Want to write an article?
I'm sure you've noticed by now the versatility of your shoulder muscles. You can move your arms up, down, back and forth, in circles - really anything you desire! The complexity and, in fact, the simplicity of this seamless operation is pretty astounding. But...
You know what happens with anything complex, right? Well, problems arise more quickly and easily if you don't make sure everything's working properly. If you haven't kept up, try to resist yourself at the "fastest pitch" booth at the ballpark - this is an excellent way to ensure that you have long term shoulder problems. This one event could tear a rotator cuff muscle. And believe me, rotator cuff muscles are not easily repaired, either naturally or surgically. In fact, this is how many baseball players end up leaving the game and ultimately retiring. A variety of shoulder exercises are the key to avoiding these sorts of career-ending shoulder injuries!
Are you familiar with the rotator cuff muscles? In conjunction with the deltoid (the major muscle encapsulating the shoulder joint), they're responsible for these complex movements (at least partly). Their main functions, however, are to stabalize the shoulder joint. In other words, they keep your shoulder joint intact! Although they're small, they're also extremely important. Make sure you're maintaining them! I can't stress this enough.
Here're some great reasons you should work your shoulders...
As with any other muscle group, having weak supporting muscles can lead to a plateau. Let's think about your chest - you're obviously using your deltoid and rotator cuff muscles for this motion. Having weak shoulder muscles can limit the amount you can lift, thus resulting in a plateau. This same result can occur with arm and upper back exercises. What do you think happens to your shoulder muscles when you have weak arms?
Thats right, you'll reach another plateau because your arms cannot support the weight. Your shoulder exercises will require the work of your arms, while your chest and back will require work from your shoulders. It's a delicate balance! But, when you balance everything out so that no muscle is worked too much or too little, then you're well on your way!
A man with broad shoulders is a very desirable appearance - it gets the ladies! But in all seriousness, having a good set of well-developed shoulders will make you feel better and more confident about your looks and your health. This in turn will force people to show a bit of respect. They don't want to mess with you! Haha! Sport that tank-top with style.
Ladies, although I just said all that stuff about manly man-ness, having strong shoulders is important for you also. You do all the same movements that men do! It's just the number of repetitions, amount of weight, and frequency of exercise that changes. The main task of women is to develop sleek, toned muscles that are shapely and feminine. Maxing out on shoulder exercises isn't in the way to do this. High reps, lower weights and increased frequency is a better way to develop toned, smooth-looking muscles.
Let's first consider the deltoid muscle (you know, the one that sits next to your neck at the top of your arm). The deltoid is the main muscle of the shoulder and has three basic regions: anterior, posterior and lateral. This is what allows the shoulder to perform a large variety of movements. For example, the anterior portion brings the arm to the front from the side (as in a bench press). The lateral region helps lifts the arm parallel to the ground from a resting position (as in a lateral raise). The posterior region extends the arm backwards, like in a reverse fly (or a back fly) exercise.
It is important to understand that any rotation about the shoulder joint requires the action of the rotator cuff muscles! Therefore, anytime you think about adding some "oomph" to your shoulder exercises, be sure that your rotator cuff muscles are strong and stable.
The trapezius muscle (traps) is also extremely important for shoulder health. It's the muscle that attaches to the base of theskull, the medial side of the each scapula (the part shoulder blades closest to the spine) and down the spinal column. This is the one that gives football players their characteristic thick-looking neck. The fact is that you can't work out your shoulders without working your traps, so make sure you give them some attention! Check out the page on upper back exercises to get the full scoop.
There're four basic movements you can do to achieve a full shoulder workout. These shoulder exercises don't include those that isolate the rotator cuff muscles.Top of Page
Here they are...
Anyway, this one's important because it works your entire deltoid muscle and several rotator cuff muscles. Again, do them slowly!
Back Fly or Reverse Fly: As the name implies, it's a backwards fly! Get on the fly machine and face the padding (where your back would normally rest). Adjust the handles so that they're directly in front of you. Grab on and pull outward and laterally. This one really works the posterior region of the deltoids along with a few rotator cuff muscles.
Another way to do this is to bend over at the waist so that your body is parallel with the ground. With your arms hanging down, raise your arms up to the sides so that they're also parallel with the ground. This is a reverse fly. Grab a few dumbbells and get going. Remember, slow! Shoulder exercises should not be compared with wind sprints.
Having variety in your workouts is a great way to avoid hitting that dreaded plateau. Be sure to vary the order in which you do these shoulder exercises! For example, if you did them in the same order as they're listed on this page, you won't have the energy to do the reverse fly as efficiently as possible. In other words, doing the same routine day in and day out will result in consistent "light" lifting of the last exercises. A quick plateau! You don't have to do each exercise every time you work your shoulders, but just remember which ones you didn't do the last time you did your shoulder exercises. One way to do this is to keep a training log.Top of Page
Many people will say to stay away from the machines. I personally don't think this should be the rule, but instead it should be something for you to think about. If it's putting stress on your joints, don't do it! For example, machines are comfortable for some and uncomfortable for others. If it's not comfortable, don't use it! You'll probably end up straining your body more than helping it.
There's always a comparable exercise using free weights. I do agree, however, that using free weights does give you a more complete workout because it requires more work for your body to stabilize the free weight. When you're on a machine, there's no stabilizing to be done and therefore resulting in a lesser quality workout. This is especially important in shoulder exercises because of the fragility and importance of your rotator cuff muscles. The more often you can engage the rotato cuff, the healthier the joint will be in the long term.
Here're some other tips to help you avoid injuries while doing your shoulder exercises...
So now you've got the basics of shoulder exercises down pat. In the very near future, this page will be populated with illustrations and video demonstrations on how to properly perform many different types of shoulder exercises. Bookmark this page and check back frequently!
It's super easy to follow updates by signing up for our RSS feed. The best ways to do this are to head over to the Smart Strength Training blog or you can scroll up and click the RSS feed icon just below the left-sided navigation menu.
For now, check out the pushup workouts below! Remember, anything that works your chest also potentially blasts those shoulder muscles. Give them a shot!
|Standard Pushup||Stability Ball Pushup||Resistance Tube Pushup|
|Dive Bomber Pushup||Hindu Pushup||Wobble Board Pushup|
|Diamond Pushup||One-Handed Pushups||BOSU Ball Pushup|
|Military Pushup||T Pushup||Sphinx Pushups|
|Weighted Vest Pushup w/ Hip Flexion|
Questions? Comments? Stories? Let's hear what you have to say!
TIP for Web Publishers
Set up a link to this site from your site.
Do you own your own website?
Would you like to have a link on your site so that you or your visitors could easily get to this site?
If so, here is the text link code (just copy and paste the code onto whichever page on your site that you
wish to set up the link).
Aside from the aesthetic factor, there are lots of reasons we should consider arm workouts.
So you want those six pack abs? Let's get started!
It's great that people are setting goals for themselves and really going for it - I have no problems with that scenario. The only issue I have is the...
For those of you who've already made a decision to take muscle-building supplements, this page is for you. I'll provide you the best information possible on supplements that have....