It doesn't really matter how big your arms, chest or back are, but a sturdy upper body just isn't complete without well-developed shoulders. And whoever says that building impressive shoulders is easy, is simply lying. It demands a lot of work-the right hard work-and, of course, patience.
To truly build those monstrous three-dimensional shoulders, you need to work heavily on the associated muscles-deltoids, upper trapezius, serratus anterior, rotator cuff muscles and levator scapulae.
Because shoulders, to some degree, get worked even when you're training your chest, back or triceps and nothing is particularly dedicated to your deltoids. And it's of utmost importance to be careful as the delicate ball-and-socket joints of the shoulder can be injured easily in course of extended high-volume and heavy training sessions.
So once you nurture the entirety of your shoulder muscles, you not only strengthen your upper body and the bones underneath them, you also safeguard your body against a lot of probable injuries. And let's face it: by crafting a pair of firm shoulders you create an aesthetic that other men want to replicate and women go crazy over.
So here are 5 shoulder exercises that are in the top tier of muscle-building moves and are sure to enhance your shoulders' flexibility, mass and strength, thus completing your physique.
1. Behind-the-neck Shoulder Presses- For this workout, you need to bend your arms and grip the handles with your hands about 5 to 6 inches apart. Tilt your body slightly forward as you lift. This movement adds extra strain on the rotator cuff muscles, so remember to start with a low weight, and then move on to heavier weights once you've determined your strength.
2. Upright Barbell Row- To do this, grasp a barbell with overhand grip slightly less than shoulder width. Start from resting the bar on your thighs, arms extended, elbows slightly bent and back straight. Now exhale and use your shoulders to lift the bar; your elbows get raised up to your side.
The bar stays close to your body as you raise it. Continue to lift until the bar nearly touches your chin. Note that it's your elbows that should drive the motion and the torso remains stationary. Then, lower the bar slowly to starting position, inhale and repeat for the recommended amount of reps.
3. Upright Cable Row- This exercise is more or less similar to upright barbell row but using a cable-pulley. Grasp the cable attached to a low pulley with a grip that is slightly less than shoulder-width and continue doing it like barbell row.
4. Side Lateral Raise- Stand with a straight torso with the dumbbells by your side. Starting here and maintaining a stationary torso, lift the dumbbells to your sides by slightly bending the elbows. Continue to go up until your arms are perpendicular to your body. Pause for a second, lower the dumbbells back down and inhale. Repeat for recommended amount of reps.
5. Cable High Pulley Lateral Extension- Sometimes referred to as the "Wolverine," this movement heavily recruits your rear delts and middle and lower traps, among others. Set a pulley at the highest setting based on your height. Grab the ends of the pulley: the left with your right arm and the right with your left arm. Get to a square stance, extend both arms diagonally until your arms are beside you.
Hold this position for a second by squeezing your upper back muscles and then return to the initial position. Repeat for the desired reps.
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