Exercises to Build Powerful, Solid Shoulders

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Building defined, powerful shoulders start at knowing which muscles to target. The shoulders are comprised of three muscle heads: Anterior Deltoid, Medial Deltoid and Posterior Deltoid.

The Anterior Deltoid sits in front of the shoulders. It works by flexing and rotating the arms inwards. To define this muscle, you need to do lots of bench pressing and chest training. As for the Medial Deltoid, it sits on the side of the shoulders. This muscle is stimulated by isolated shoulder abduction movements. The final muscle is the Posterior Deltoid and this muscle allows you to rotate your arms outwards. To develop this area, you have to do a lot of pull ups, chin ups and rows. Below are great shoulder workouts to add to your routine:

Hang Press

This is one of the best shoulder exercises. The hang press is similar to a high pull or upright row in terms of effectiveness. To do the hang clean and press, stand with your feet just outside the shoulder width apart. Now, put your hands on the bar just about the same place as your feet are on the ground. As you hold your back flat, keep the chin up. Now deadlift the weight into a standing position.

Lower the weight down just above the knees, bending the knees and waist.

Hang Clean

This is another excellent shoulder workout! To perform the hang clean, extend the ankles and stretch the knees and traps. Now, do a ¾ upright row to bring the bar up in a straight line. The bar should be in front of the body until it reaches the shoulders. Start rotating your elbows and arms under the weight. Catch it in front of your shoulders with your palms facing upwards. Bend slightly at the knees to support the weight. Lower the bar back down to the shoulders and then down the thighs slowly.

Standing Overhead Press

Also known as military press, the standing overhead press is an excellent move that will add definition and build strength in the shoulders area.  To do the standing overhead press, you want to set up a bar or a rack of sorts. If you can clean the weight from the floor, do so.

Start with the weight resting on the upper chest. Press the bar upwards directly in front of the face to a point when the elbows lock. Now, you want to maintain control. Bring the weight back down to the chest. Try not to use your legs as you move because then, this will become a push press. A push press builds body strength, but it does not tone the shoulders specifically.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

This workout is made for serious lifters. The great thing about dumbbell shoulder press is that it can be tweaked in so many ways and still, the result is the same: big, beautiful boulders for shoulders. The key here is to not strain yourself. Otherwise, you could be injured doing this exercise.

A typical dumbbell shoulder press starts by holding a dumbbell in each hand. Stand up straight and on your left side, lift the dumbbell to full extension. Now, as you slowly lower the dumbbell from the left, lift the right dumbbell in an alternating motion.


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