The shoulders are a powerful but sensitive muscle group. The muscles in the shoulder girdle include the rotator cuff muscles, trapezius, rhomboids, serratus anterior, levator scapulae, and pectoralis minor. Many people think that the deltoids are the only muscles of the shoulder, but that is not true. There are many other muscles that act on the shoulder joint, including the latissimus dorsi, commonly referred to as the “lats.” Each of these muscles acts to move your shoulder in one of the following ways: flexion, extension, internal rotation, external rotation, adduction, and abduction. As you can see, the shoulder is a complex area that requires a lot of synergy within the body.
Due to the shallowness of the ball-and-socket joint of your shoulder, the shoulder joints don’t have as much bony support as your hip joint (the other ball-and-socket joint in your body). Therefore, the shoulder needs more muscular support to maintain its stability. Without that muscular support, the shoulder is prone to injuries such as dislocation. Furthermore, most people have internally rotated shoulders as a result of sitting for prolonged periods of time. This restricts the range of motion that the shoulder should naturally have and therefore puts the shoulder joint at more risk for injury. Thus, it is very important to work on your shoulder mobility and also the stability of the muscles supporting the shoulder joint. Mobility precedes stability. That means you’ll want to work on making sure you have full shoulder range of motion before beginning your weightlifting routine—one way to do this is by warming up the shoulders with the warm- up movements in this article.
Before You Lift:
Remember to keep your core engaged while executing the movements in this article. You can also perform each of these movements in front of a mirror, or record yourself, to double-check your form.
CROSS-BODY ARM SWING
This movement will help increase blood flow to your shoulder joint. Before performing any shoulder exercises, you want to make sure your joints are sufficiently lubricated to avoid injury.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms straight out to your sides in a T-formation.
- Swing your arms forward so that one arm crosses in front of the other in the center of your body.
- Return your arms to the outstretched, open position. Repeat, swinging your arms forward, then back out to your sides at chest height.
This stretch is very helpful for increasing your shoulder mobility. It also helps combat the internal rotation of the shoulder (also known as rounding) that most people have as a result of sitting most of the day.
- Stand against a wall with your butt in contact with the wall and your rib cage down.
- Bring your arms up onto the wall, with your elbows at shoulder height and bent at a 90-degree angle, creating a goal post with your arms.
- Slowly reach your arms up while trying to maintain contact with the wall until your elbows are straight and your hands are above your head.
- Lower your hands back down so that you return to the starting position with your elbows at a 90-degree angle.
ADDITIONAL MUSCLES WORKED: Biceps
This movement is one of the fundamental movement patterns that humans develop from birth. It’s one of the most common vertical press movements but should not be performed if you have a shoulder injury or have limited range of motion in your shoulders.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding dumbbells in your hands, or a barbell in both hands, and palms out.
- Bring your elbows to shoulder height and align your wrists above your elbows, creating a 90-degree angle with your elbows.
- Press the weights above your head and fully extend the elbows.
- Return your arms to the starting position.
Lift Safely: Do not arch your lower back as you press the weights into the air. Keep your rib cage down and your neck neutral as you press the weights overhead.
Make It Easier: Press one dumbbell at a time into the air to require less core engagement.
Home Workout Hack: Perform this exercise using a resistance band. Simply stand on the band and press the handles over your head. Standing on the band with two feet will create more resistance than if you stand on the band with one foot.
ADDITIONAL MUSCLES WORKED: Forearms
This exercise is very effective for working all three heads of your deltoid muscle, which is found in the top of your shoulder.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding the dumbbells in front of you and your palms down.
- Raise your arms straight up in front of you to bring the dumbbells to shoulder height.
- Keeping the dumbbells at shoulder height, extend your arms laterally (out to your sides) to form a T.
- Lower both arms straight back down to the sides of your body.
- Raise your arms straight up laterally, stopping when your hands are at the same height as your shoulders, to form that T.
- Keeping the dumbbells at shoulder height, bring your arms together in the center of your body while keeping your arms straight.
- Lower both arms back down along the front of your torso to bring the dumbbells back to the starting position.
Life Safely: Do not arch your lower back as you perform this movement. Do not raise your hands past the height of your shoulders at any point during this exercise.
Home Workout Hack: You can use resistance bands to perform this movement.
Make It Easier: Perform lateral raises and/or front raises instead of the full Iron Cross. Front raises are the first part of the movement. (Raise the weights to shoulder height and then lower them back down to your waist.) Lateral raises are the second half of the movement. (Raise your arms laterally with a slight bend in your elbows and then lower the weights back down by your sides.)
ADDITIONAL MUSCLES WORKED: Biceps
This exercise targets small muscle groups of the shoulder that are different from the ones worked in the previous two exercises. It is a frontal plane movement that focuses more on the front and middle of your shoulders. This movement is popular among bodybuilders to help create more definition in the shoulders. It is not recommended if you don’t have good posture or healthy shoulders. Consider a more functional exercise, like the ones mention previously, if you have any contraindications.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding dumbbells, or a barbell, in front of your body at your thighs, hands shoulder-width apart, and with your palms turned toward your body.
- Raise the weights up to the height of your chest by bending your elbows. Imagine yourself trying to create the shape of a clothes hanger with your elbows.
- Return your arms to the starting position, keeping the weights close to your body throughout the movement.
Lift Safely: Do not arch your lower back as you perform this exercise. Stop if you feel any pinching or discomfort in the front of your shoulder. Think about squeezing your shoulder blades together on your back as you raise the weights up to chest height—similar to a wide row. This will help reduce some of the strain caused by the internal rotation of the shoulders.
Make It Easier: Lift one dumbbell at a time instead of simultaneously.
Home Workout Hack: You can do this exercise with a resistance band.
Just as it is important to warm up the shoulder joint, it is important to stretch out the joint post-workout to return the muscles to their original lengths. This will help you maintain proper joint range of motion.
- Stand with your arms at your sides.
- Raise one arm up and cross it to the other side of your body while keeping the arm straight.
- Take the opposite hand and grasp the arm crossing your body just beyond the elbow.
- Pull the arm toward your torso so that you feel a stretch in your shoulder and triceps.
- Release and repeat on the opposite side.
Do You Have to Take Supplements with Shoulders Training?
Some people might use natural fat burners as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle to increase metabolism or decrease appetite. When combined with a healthy diet, it will further increase the loss of excess body fat – and may also have other beneficial effects.
Resurge is of the most popular weight loss supplements that promise to help you shed pounds and sleep better. Because studies have shown that sleep deprivation is associated with deficiencies of growth hormone and elevated levels of cortisol, both of which contribute to obesity.
While other supplements promote nutritional factors, meal replacement forms, appetite suppression, or similar effects, Resurge boosts your body’s metabolism by increasing your core temperature. However, before making any purchases, you might want to read some Resurge reviews because the supplement industry is rife with scams.
Besides, it should be noted that supplements are ineffective on their own and are hardly a solution to obesity. Pills or supplements only work when combined with a healthy weight-loss diet and regular exercise.
In any case, it’s always best to talk with your doctor before you start taking a supplement, especially if you are taking medications or have any health concerns.