENT for your shoulders! As you perform the “jump” (with your legs extending to the side), raise the medicine ball high over your head. The rapid movement will lead to some serious muscle contraction, shredding your shoulders like a boss!