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The Fitness Papers: Achieving Stronger and Sculpted Shoulders

Let’s talk shoulders…

Specifically, how to get them stronger, more flexible and more stable to be able to do all the cool tricks such as jerks, snatches and inverted movements like handstands—if that’s what you desire. Or, if you just want to maintain nice looking shoulders.

Looks aside, working on shoulder strength is also important for day-to-day life as you use these muscles for any type of lifting or pulling. The joint’s huge range of motion makes it more susceptible to injury, so keeping your shoulder muscles strong is absolutely critical.

Shoulders need to be worked from all sides in order to have the rounded, toned shape that you want to show off.

Try these 5 shoulder exercises and you’ll never want to wear sleeves again once this workout gives you your desired shoulders!

  1. Single Arm Dumbbell High Pulls

Though you can do these with two arms, the single-arm dumbbell high pull exposes any muscular or functional mobility imbalances right away.

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Start with the dumbbell at your waist and drive it straight up to your collarbone, leading with the elbow the whole time. Focus on keeping your body square and pull straight up—as opposed to driving your elbows back. This will ensure you get some internal rotation as you pull.

  1. Shrugs

Shrugs are perfect as you can easily increase intensity by adding more weight. Begin by holding a barbell in front of you, letting the weight hang. Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart. All you have to do is shrug your shoulders as far as you can, hold the position for a second or two, then lower back to the starting position.

Don’t let the simplicity of this move fool you, because it challenges a number of different muscles. Shrugs work your traps, deltoids, upper back, and rotator cuff.

  1. Lateral Dumbbell Raise

When working on shoulder strength, you’re largely focusing on your deltoids, which is composed of three different muscles. The dumbbell side lateral raise is one of the best ways to ensure you target your medial deltoid.

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and grasp a dumbbell in each hand, your palms facing inward. Raise your arms straight out to your sides in a controlled motion until the weights reach shoulder height. Pause briefly, then carefully lower the weights back to the starting position.

Go slow and steady to increase the intensity and get more out of this move.

  1. Shoulder Stability Exercise (Up Down)

Start in the low plank position and push off from the floor into the high plank. Make sure that you engage your core and keep your hips as stable as possible. Then return to the low plank position and repeat. Alternate between starting with your left and right arm.

  1. Barbell Overhead Press

Set the bar up in a squat rack or cage, and grasp it just outside shoulder width. Take the bar off the rack and hold it at shoulder level with your forearms perpendicular to the floor. Squeeze the bar and brace your abs. Press the bar overhead, pushing your head forward and shrugging your traps as the bar passes your face.

Now you’re all set. Remember to always take the time to thoroughly learn the movement. This will prepare you for any heavy-lifting activity life throws your way.

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