Whatever the season in your part of the world, it is still a perfect time of the year to work the shoulders.
You might be wanting to wear a strappy dress, vest top or simply throw on a jumper, either way if you’re looking for that confidence boost with your upper body then these 5 movements will help you rock those sexy shoulders!
Yes, it is great to do squats and lunges to work the legs and booty; however, if you want even more of an hourglass shape to get that curvy body, then creating more sculpted shoulders will help this goal.
The beauty of these movements, that if done correctly, they will also work other parts of your body which is a mega bonus to boost that confidence and help sculpt your upper body. For example, the shoulder press when worked properly will target your shoulders and triceps. The upright row will target shoulders, triceps, biceps and back. The push press will target shoulders, triceps and quads; this is a great bonus for the legs too! As you can see there are benefits to the whole body even when focusing on one area.
Let’s take a look at the 5 shoulder movements.
1. Shoulder Press
This is a fantastic movement which I recommend that pretty much most people should incorporate into their training programme, whether it’s for mobility, strength or general body composition goals. You can use barbells, dumbbells or kettlebell, and be seated or standing. To perform, hold the weight at shoulder height, tighten the stomach muscles, push the weight upwards to the top above the head. Then after a brief pause at the top, slowly lower the weight back down to the starting position.
2. Push Press
This is a great move to get more than just the shoulders working! Using your legs to drive the weight up above your head will help you to lift a bit more and get those muscles working harder. A perfect mix for sculpting those shoulders and firing up the legs. To perform, hold the weight at shoulder height, tighten the stomach muscles, then slightly flex the hips and knees following with an explosive push upwards by extending the knees, keep torso upright, push the weight upwards with the arms to a fully extended position above the head. After a brief pause at the top, slowly lower the weight down back to the starting position.
3. Arnold Press
This is a unique movement that is named after the legend himself – Arnold Schwarzenegger. Don’t worry ladies, this doesn’t mean you will grow bulky man muscles! There is reason to include this exercise due to its effective movement pattern. It helps to target the shoulder muscles more than the traditional shoulder press. You will need to use less weight with this, but will notice a difference in how it feels. To perform, hold two dumbbells at shoulder height, your forearms perpendicular to the floor, and your palms facing you. In the same motion, press the weights up and rotate your elbows back, as if doing a normal shoulder press. In the top position your arms are up but not locked. Your palms are facing forward. After a brief pause at the top, slowly lower the weight down to the starting position.
4. Lateral Raise
This is an excellent movement to isolate the shoulder muscles. To target that area even more, focus on the tempo when performing the exercise. Take the dumbbells out to the side at a normal pace then slow it down to a count of four when bringing the weights back to the starting position. To perform, hold a dumbbell in each hand, stand upright tightening the stomach muscles. Lift the dumbbells to your side with a slight bend in the elbows and the hands slightly tilted forward as if pouring water in a glass. Continue to go up until your arms are parallel to the floor. Pause for a second at the top, then lower the dumbbells back down slowly to the starting position.
5. Upright Row
It is all too common to work the front of the shoulders, however don’t forget the other side! The upright row will help to target the back of the shoulders and around the traps (part of the back) which makes it a perfect movement to work on sculpting the shoulders. To perform, hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand up straight with your arms extended by your sides with a slight bend at the elbows and your back straight. Use your side shoulders to lift the dumbbells, the dumbbells should be to the side of the body as you move them up. Continue to lift until the dumbbells are nearly in line with your chest. Pause for a second at the top of the movement, then lower the dumbbells back down slowly to the starting position.
To put the pieces together try the example workout below. Start with lighter weights and work on your technique, tempo and squeezing the muscles. Do not rush through the movement or go too heavy!
An Example Workout
If you are a beginner, start with 3 sets of 8 reps. If you have been lifting weights for quite some time work to 4 sets at first. Once you’ve reached the target amount of sets and reps see how you feel; if you still feel good do another set.
Perform the first two movements as a superset, back to back, 3 to 5 sets – 8 to 10 reps:
- Seated dumbbell shoulder press
- Seated dumbbell lateral raise
Perform the three movements as a tri-set, 3 to 5 sets – 8 to 10 reps:
- Standing dumbbell push press
- Standing one arm dumbbell Arnold press (8 to 10 reps both sides)
- Standing dumbbell upright row
There are many shoulder movements to add to a routine, but to get started, give this programme a go to get your shoulders sculpted and your confidence boosted!
What is your favourite shoulder exercise?