Some days, it feels like the weight of the world is on our shoulders. So why not bring targeted shoulder exercises to the game to support daily functions and round out your resistance training?
Your deltoid, or shoulder, muscles are among the most important muscle groups for daily living. From simply lifting your arms overhead to hoisting heavy objects or doing the yard work, your shoulders come into play.
Symmetry & Shoulder Exercises
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) teamed up with researchers from the University of Wisconsin’s Clinical Exercise Physiology program to figure out which exercises are most effective for stronger shoulders.
What they found was a lot of us neglect two of the three muscle groups that comprise our shoulders. We’re pretty vigilant about working the front – or anterior – shoulder muscles. However, our middle (medial) and rear (posterior) muscles in that group get the short shrift.
That leaves us with overdeveloped shoulders in the front and underdeveloped in the back, an imbalance that can eventually lead to weakness and injury.
Reduce Injury Risk
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, shoulder joints are the most mobile in the body and the most commonly dislocated.
Having strong muscle structure surrounding those joints can help reduce the risk of dislocation.
A study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery revealed the highest incidence of shoulder dislocation was among young, male athletes and elderly women ages 80-90.
For the men, sports injuries were the prevalent cause of shoulder dislocations. And for the women, falls in the home are the most common culprit.
Hit the Entire Muscle Group
It’s well worth your time and attention now to ensure your resistance training includes all three areas of the deltoid muscle group.
Samantha Sweeney, lead researcher on the ACE/University of Wisconsin study, recommends after warming up that you start with the posterior delts, as this is typically the weakest area of the three areas.
Top 10 Targets
Here are the Top 10 shoulder exercises and the primary area of the muscle group that each targets:
- Seated rear lateral raise (posterior)
- 45-degree incline row (middle)
- Bent-arm lateral raise (middle)
- Cable diagonal raise (middle)
- Barbell upright row (middle)
- Battling ropes (anterior)
- Dumbbell front raise (anterior)
- Push-ups (anterior)
- Dips (anterior)
- Dumbbell shoulder press (anterior)
By incorporating these moves into your weekly resistance training program, you’ll be on your way to stronger, more proportional shoulders. You’ll also significantly reduce the risk of shoulder injuries in the pursuit of sports or daily life tasks.