Having strong shoulders not only looks great but also helps you with everyday life lifting and working.
It promotes higher bone density, which will help prevent osteoporosis and other health problems in your later years.
Your shoulder has three major parts, the trapezius, the deltoid and the rotator cuff.
It is important to try to work all three-muscle groups for overall flexibility and strength.
So let’s look at some exercises to improve your shoulder strength
Primarily works the trapezius muscles of the shoulder.
Shrugs are the most basic shoulder weight exercises, and they are effective in building strength but can also be a great warm-up exercise for a shoulder workout.
A good way to shrug for warm-ups is to get either a light set of barbells – 5-10 lbs. each or a lighter barbell – 15lbs or less.
Hold the weights at your thigh level and just shrug your shoulders up and down.
For warming up, try doing the shrug 20 times. Once your shoulders start to loosen up, you can add a little more weight.
Often times, the shoulder is one of the body’s weaker muscles, so in the beginning, you won’t be able to add that much weight. This is normal and is no reflection on your overall strength.
Try to use a weight that allows you to do three sets of 15 shrugs for best results.
Works the trapezius and deltoid muscles.
Shoulder presses can be done with free weights or machines.
Free weights will give you the best results.
Start with lighter weights again so you can see where your strength is.
Five to twenty pounds per dumbbell will work for most people in the beginning.
To start the shoulder press, hold your dumbbells or a barbell against your chest with your elbows as straightforward as you can get them.
Without dipping your body at all, press the dumbbells or barbell straight over your head and lock your arms.
Then come down and repeat. Three sets of 10 to 15 presses will work great.
Works the deltoid and rotator cuff muscles
This exercise will give you that nice-looking shoulder muscle right above your biceps.
There are two approaches to lateral raises.
You can either do a lot of reps with very light weights and keep going to failure, or you can use very heavy weights and do a limited number of sets.
Either way, you should rotate doing these exercises this way, so you constantly keep your muscles guessing.
If you are starting with the lighter weight approach, use dumbbells that are between three and ten pounds each.
Hold the dumbbells at your thighs and raise them, keeping your arms straight at all times, so they are just below parallel to your shoulders.
Keep repeating the exercise until you can’t complete another rep.
You can alternate raising your arms at your sides as well to work the side portions of your rotator cuff and deltoid.
Just do them to failure.
If you do the heavier weight approach, use dumbbells that are ten to thirty pounds each depending on your shoulder strength.
You should not be able to complete more than eight reps at a time.
Try to do three solid sets of the heavier weight and then do them with your arms to your sides.
Works the rotator cuff, deltoid, forearms and biceps
The upright row can be done with two dumbbells, one barbell or even a kettlebell.
A barbell is the best and easiest way to start with this exercise.
The barbell does not need to be that heavy for this exercise to be effective.
Start holding the barbell at your thighs.
Your grip should be in the middle with your hands touching.
If your hands are spread too far apart, you can injure your wrist.
Pull the bar up to your chest, bending your arms, so they end up in a “v” shape.
Three sets of 12 reps will be plenty on this one.
After a good shoulder workout, it’s a good idea to stretch the shoulders.
Most trainers will be able to give you one or two stretches that can be done right at the health club or even at home.