When looking at the female physique, we often think booty gains and tiny waist… But we overlook the important role the shoulders play in creating this shape. Well sculpted shoulders not only add tone to the upper body, but help to give the illusion of a smaller waist. Not to mention that training shoulders is my absolute favourite workout day of the week!
While completing my fitness course, some of the feedback on one of my assignments was, ‘4 shoulder exercises is way to many and unnecessary…’ I’m sorry… what???? My shoulders aren’t amazing, but I have decent definition and that’s because I train them hard 1 day a week, doing around 6 exercises, including supersets, pyramid sets, high and low reps, heavy weight and everything in between. Just because they are a small muscle group, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve some serious attention.
Here are some of my favourite shoulder exercises:
Seated DB press
I start so many of my shoulder days with this one, its the classic shoulder exercise. Sit upright at the bench, grab the dumbbells so that your arms make a right angle, then push up… The face is also mandatory!! Hahahaha….
Seated behind the head barbell press
You can do this in a smith machine, like my below pic, or just seated at a bench. Sit up straight and tilt your head slightly forward, last thing you want to do is hit your head! Lower the bar down to just about shoulder height and press back up. I struggle to get the bar to low because of the arthritis in my left elbow, but don’t let that stop you…
Seated Lateral flies
You can do seated, standing or cable flies, but I find seated the toughest. When we sit down it prevents any of the other body parts taking over and assisting. Start by sitting upright with your arms by your sides, raise your arms until they make a straight line and lower back down.
Standing overhead barbell press
Do this one in a squat rack, it helps you lift the heavier weights. Get under the bar and lift it off the rack, take a step back, bend the knees and push up. A little body swaying is ok, especially when lifting the heavy weights. But be careful, this can be a tough movement.
For these I tend to use a barbell, but you can use dumbbells or a kettlebell. Stand with your knees slightly bent, grip the bar so that when you pull up your hands come under your armpits. Your elbows should be pointed out from your sides.
Lie face down on an incline bench, holding your dumbbells with palms facing each other. Bend the elbows slightly and move your hands away from each other while exhaling. Arms should be parallel to the floor.
So if you haven’t worked your shoulders in a while, give these exercises a go!