Shoulder Power: 3 Workouts to Enhance Strength, Posture and Athleticism

Shoulder Power: 3 Workouts to Enhance Strength, Posture and Athleticism

Think about how many things you carry from point A to point B every day. Your backpack to the office. Groceries up the stairs. Strong arms are important to make this all happen, but if you’re sleeping on your shoulders, you’re making a big mistake. Not to mention that powerful deltoids (that’s the major muscle that wraps the shoulder joint) look great in everything from plain T-shirts to, well, nothing. Deltoid workouts are worth the investment. So we pulled together our top three, all-time best deltoid exercises to hone, tone, lengthen and strengthen. Do this regimen religiously to build the power and posture to perform at your max and prevent injury.

Shoulder Power

Why You Should Work Out Your Shoulders

“There are huge benefits in working out your shoulders,” says Amber Rees, cofounder of Brave Body Project and trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp. “Basically any upper body or core exercise involves your shoulders as well. Strengthening those delts will automatically enhance your strength and ability to do a ton of different exercises. Also, strengthening your shoulders helps with posture, so we look confident, feel sexier, and prevent injury."

Another good reason for deltoid workouts — injury prevention is clutch, especially when it comes to being in tip-top shape for racing. Willing to put in a little extra work at the gym for a stronger shoulder setup? Here we’ve got three best deltoid workouts to help you better your performance.

Best Deltoid Exercises for Spartans

Best Deltoid Exercises: #1 

Do: Each exercise for 30 seconds, then move directly onto the next. Rest for one minute; repeat three times.

Walking Plank

Start in a high plank position. Bracing through the core, move your right hand and right foot out six inches. Bring your left foot and left hand to meet it. Slowly move right for 15 seconds, then return to start to complete the set.

Upright Row

Hold a dumbbell in each hand, resting in front of your thigh. Bending your elbows, lift the dumbbells vertically until they’re in front of your collarbones, with your elbows pointing toward the ceiling. Lower the dumbbells back down.

Rear Delt Fly

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in. Let the dumbbells hang straight down from your shoulders. Hinge forward at the hips until your chest is almost parallel to the ground. Keeping your back flat and a slight bend in the elbows, raise your arms straight out to the sides until they’re in line with your body. Pause, then return back to start.

Lateral Raise

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding two dumbbells at your sides, palms facing in. With a slight bend in your elbows, raise your arms straight out to your sides until they’re at shoulder level. Your body should make a T shape. Pause, then return to start.

Plank with Shoulder Taps

Start in a high plank. Alternate bringing your hand to the opposite shoulder without allowing your torso to twist.

Burpee

From standing, drop your hands onto the ground, kick your feet back into a push-up position, then drop your chest and thighs to the floor. Push up, jump your feet toward your hands and press through your palms to propel yourself to a standing position. Jump at the top and clap your hands overhead for one rep. Do two reps. Here's how to do a burpee.

Related: How to Increase Pull-Ups From 0 to 30

Best Deltoid Exercises: #2

Do: 12 reps of each exercise, three sets of each section, resting 45 seconds between each exercise

Section A

Single-Arm Dumbbell Press

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in your right hand, racked at shoulder position. Brace through the core and extend your arm above your head, bringing the dumbbell directly upward. Lower back down to the start and repeat on the opposite side. (Do 10 reps on each side for this exercise.)

Rear Delt Fly

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in. Let the dumbbells hang straight down from your shoulders. Hinge forward at the hips until your chest is almost parallel to the ground. Keeping your back flat and a slight bend in the elbows, raise your arms straight out to the sides until they’re in line with your body. Pause, then return back to start.

Section B

T Push-up

Start in a high push-up position. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Push back up and as you do so, rotate one side of your body up, raising your arm toward the ceiling. Pause, and return start. Alternate sides with each rep.

Seesaw Lateral Raise

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding two dumbbells at your sides, palms facing in. With a slight bend in your elbows, raise your right arm straight out to your side until it’s at shoulder level. As you bring your right arm back to start, begin to raise your left arm to shoulder height. Complete both sides for one rep.  

Section C

Upright Row

Hold a dumbbell in each hand, resting in front of your thigh. Bending your elbows, lift the dumbbells vertically until they’re in front of your collarbones, with your elbows pointing toward the ceiling. Lower the dumbbells back down.

Face Pull

Kneel with your right foot forward in front of a cable machine. Grab the handles your your palms facing in and pull them toward your face, drawing your hands apart. Pause, then return to start.

Related: 4 Weight Machines to Avoid (& What To Do Instead)

Best Deltoid Exercises: #3

Do: 12 reps of each exercise, three sets of each section, resting 45 seconds in between each exercise

Section A

Arnold Press

Start with your feet hip-width apart, holding dumbbells at shoulder height in front of your torso with your palms facing your body. Simultaneously press the dumbbells overhead and externally rotate your wrists. At the top extended position, your palms should be facing forward. Lower back to the start.

Single-arm Bent-over Row

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip. Bend slightly at your knees, hinge your hips, and lower your chest so that it is almost parallel to the floor. Keeping your core tight and your arms close to the body, row one weight up toward your chest, bending at the elbow. Do all reps with one side before repeating on the other.

Section B

Scaption Raise

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing in. Your elbows should be slightly bent. Raise your arms at a 30-degree angle to your body (in a Y shape) until they’re at shoulder level. Pause, then slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.

Reverse Fly with External Rotation

Start lying face down on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in. Raise your arms so that they are parallel with your shoulders and extend out as in a regular fly. Return back to the start.

Section C

W Raise

Start lying face down on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing toward your glutes. Bend your elbows 90 degrees so that your upper arms point out to your sides. Your forearms should be aimed at the floor. (This is your starting position.) Raise the dumbbells by rotating your shoulders until your forearms are pointing to the ceiling, coming toward your face. Slowly return to start.

Front Raise

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding two dumbbells at your thighs, palms facing the body. With a slight bend in your elbows, raise your arms straight in front of the body, until they’re at shoulder level. Pause, then return to start.  

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