Ball and socket joints, like the shoulder, have magnificently huge range of motion (ROM). Unfortunately, this is paired with a large capacity for injury since so many muscles are involved in holding the joint in place and safely moving the limbs around it. When the muscles around the shoulder joint are properly developed and taken care of they protect the joint and minimize injury.
Include the following in your workout routine to get chiseled, yet well-balanced shoulders:
1. Warm Yourself Up and Warm Your Shoulders Up
Before you lift anything, get your core temperature up with at least 4 minutes of cardio. Prior to doing any upper body work, especially pushing exercises, it’s important to get some blood flow and movement in your shoulders. Cold muscles loaded heavily are vulnerable and do not perform well. Roll your shoulders backwards, slowly 10 times and then swing your arms up and down 10 times and across and behind you 10 times. When you start your first exercise, go very light and add weight slowly.
2. Overhead Press
The overhead press is an awesome upper body lift and far superior to its ever-popular cousin, the military press. While standing, start with the weight at your collar bone. Tighten your core and glutes while pressing the weight straight up. At the end of your lift, the weight should be directly over your head and your arms nearly covering your ears. Lower the weight back to your collar bone and repeat.
3. Face Pull
Pushing exercises are excellent for building shoulder mass, but they leave the rear deltoid, or the back of the shoulder, totally out of the picture. This shoulder imbalance is the leading cause of rotator cuff injuries amongst weight-lifters. One of the best exercises you can do to improve and maintain the integrity of your shoulder health is work your rear delts. Using a rope attachment at a pulley/cable station, set the attachment at the height of your shoulder or slightly higher. Pull the ends of the ropes toward your ears like you’re trying to cut your face in half with the rope. Make sure you are flaring your elbows out. Find a weight that is challenging at the 10th repetition and do 3 sets of 10 at least once per week.
Dips are a fantastic bodyweight exercise. They’re a compound movement that will build strong shoulders and arms. Dips can be done on parallel bars or even a bench with your arms behind you if you’re not strong enough to support your whole bodyweight yet.
Stretching your shoulders is a key factor in their ability to fully function. It is important to stretch them in all directions.
• Cross one arm over the other and pull your elbow toward your body. Hold this position with each arm for 45 seconds.
• While standing, place your hands on an elevated surface in front of you. Straighten your arms and drive your armpits into the ground. Try to get your arms as far past your ears as you can, hold for 45 seconds.
• Sitting on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you and your arms straight out behind you, walk your hands backward as far as you can until you feel a stretch. Hold for 45 seconds.
Shoulder health, strength, and improved mobility is sure to result when you follow the above plan.