Toned and defined shoulders top the list of the many benefits you will receive from doing the right women’s shoulder exercises. Another advantage is that developed shoulders automatically make your hips and waist look smaller. Besides helping you maintain good posture, shoulder training also allows you to wear a more extensive variety of clothes; and look much better in them. A lot of women want to work on their shoulders, but do not know how. Shoulder muscles are primarily compromised of the front, rear, and side deltoids. Here are 6 exercises and some training tips to help get your sexy back!
Exercise #1: Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Presses
Get Set: Sit on bench with back pressing against the back pad. Firmly plant feet on the floor. Hold dumbbells at shoulder height with elbows out to the sides and palms facing forward.
Work: Lift the dumbbells straight up until they almost touch and your arms are just short of straight. Lower dumbbells and repeat.
Tip: Don’t lock out the elbow in the top position, as this transfers work to the triceps.
Exercise #2: One-Arm Leaning Lateral Raises
Get Set: Grab onto a bench or other stable structure and lean away toward the working arm. Hold that position throughout the set.
Work: Lift the dumbbell up slightly higher than your shoulders with a slight bend in the elbow. Lower the weight slowly and repeat.
Tip: To get the most from this exercise, don’t let momentum take over. Perform this exercise in a slow, controlled motion, starting each rep from a dead stop rather than swinging the weight.
A leaning lateral raise gives you a little more range of motion to work and isolate your middle deltoid.
Exercise #3: Seated Side/Front Raises
Get Set: Sit on a bench with your feet extending out in front and your torso erect.
Work: Complete a side lateral raise and then a front raise. That is one rep. When performing the front raise, make sure the dumbbells pass in front of your face rather than out to the side.
Tip: You will need a lighter weight than what you usually use for lateral or front raises, as sitting on the bench with the feet extending minimizes momentum, making the movement more difficult.
Exercise #4: Seated Bent-Over Lateral Raises
Get Set: Sit on the end of a bench, knees together and take a dumbbell in each hand. Bend forward from the waist and bring dumbbells to the sides of your legs with your palms facing in.
Work: Maintaining the bent-over position, lift the dumbbells out to the side until the weights are in line with your shoulders. Slowly lower the weights and repeat.
Tip: To keep the work in your rear delts, think about keeping the hands wide and lifting the weights straight out to the side. Don’t let the weights shift back behind your shoulders,
as this transfers the work to your trapezius muscle.
Exercise #5: Stability Ball Push-Ups
Get Set: Begin with your hips on the ball, hands on the floor and feet stretched out straight behind you. Walk hands out a bit so that the ball is positioned either below the thighs or, to make it more difficult, below the ankles. Place hands on floor in line with shoulders.
Work: Lower body by bending elbows, bringing the chest as close to the floor as possible. Make sure to keep head, torso and legs aligned and tight. Straighten arms to complete rep.
Variation: If the stability ball push-up is too challenging, try kneeling push-ups on the floor or a plank hold for 30 seconds (with or without a stability ball).
Exercise #6: Jump Rope
Get Set: Grab a rope and get in an open space.
Work: Jump 1 to 2 inches off the floor— just enough space for the rope to pass under the balls of the feet. Keep elbows at sides and slightly above the waistline while you turn the rope.
Tip: Having the correct jump rope length will make getting into a good rhythm easier. An easy test to find the right length: When you put the rope under your feet and lift the ends, the handles should reach your sternum.
Maximize your shoulder training by avoiding these common shoulder-training mistakes.
DON’T SHRUG. When performing shoulder presses or raises, it’s easy to tense your traps and neck. Doing so takes the tension out of the deltoid and can strain the neck in the process.
DON’T GO THUMBS UP. Think about keeping your pinkies, rather than your thumbs, high in your shoulder presses to increase tension in the deltoids.
DON’T GET OUT OF LINE. When performing lateral raises, don’t lead with your elbows or hands. Rather, keep them in line for maximum deltoid engagement.
DON’T LOCK IT OUT. When performing shoulder presses, don’t lock out the elbow at the top of the exercise, as it transfers the work to the triceps.
DON’T SWING. Avoid swinging the weight when performing raises. Instead, move the weights in a strong, but controlled movement.
DON’T SQUAT. Save the squats for leg day. When training shoulders, eliminate the squatting, bending and rocking to help you move the weight. If you are struggling to complete your reps, consider decreasing the weight or asking for a spot.