What do high-fives, taking down Christmas ornaments, and slamming the car door all have in common? How about shooting a basketball, passing the vat of mashed potatoes, and pushing your little sister in the pool? Well one thing they all have in common is the muscles you use—your shoulders and upper back!
The ease of our everyday movements is often dictated by the strength and flexibility of our shoulders. Building strength and flexibility is vital for successfully performing these trivial movements, let alone bearing any major weight while lifting.
To increase your range of motion and muscle mass be sure to do exercises that are dynamic and incorporate other muscle groups, like back or core for a more well-rounded and effective workout. And since the deltoids are easily injured by way of trying to build them up, start low in the poundage and work your way up into higher weights as you are confident and comfortable. Here are a few of our favorites that you can try working into your routine and sculpt your own soldier shoulders!
This is hitting the ground running and burning those shoulders and back with one fell swing! With your knees bent, start by holding the weight with both hands at the resting position at your hips. Then slowly lift the weight to just about eye level keeping a slight spring in your knees. Choose a weight that would be challenging to complete 15 reps.
To make this move even more challenging and a more full-body workout add in a bosu ball after one set of the vertical lifts. Lay with your lower back on the ball and with arms out straight twist one way and then the other.
This exercise strengthens those pesky rotator cuffs we hear so much about. Rotator cuff injury is such a common problem for people who move their arms in overhead or behind the body motions and is something we all are at risk for. Building up the strength and flexibility in this region is extremely important.
Start with your knees slightly bent in an athletic stance with a light dumbbell in your right hand. Begin with the right thumb across your body, touching your left hip. And with your arm straight and strong the whole time, slowly lift the right arm up, out, and overhead to the opposite corner. It is as if you are drawing a sword. To add in some oblique strength and a small twist at the starting position.
Dumbell Shoulder Press
This one targets the deltoids directly and will leave your shoulders happily aching the next day. Good luck washing your hair, but your tank tops will thank you!
Again, choose a weight that will be tough by rep 14 or 15. Stand in that athletic, buoyant stance and a dumbbell in each hand, palms out, and hands up by your ears. Your thumbs should be closest to your head. From here, press your arms up straight over head. Remember to tuck your tailbone as to not create a severe curve in the lower back. To help this and protect your low back, focus on engaging your entire core as you press.
Hope you enjoy the shoulder sculpting tips! Let us know how we can make your next workout even better and feel free to share any advice that works for you.