Everyone dreams of having strong, defined shoulders. Luckily, for most people the shoulders develop rather fast since they are a larger muscle group and a primary mover.
Highly toned, defined shoulders look great in clothing. But, more importantly, strong shoulders promote good posture and evoke confidence through a stronger presence. A strong, upright posture is synonymous with strength of inner character as well as outer physicality.
Your shoulders, or the deltoids as they are commonly referred to, is a large, three headed triangular muscle. The shoulder begins at the clavicle and scapula at the rear of the shoulder and runs down to its insertion point in the upper arm. The three muscles or heads of the shoulder are the anterior (front) head, the medial (side) head and the posterior (rear) head. The trapezius or traps are connected to the shoulder and accentuate good shoulder development. The traps are the visual center of the upper back and connect directly to the upper shoulder.
What you are looking for in shoulder development is a more rounded basketball effect with great side deltoid development. There are basically only two movements which directly work the shoulder. Lateral movements where the arms move away from the body either to the front, side or rear. And, shoulder press in which you press the arms upward over your head.
Deltoids, being a large muscle group, respond expediently to heavy weight. I prefer to go heavy on the presses and lighter on the laterals. Most people want full, rounded shoulders, but they also want them sculpted and defined. In going heavy on the presses and light on the laterals (more reps) you will achieve that look. Let’s begin with the best shoulder building exercise there is, the traditional shoulder press.
Start seated or standing in the bent arm position. You can do this exercise with a bar, dumbbells or a shoulder machine. I prefer to use a combination of all three while focusing more on the free weights. Free weights conform to your body type and also allow for weak point training. If you choose to stand make sure one foot is farther back than the other for support and to protect the lower back. Raise the weight over your head as you straighten the arms. Bring the weight back down so the arms are bent at 90 degrees. If you are using dumbbells bring them together at the top for more of a squeeze. Try to do 3 to 5 sets of 10-15 reps depending on whether you are building or toning. You should only do presses from the front of your body.
Start either seated or standing with arms by your side. You can use dumbbells, cables or a machine. If you choose to do these standing keep the knees slightly bent so you cannot cheat! Raise the weight out to your side with a 20 degree bend at the elbow no higher than eye level, to avoid rotator cuff injury. Do 2 to 3 sets of 12-20 reps depending on whether you are building or toning. I prefer to go with lighter weight and more reps on all lateral movements. Side laterals really cut up your shoulders giving you that ever sought after V indent.
Start either seated or standing with arms by your side wrists rotated 90 degrees so the back of your hand is facing forward. You can use dumbbells, cables or a barbell. Again, if standing keep the knees slightly bent. Raise the weight to eye level with a 20 degree bend at the elbow and lower. Do 2 to 3 sets of 12-20 reps depending on whether you are building or toning.
There are many exercises and variations to work the rear deltoid and it is good to hit them from as many angles as you can. You can use dumbbells or cables. Bent over dumbbell laterals are one of my favorite rear deltoid exercises. Start with knees bent 30-45 degrees, back slightly arched and dumbbells out in front of your body. Bring the dumbbells outward and back as far as you feel comfortable and then return them to the start position. Keep the dumbbells out in front of you at eye level.
Do 2 to 3 sets of 12-15 reps depending on whether you are building or toning.
This is a great exercise for the traps. You can use dumbbells, cables or a barbell. Start by standing with arms by your side and the weight in front of the body. Grip the bar and raise the weight up to no higher than your chin hold for a beat and lower. Make sure to bring the elbows back and up, towards your body, throughout the movement. Do 2 to3 sets of 12-15 reps depending on whether you are building or toning.
Follow this optimal shoulder routine and sexy, full, rounded shoulders can be yours. Alleviate shoulder padding, long sleeve shirts and droopy posture from your life. Just be careful you may end up buying a whole new wardrobe.