What is it about sculpted shoulders that we all crave? Not only do they fill out your shirts giving you a strong frame and widen out your upper back making your waist look smaller, creating that perfect V shaped torso. However, training your delts correctly can also help to improve your posture, safeguarding against hunching forward making you appear more upright and confident in stature.
Your shoulders are not indestructible!
To prevent injury it is essential to warm up the shoulders prior to any upper body training, not just isolated shoulder exercises. The ball and socket joints ability move in many ways can make it lack stability and therefore it requires proper care to maintain it health and function.
The most common shoulder injury that occurs stems from the rotator cuff being unstable and lacking substantial blood flow before heavy exercises are performed. A torn rotator cuff will leave you out of the gym for several weeks (if not months) so a tedious 5 minute warm up pre session is well worth the effort to maintain shoulder health for the future.
Below is a demonstration of the 4 exercises you should be performing prior to you scheduled shoulder programming.
10x Banded Overbacks
10x Banded Facepulls
10x Banded Rotations
10x Band Pull aparts
Now you're ready to rock & roll!
ISOMETRIC DUMBBELL PRESS
Similar to a 'Seesaw' press, this variation with a hold at the bottom of the movement add in a little core work while adding extra tension through the shoulder. This movement is fantastic kept heavy and used towards the beggining of your session within a repetition range of 5-8 each side for up to 5 sets.
ISOMETRIC LATERAL RAISE
Increasing weight on a regular lateral raise can be a very long and dedicated process as each kilo increase is a very high overall percentage and on such a small muscle group. Adding this hold will increase time under tension and prevent 'swinging' with poor technique.
CABLE UPRIGHT ROW
Upright rows in general can be a tricky movement that could potentially cause shoulder impingement's. Using a cable machine keeps constant tension through the full range of motion and also allows for varying attachments to help with any wrist mobility issues. This works great as a heaver, lower repetition exercise, or, keeping it lighter for high volume training.
DECLINE INVERTED ROW
Adding a steep decline and an overhand grip to the inverted row moves the contraction into the rear deltoids. This works great as a high repetition finishing exercise to any bodyweight programme.
LOOP BAND DUMBBELL PRESS
The use of a loop resistance band on this exercise creates a simulated lat pulldown as well as holding tension through the rear deltoids.
This exercise teaches a stable, upright posture with a strong core, alongside keeping the whole shoulder under tension with a rear dealt contraction. Remember to keep your weights light, your chest up and your spine neutral with your core engaged throughout the movement.
Please note: these exercises were chosen as most people are unfamiliar with these variations of movement and the order or coupling of these exercises is not a recommended 'complete' shoulder programme.
Make sure to comment below if you are/have been using these variations. I would love to know how many do.