Five Easy-to-Do Shoulder Exercises


One of the most attractive features in a man is a well-proportioned and toned shoulders. Even with a flabby belly, it is rendered unnoticeable with a cute face framed by broad shoulders. However people don’t always have time and money to spend at the gym, but with just basic equipment like a pair of dumbbells, my personal trainer and coach Leonard May “Japs” Doquilo taught me these exercises to keep my upper body in shape.


1 Shoulder Press (Variation: Military Press)

Primary target muscle: Anterior Deltoids. Other muscles used: Pectoralis major, triceps brachii, Supraspinatus, and Serratus anterior.

The Shoulder Press is a complex exercise which make use of five muscles. It can be performed using simple equipment at home such as dumbbells. It can also be done either sitting down or standing up.

Shoulder press

Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level, with palms facing forward. Make sure your elbows are directly under your wrists. Lift the dumbbells toward the ceiling until elbows are fully extended. Then go back to the starting position.

A variation is called the Military Press which makes use of a barbell. The same movements are done, but the hands must be shoulder width apart and evenly placed on the barbell. Use a weight that is comfortable so the movement is executed correctly. Three sets of fifteen repetitions are sufficient.

2 Lateral Raise

Primary target muscle: Lateral Deltoids. Other muscles used: Anterior deltoids, supraspinatus, trapezius.

This particular exercise is also versatile in a sense that different equipment can be used such as dumbbells, cables, and even kettlebells. The weight used should be moderate so the correct movement, angulation and repetition can be done. Too heavy weights may cause incorrect execution or even predispose to injury.

Lateral Raise

Start in standing position and hold the dumbbells along your thighs. Slightly lean forward with your knees and hips slightly bent. Lift the arms until the elbows are at shoulder height, then lower the dumbbells to the original position and repeat. You can do three sets of fifteen repetitions.

3 Rear Fly

Primary target: Posterior deltoid muscles.

Other muscles worked: Infraspinatus and teres minor. A dumbbell rear fly not only works your shoulder muscles but also strengthen the upper back muscles. The exercise must be done with a neutral spine position and maintaining the correct posture without moving the torso.

Rear fly

Start by standing with the legs hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell on each hand. Bend forward and bend the legs slightly. Your arms should hang on your sides with your hands facing each other, this is the starting position. Raise your arms to the sides with hands facing down with a smooth and controlled movement. Make sure the back is straight with the spine neutral and refrain from moving your head forward. Return to the original position and do fifteen repetitions.

4 Front Raise

Primary target: Anterior deltoid.

Other muscles worked: Lateral deltoid and Trapezius. This exercise can be done using either dumbbells or a barbell. With dumbbells it can be done alternate or both arms at the same time.

Front Raise

Start by standing straight with a dumbbell on each hand. The dumbbells should be at arm’s length in front of the thighs with the palms facing the thighs. Then lift the dumbbell to the front, slightly bending the elbow, with the palms always facing the floor. The arms should reach slightly above parallel to the floor, then return to the original position. Make sure to use manageable weights so that the torso remain stable and the arms do not swing.

5 Arnold Press

Primary target: Anterior deltoid.

Other muscles worked: Lateral deltoid, Triceps brachii, Supraspinatus, Trapezius, Serratus anterior, and Levator scapulae.

The so-called Arnold Press was developed to build the main muscles of the shoulders, and is named after body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is unique in a way that there is a rotational movement throughout the lift.

Arnold press

On a seated position, hold a dumbbell on each hand, with the palms facing inward and elbows flexed. The dumbbells should be positioned just below eye level. This is the starting position.

Lift both dumbbells and slowly rotate the hands forward. At the end position, your palms should be facing outward with your arms almost completely extended. Then return to the original position using the same rotating motion. Do three sets of fifteen repetitions.

As with any exercise, consult your physician before doing anything strenuous. Make sure to use moderate weights to execute the exercises correctly while avoiding possible injuries. Make sure to warm up adequately and stretch your muscles before and after exercising.

Beginners usually start with lighter weights, and increasing as they get stronger. You also have the option of increasing the weights at five pound increments when doing the sets, while decreasing the number of repetitions. For example, 15 repetitions using 10 pound weights, 12 repetitions using 15 pound weights, and 10 repetitions using 20 pound weights. The heavier the weights, the lesser repetitions.

These shoulder exercises will help create a well-defined upper body in as short as three months, provided they are done correctly and safely. This is a first in a series of simple exercises which can be done at home by people who have no time to go to the gym to work out. Until next time!

March 2018 Health and Lifestyle

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