Fitness Tips

Shrug Your Shoulders Proudly with These 3 Exercises

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Every person will need strong and stable shoulders to look and feel their best. Indeed, these are necessary to perform at your best level because the shoulders act as the anchors for your upper body! No wonder then that the shoulder-dedicated equipment and machines at a David Barton Gym can be full with men and women working their shoulders.

And when we say “every person”, we also mean everybody from the professional bodybuilders and weightlifters to the gymnasts and CrossFit enthusiast!

But not all exercises touted to increase the muscle mass and strength of the shoulders will deliver best results. Here are the most effective but you must be up to the challenge because these are demanding exercises, a few of which also work many other muscle groups.

Battle Ropes

The battle ropes are a surprising choice for better shoulders but these work well, if and when you know how to use them for this purpose.  These work in several ways, namely:

  • By placing intense physical demands on the rotator cuffs and heads of the shoulders, thus, giving these oft-neglected parts more attention;
  • By being either your killer warm-up exercise or your intense pre-exhaust exercise; and
  • By working either just one or a few major muscle groups simultaneously while also adding to the calories burned

But the battle ropes can be a challenging equipment for beginners. Your first step then is to learn handling them with ease, usually by starting at a slow yet steady rhythm. When you are confident in handling them, you can adopt the more complex workouts.

A shoulder-suitable workout should include three rounds consisting of 30 seconds each round. You should ideally increase the intensity with each set, which will be an excellent way to prepare for your weightlifting session.

But don’t stop with the shoulder-dedicated battle ropes workout either. You may want to consider other workouts that develop your core muscles, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. These include burpees, double wave with double push-ups, single-arm front wave combined with jump squats, and double-arm crisscross.

Standing Barbell Press

The classic nature of the standing barbell press may have contributed to its backseat position in relation to other shoulder-suitable exercises. But when you come to think of its benefits, you will likely agree that it should be included in your workout.  The exercises demands more mobility, as well as aid in the development of delts, glutes and core muscles.

Even your legs will benefit because of the standing position of the barbell press – your legs should be used in controlling the weight. But be careful about using your legs in providing the movement with momentum. If you use it for momentum, you’re not just reducing the efficacy of the move for your shoulders but you’re also increasing your risk for injury.

A few tips to remember in standing barbell press for shoulder development:

  • Lift with lighter sets first as warm-up.
  • Always pay attention to your form and technique, whether you’re going light or heavy on the weights.
  • Limit the number of reps per set since there’s little to be gained if you choose heavy singles; 5-6 reps per set should be sufficient for the job.
  • Avoid locking out the barbell at the top of the movement. The focus will then be on your delts instead of your triceps.

You may also add other exercises before or after you have completed standing barbell press, especially the ones that also develop the arms.  These include seated dumbbell press, side lateral raise, front two-dumbbell raise, seated bent-over rear delt raise, and seated triceps press.

Reverse Pec-Deck

The reverse pec-deck is a favorite exercise for the rear delts because it’s simpler but it’s just as effective as face pulls, bent-over lateral raise, and cable rear-delt raise.  The trick here is in performing it with the correct form and technique, doing the right number of reps and sets, and selecting the appropriate volume for your goals.

When you’re performing the exercise, you have to keep the muscle tension focused on your rear delts throughout its entirety.  You should also maximize the squeeze element during the top phase and prolong the rep performance as much as you can. You can achieve both because you will be working on a machine for the reverse pec-deck.

If you can, you must also use the backs of your hands in separating the handles rather than holding them. If you focus on it, you can even feel the movement’s emphasis on the rear delts, a convenient element since you can’t see them while you work out.

No matter which weight training exercise you choose, you should always be conscious about your proper form and technique.  This isn’t just a matter of performing at your best – and looking and feeling it – but, more importantly, it’s about maximizing the results and minimizing the risks.  Your stronger, larger and more stable shoulders will thank you for it, too!