Whenever you step into a gym, the first question you ask yourself is what body part should be focusing on. Well, there is no correct answer to that since each body part is as important as the last. That being said, there are some body parts that are easier to pump than other, your shoulders being one on them (that is if you have a good enough shoulder workout routine).
Apart from putting your body into shape shoulder workouts have a number of benefits for your body. A study from the Karolinska Hospital’s Department of Orthopedics found that patients that suffer from frequent dislocation feel relief from the pain and less frequent dislocation with their shoulder workouts (specifically your deltoids and rotator cuff).
Before we can go all “guns” blazing (pun intended), we need to know what muscles work during which exercise and how it affects your shoulder. This information is crucial for your next shoulder workout.
Types of Shoulder Muscles
To put it into simple terms, your shoulder is made of two groups of muscles which are the intrinsic and extrinsic muscles. The intrinsic muscles originate from the scapula or clavicle and attach to your humerus, whereas the extrinsic muscles originate from our torso and attach to the shoulder.
There are 4 muscles in the extrinsic group and 3 muscles in the intrinsic group of the muscles and we will be looking closely at each of these.
Extrinsic Shoulder Muscles
- Trapezius: This is a triangle shaped muscle that travels down your spine and moves across your shoulder blade. This muscle supports your arms and shoulders.
- Latissimus Dorsi: This is one of the largest muscles in your back, and is partially covered by the trapezius. This is often referred to as your “lats” and important to be developed to manage your body weight.
- Levator Scapulae: Located on the side and back side of your neck serving the primary function of is to lift your scapula which connects the arm to the collarbone.
- Rhomboids: These are the muscles at the top of your back and middle of your shoulder blades. When contracting they help pull your shoulder blades together.
Intrinsic Shoulder Muscles
- Deltoids: Made from three muscle fibers (anterior, lateral and posterior), which are connected by thick tendons and anchored into a V-shape. This muscle is responsible for the rotation of your arm and prevents dislocation.
- Teres Major: Located on the underside of the upper arm and supports the latissimus dorsi.
- Rotator Cuff: This is a group of muscles and tendons that keep the upper arm bone neatly snuggled into the shoulder socket, preventing dislocations.
4 Exercises for Your Next Shoulder Workout
Here are 4 exercises that will target every muscle in your shoulders for those definite gains and improved strength in your upper body.
Seated Dumbbell Press
This exercise can help you isolate your shoulder movement while being able to lift a lot more weight because of the freedom that the dumbbells provide you. You need to sit on a bench with your dumbbells at ear level and palms facing outwards. Push the dumbbells up and then back to the starting position to complete one rep. It is advised to do 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.
We’ve all heard the saying “Slow and steady wins the race”. This is exactly how you need to perform this exercise. The slower you raise your arms the better your muscles will look in the end. Stand straight with dumbbells in each hand keeping them on the sides. Simultaneously raise both arms until your shoulders are in a straight line and then bring back to the original position. This is generally done with lightweight but more reps, so try doing 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.
This is a great exercise to really hit those front deltoids. Take a barbell or dumbells and stand straight with your palms facing backward. Lift the weight until your arms are in a straight line in front of you and bring back to the original position to complete one rep. Again, you need to do low weight and more reps, so try doing 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps for this exercise as well.
This exercise targets your anterior deltoids, rhomboids, and traps, so you should probably prepare yourself for a serious burn. Sit backward on the butterfly machine and extend your arms backward. Be sure to give it a nice squeeze at the end of the rotation and bring your arms back. This will complete one set, you will have to do 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.
Your shoulders can really bring some great definition to your body and just make you look good overall. Apart from the aesthetic benefits, there are a number of medical benefits attached to this workout.
So why wait, get ready to be top heavy.
If you already got the shoulder workout down pat, click here to look for a workout that better suits you.