In my last post I explained why you don’t need to do a whole lot of special arm exercises, since your biceps, triceps and forearms tend to get worked out pretty well when you’re doing your other big lifts. Your shoulders are pretty much the same way. This is especially true when you’re doing your back exercises.
Your shoulders are comprised of 3 main muscles:
Lateral deltoid: This is the muscle that’s on the side of your shoulders. Sometimes you’ll hear this muscle referred to as your “side delts.”
Anterior deltoid: This is the muscle on the front of your shoulder. Bodybuilders sometimes refer to these muscles as your “front delts.”
Posterior deltoid:Â This is the shoulder muscle that’s on the back of your shoulder. It’s also referred to as your “rear delt.”
Here are the best exercises to hit your shoulder muscles:
Upright row (either barbell or dumbbell).
Behind the neck press.
However, a word of warning…
Beware of Rotator Cuff Problems
Be careful when doing shoulder exercises. I say this because your shoulders have a group of tendons that’s commonly referred to as a “rotator cuff.” It’s referred to by this name because this group is what allows your shoulder to rotate – up, down, around.
You’re probably already aware of your rotator cuff. Â Just in case you’re not… Have you benched and then felt pain in your shoulders? That was probably your rotator cuff giving you problems. If you have problems days after a workout where you can’t lift your arms or rotate them, those too are probably related to problems with your rotator cuff and you might want to visit you your doctor.
Here are the two main problems people have with their rotator cuff:
A weak rotator cuff leads to weak lifts. If you’re having problems doing certain shoulder, back and chest exercises – especially if you feel a pain in your shoulder – it may be because your rotator cuff is weak. In other words, your rotator cuff could be holding you back from better results.
A weak rotator cuff is prone to injury. This is a fairly serious injury, and painful too. In a best case scenario, you might hurt your rotator cuff so that you have to take a few weeks off to let it rest and recover. At worst, however, you may have to have surgery if you hurt it badly enough.
Either way, the solution is simple – you need to start working the muscles around the rotator cuff. Here’s a good exercise:
Rotator Cuff Exercise: Lie down on the floor on your right side with a dumbbell. Stretch your right arm out in front of you, palm side up (with the dumbbell in your hand). Your body and arm should form an “L” shape. Then curl your arm towards you, bring the dumbbell in your right hand up to your left shoulder. Repeat until fatigue and then roll over and work your left arm.
That’s it for this time.
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