When shoulder exercises are mentioned, do you shrug…your shoulders?
Think about the shoulder and shoulder exercises. A shoulder is something you place a burden on, something you shrug, something that is, well, more complex than what you might think. To fully exercise a shoulder you must understand its many functions, its muscle components and how to put the right stress on them to gain the most advantage.
Those basic motions can be used to program an exercise program for you.
Many people think of overhead presses when they think of shoulder exercises. A vision comes to mind of the bulked up power lifters with shoulders bulging with muscles and popping with veins that look beyond the realm of possibility for most humans. Most humans, in fact, don't need to get to that point. If you want to bulge with muscles, fine, but basically overhead presses, done sitting or standing, will help some with form but especially with strength. Because most people will not be entering weight lifting competition a focus on strength is optimum. When doing overhead presses, start with a lighter weight –lighter than you might think you can manage—and build up. Pay attention to your form: don't arch your back and maintain a good posture when lifting the weight overhead. If you feel any pain, stop immediately. Do a set of fifteen, and then repeat. Gradually you can add heavier weights.
Now for the second set of movements. Translate those into shoulder exercises by taking individual weights and completing front and rear raises. Again, pay attention to your form. When raising the weight up and forward, make sure you don't go above shoulder height. When going to the rear, swing back in a gentle arch until you feel tension. These set of exercises will work the entire shoulder and some of the upper back muscles as well. Do a set of fifteen with your chosen weight limit, and then repeat.
The final movements to make are rotations. These will service the rotator cuffs and the upper back and deltoid muscles. Here there are a number of different sets to do. External rotations will consist of moving the arm outward. Internal rotations will involve pulling the arm inward with the weight. Finally, a rowing motion, or rows, done with your chosen weight limit, will complete the movements.
Shoulders are complex and important in everybody's daily functioning. Keeping them strong and flexible can go a long way in maintaining health. One of today's most common injuries, rotator cuff tears, are near epidemic. At least some of them come from our sedentary lifestyle. So whatever method of shoulder exercises you choose be sure to enjoy it. Getting pleasure out of it will ensure that you continue exercising.