Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Five Shoulder Press Variations

Despite the fact that we aren't exactly in tank top season, you should still be giving your shoulders some much-needed love at the gym. Specifically, your deltoids. More specifically—your anterior (front), middle and posterior (rear) deltoids.

In reality, the shoulder joint is quite prone to injury. It's not built to be a weight bearing joint, but we do call upon it to support weight. Like when we lift heavy boxes or push up off the floor. So it only makes sense to work your shoulders at the gym. And by "work," of course I mean stretching and strengthening.

Let's talk specifically about strengthening those shoulders. Most common move? The shoulder press: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hold a pair of weights in your hands. Bend your arms into your shoulders and end with your palms facing away from your chest. Keep your elbows in tight to your sides. This is your starting position. From there, press the weights up toward the ceiling—make sure you never let those weights move behind your head. Lower and repeat.

Lucky for you, there are multiple ways to vary the shoulder press which keeps you AND your muscles from getting bored. Check it out:

1) Alternate the standing press, taking one arm up toward the ceiling at a time. This is called unilateral
, and it's a great way to make sure both of your shoulders are equally strong.

2) Rotate your hands so that your palms are facing your chest, then proceed as if you were doing the
    standard shoulder press.

3) Channel your inner ref and signal a touchdown: Start with your palms facing each other, then press
    the weights up and down from there.

4) Start with your palms facing your chest, then push the weights up toward the ceiling on the
    diagonal. You'll essentially create a Y with your body.

5) Start with your palms facing your shoulders, then rotate your palms to face away from you as you
    push the weights toward the ceiling.

Other exercises that work your deltoids: front and side shoulder abductions, Y shoulder abductions, bent flys...and really, any exercise that works the chest, back or arm muscles typically calls upon your deltoids in one way or another. Although at that point, the deltoids become secondary muscle groups, which is why you need to be sure to include deltoid-specific exercises. So...go! Grab those weights or hit the gym! Get your "daily dose" of fitness and make it a shoulder workout! (And don't forget to enter my Fashletics giveaway!)

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my Fashletics giveaway! You just might win a hand-crafted running shoe necklace. (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, December 17, 2010).

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