Shoulder Strength: Nothing to Shrug At

by Angela Yorke | March 22nd, 2012 | Strength Training, Upper Body

When it comes to building strength, most people tend to forget about their shoulder muscles in favor of the more visible ones in the upper and lower limbs, as well as that of the core. Sometimes, it seems as if the only time any importance is attached to these muscles is when something like a rotator cuff injury occurs due to weakness and/or overuse.

Happily, shoulder strength can be developed as simply as strength in any other area of the body. You only need a set of dumbbells to perform upright rows, for example. Start by holding the dumbbells at hip level, palms inward and close together and keeping your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your wrists straight, lift the weights by bending your arms at the elbow until they are at the same level as your chest, or higher, if possible, and don’t shrug while lifting the weights. Up to 3 sets of 15 repetitions should be performed, with 30-second intervals between each set.

The front raise is another move to strengthen your shoulders. This should be carried out with a lighter set of weights as the movement involves keeping your arms only slightly bent at the elbows. Starting in the same position as that for an upright row, the weights are lifted to shoulder level, palms facing inwards, and then lowered. Avoid swinging the weights up.

You can also work on your shoulders with lateral raises. These can be carried out with arms slightly bent at the elbows, or with the elbows bent at 90 degrees. Starting with your arms at your sides and with palms facing inwards, lift your arms out to the side to shoulder level before lowering them. As with front raises, aim to keep your wrists straight and avoid swinging the weights up. The number of sets, repetitions, and intervals for front raises and lateral raises is the same as that for upright rows.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.