Let’s talk about an oft-forgotten part of the body that many people overlook when focusing on their upper-body strength training. The shoulder.
When doing arm exercises, the old saying rings true; “a system is only as strong as its weakest link.” That weakest link could be your shoulders if you aren’t paying enough attention to them. In the shoulders, the weakest link is the stabilization system, which is the rotator cuff. If you believe you have a rotator cuff injury, then you should avoid these shoulder workouts and focus rather on rotator cuff exercises and stretches.
Here are a few useful exercises that can strengthen that part of your body:
Dumbbell Front Raises
Front deltoid raises isolate the anterior (front) deltoids. The anterior deltoids get a lot of work with chest exercises so it is important to avoid overworking them. If you overwork the anterior deltoids you may build your body out of proportion.
- Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at your hips with your arms relaxed. Make sure you stand with optimal posture, meaning your glutes are contracted and your core is drawn in.
- Next, keep your arms either completely straight or preferably slightly bent. Take a deep breath and lift the weights outwards to a position directly in front of your shoulders.
- The dumbbells should come together at the end. Pause for a split second and slowly lower them to the original position.
Low Cable Rear Raises
Your rear deltoids are very weak compared to your other parts of your shoulders. This is due to the structure of your body as well as poor posture and exercise selection.
The low cable allows for a more complete muscular contraction compared to dumbbells. This is because the resistance is constant for the duration of the motion.
- Position the cables to the lowest position. If you are using a free motion machine the arms should be at the setting one above the lowest one.
- Grab each handle with the opposite arm. It is very important to use a light weight and keep your arms in the same slightly bent position for the duration of the movement.
- Take a deep breath, keeping your glutes tight and your core drawn in and raise your arms up as you bring them back to a position which is in line with your shoulders out to the side. Hold for a split second and return to the original position exactly as you raised them.
Tube Lateral Raises with Circles
The tube lateral raise with bi-directional circles finisher is a great way to polish off the best shoulder workout. It completely isolates your medial (middle) deltoids in the most difficult part of the shoulders to tone.
- Grab a relatively light surgical tube or bungee cord and stand directly in the middle with only 1 foot. This will ensure you get equal resistance with both shoulders.
- Hold the handles directly at your sides. Keep your arms almost straight but slightly bent. Slightly internally rotate your upper arms so your thumbs are tilted towards your body.
- It is important to keep your arms internally rotated as you raise your arms directly out to the side. Stop when your fists are at shoulder level.
- Perform a preferred number of clockwise circles and then the same number of counterclockwise circles. Lower your arms back down all the way to your sides and repeat.
If you incorporate these exercises into your upper body workout, you will be able to tell a difference in the amount of weight you can sustain in a strength-building workout.