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Articles > Weight Training > Shoulders, Shoulders and More Shoulder
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You might ask yourself why you should workout your shoulders? Aside from looking great, your shoulders are involved in just about everything you do so exercising them will make daily functioning that much easier. In addition, your training program should target ALL of your muscle groups, so make sure your routine is well rounded.

Shoulders are a very complex muscle group to train. To simplify your comprehension of these muscles, we will divide this area into three parts: the front deltoids, the side or middle deltoids, and the rear deltoids.

It's like with any other muscle group; a well-balanced workout focusing on all three parts of your shoulders will increase muscle growth and muscle definition. Also, remember to keep your diet in check in order to raise your likelihood of developing well-rounded, buff shoulders.

How Often Should You Train Your Shoulders?

Like all muscles in your body, you can perform shoulder exercises up to three non-consecutive days a week. If you're lifting heavy weights, (enough that you can only complete six to eight repetitions) you'll need at least two days of rest before you perform the exercise again. For this reason, you may only work your shoulders once or twice a week. If you're goal is toning, stick with one to three sets of 12-16 repetitions and at least one day of rest before you perform the exercises again. Keep in mind that you will use your shoulders when performing chest and back exercises, so it's recommended you do those exercises first.

Shoulder Exercises

Front Dumbbell Raises (Front Deltoids)
1. May be performed in a standing or sitting positions. Be sure that if you are seated your back is straight; if standing your knees are slightly bent to protect your lower back. This movement may be performed using a bar, just follow the same steps with the bar in mind if needed.
2. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand. Raise one arm directly in front of yourself in an arc direction.
3. Stop once your hand has reached your shoulder level. Simultaneously, raise the other arm in the same movement as you lower the raised arm down to the starting position at your side.
4. Be sure not to swing your body in this exercise, let your shoulders do the work.

Tip: This is an excellent movement for isolating the front deltoids. Once again, DO NOT swing the weight up, carefully muscle it up! While performing this exercise, try to imagine that you are lifting the weight by a string connected to your elbow! Really.. picture that area lifting rather than your forearms..and you will feel the difference!

Front Dumbbell Raises (Front Deltoids)
1. May be performed in a standing or sitting positions. Be sure that if you are seated your back is straight; if standing your knees are slightly bent to protect your lower back. This movement may be performed using a bar, just follow the same steps with the bar in mind if needed.
2. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand. Raise one arm directly in front of yourself in an arc direction.
3. Stop once your hand has reached your shoulder level. Simultaneously, raise the other arm in the same movement as you lower the raised arm down to the starting position at your side.
4. Be sure not to swing your body in this exercise, let your shoulders do the work.

Tip: This is an excellent movement for isolating the front deltoids. Once again, DO NOT swing the weight up, carefully muscle it up! While performing this exercise, try to imagine that you are lifting the weight by a string connected to your elbow! Really.. picture that area lifting rather than your forearms..and you will feel the difference!

Military Press (Front Deltoids)
1. This movement should be performed in a seated position, preferably with back support. Grasp a barbell and raise it to your upper chest. Use an underhand grip, supporting the bar from underneath. Your grip should be wider than shoulder width.
2. Press the barbell straight up, stopping right before your elbows would lock out.
3. Contract the shoulder muscles involved, then lower the weight to the starting position on the upper part of your chest.
4. Try to keep your elbows slightly forward in this movement.

Tip: This is a very basic exercise for the shoulders and is quite effective once performed correctly. If the poundage's handled for this movement is heavy, be sure to have your elbows slightly forward to avoid injury. Also, it is recommended that you use a thumb less grip to avoid allowing your forearms to do the work.

Standing Lateral Raises (Side Deltoids)
1. May be performed in a standing or sitting positions. Be sure that if you are seated your back is straight; if standing your knees are slightly bent to protect your lower back.
2. In a seated position; grasp a dumbbell in each hand. Keep the dumbbells at hanging straight down at your sides.
3. Simultaneously, raise the dumbbells directly to your sides. Be sure to turn your palm facing down, and have your elbows slightly bent. Once your hand, elbow and shoulder form a parallel line, pause and hold for a second.
4. Next, lower the dumbbells to your sides.

Tip: This is an excellent movement for isolating the side deltoids. Once again, DO NOT swing the weight up, carefully muscle it up! While performing this exercise, be sure NOT TO turn your thumbs down at the top of the movement. This is an un-natural position for your shoulders to be in and leads to injury in the rotator cuff region. Remember, since your elbows are slightly bent, you will be bringing the weights slightly forward.

One-Arm Cross-Cable Laterals (Side Deltoids)
1. This movement is only possible with a cable that is attached at the ground level. If there is no access to this piece of equipment, please use a dumbbell.
2. In a standing position, knees slightly bent; grasp the handle to the cable with your hand, which is opposite to the handle's origin. Place the other hand on the machine for balance or on your hip.
3. Carefully, with your elbow locked at a slight angle, lift in an arc with your arm straight to your side. Once your hand, elbow and shoulder are in line, pause for a second.
4. Next, lower the weight back to the starting position.

Tip: This is an excellent movement for isolating the side deltoids. Once again, DO NOT swing the weight up, carefully muscle it up! It is important to note that since you are using a cable, there is constant tension on the muscle.. so perform the exercise slowly. While performing this exercise, be sure NOT TO turn your thumbs down at the top of the movement. This is an un-natural position for your shoulders to be in and leads to injury in the rotator cuff region. Remember, since your elbows are slightly bent, you will be bringing the weights slightly forward. Good Luck!

Bent-Over Dumbbell Laterals (Rear Deltoids)
1. This movement may be performed in a seated or standing position. Please be sure to rotate the variations.
2. Either sitting or standing, grasp a dumbbell in each hand and bend forward from your waist. Bring the dumbbells together in front of you, keeping your elbows slightly bent.
3. Now keeping a strict form, raise the dumbbells to either side, be sure to keep your palms facing down. Pause, and contract your rear deltoids together.
4. Slowly, lower the weight back to the starting position.

Tip: This is an excellent movement for isolating the rear deltoids. Once again, this is a movement that really isolates the muscle at work, so be sure to use a slow and control method of execution. Once again, DO NOT swing the weight up, carefully muscle it up! Good Luck! I recommend that once in a seated position, keep your knees together, and when in a standing position, keep your knees bent. Also it is important in this exercise to keep your head up! Do not look down or bend your head down to the floor when at the top of the movement.

Bent-Over Cable Laterals (Rear Deltoids)
1. This movement is performed in a bent-over standing position. You will need access to cables, otherwise use dumbbells.
2. Stand between two cables that are attached at the floor level. Keep a wide stance to keep balance. Grasp a handle in each hand; your left hand holding the right cable and your right hand holding the left cable. This will cross your hands in front of you. Bend forward.
3. Now keeping a strict form, pull each cable simultaneously straight out to your sides. Be sure to pause and contract the rear deltoids at the top.
4. Slowly, lower the weight back to the starting position.

Tip: This is an excellent movement for isolating the rear deltoids. Once again, this is a movement that really isolates the muscle at work, so be sure to use a slow and control method of execution. Once again, DO NOT swing the weight up, carefully muscle it up! I recommend that you be sure that you do not bring the cable to your front or back, but directly to your sides.. this way you will isolate the rear deltoids rather than the side of front deltoids.

 

Related Articles
Preventing Shoulder Injuries
Shoulder Workout for Delts and Traps
Simple Yet Effective Shoulder Routine

 


 


 
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