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Shoulder Exercise Explanations

Muscle of the Month - March 1997

Shoulder Muscles


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Note: Clicking on the graphics will take you back to where you started.

Front Dumbbell Raises

Areas worked: Mainly Anterior Deltoid also Medial and Posterior Deltoids

Lisa is demonstrating the starting position for front dumbbell shoulder raises.

Starting Position- Stand with feet shoulder width apart and one dumbbell in each hand. Arms are straight down in front of thighs and palms face your body. Lean slightly forward. Slowly and maintaining full control, start raising one arm in front of body.

Lisa is demonstrating the ending position for front dumbbell raises - shown from side and front

Ending Position-

Raise to shoulder height and squeeze shoulders. Then slowly and still maintaining full control lower dumbbells to starting position. Then raise opposite arm.

Notes: 1. This exercise can also be done with alternating movements of raising one arm while the other one is returning down. Just remember to keep elbows straight and control your movements at all times. Notes: 2. By bending sideways toward raised arm, instead of standing erect, you will provide a slightly more efficient movement.

Repetitions: Warm up set do 15-20 (light-weighted). Optimal repetitions 5-8 when increasing weights When working toward a fifth set, 5-6 and no more than 7 will suffice.

Remember: When breathing, inhale at start of exercise and exhale at end of exercise. Always Breathe!!

For best results maintain proper posture throughout your workout. This will be best for muscle isolation.

Lateral Side Raise

Areas worked: Anterior and side deltoid. Some trapezius work is also produced.

Lisa is demonstrating the starting position of lateral side raise.

Starting Position- With elbows waist height and softly rounded, lean forward slightly, holding a dumbbell in each hand, and in front (the dumbbells should touch each other) and center of body, raise weights outward from your sides.

Lisa is demonstrating the ending position for a lateral side raise.

Ending Position- Squeeze shoulder muscles on the way up until your arms reach shoulder height. Then following the same semicircular motion path of going up, return to starting position, maintaining resistance (squeeze) on shoulder muscle.

Note: If you raise your weights above shoulder height, you will get more work on your traps, but will take away from your shoulder progression. Remember: When breathing, inhale at start of exercise and exhale at end of exercise. Always Breathe!!

For best results maintain proper posture throughout your workout. This will be best for muscle isolation.

Repetition: 15-20 Repetition on first set lightly weighted. Follow with declining repetitions as weight is added based on how strong you feel. Work toward 5 sets (optimal).

Floor or Low Bench Rear Shoulder Raise

Areas worked: Rear deltoids

Lisa is demonstrating the starting position for rear shoulder raise

Starting Position- Lie on floor (or low bench) comfortably with legs crossed. Hold dumbbell in one hand at mid-torso with your palm facing toward abdominals. Raise arm up toward a vertical position. Lifters feel the resistance in their rear delts at different angles. The motion can go anywhere from the arm being completely to slightly vertical to shoulder or as is Lisa's preference you can maintain elbow at closer to right angle to upper torso.

Lisa is demonstrating two alternative ending positions of the rear shoulder raise.

Ending Position- Once you have reached the position where you feel the resistance in rear delt, squeeze shoulder and lower to starting position using whatever path you began with for this return. Switch and repeat on other side.

/ Remember: When breathing, inhale at start of exercise and exhale at end of exercise. Always Breathe!!

For best results maintain proper posture throughout your workout. This will be best for muscle isolation.

Note: Stay in control of your lift. Do not let your weights drop. Move with the same rhythm going down as going up.

Repetitions: 15-20 with light weights. 5-8 and no less than 6 as you increase weight. If you have trouble increasing in weight do not worry. At a light weight you will still get plenty of muscle contraction and toning.

You can also do 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps on each side with no rest in between, since each side gets a rest while the other side is being worked.

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Lisa is demonstrating starting position of the seated dumbbell shoulder press.

Areas worked- Front and outer deltoids

Starting Position- With dumbbells at shoulder height,elbows out, seated on a bench with feet firmly on floor and dumbbells ends facing each other, begin press. Press until dumbbells reach arms length above your head.

Lisa is demonstrating ending position of seated dumbbell shoulder press.

Ending Position- Once top position is reached, start lowering weights to beginning position, maintaining shoulder flexion (squeeze).

Note 1: Palms can face in or out (I like to change for variety).

Note 2: The dumbbell shoulder press can also be done standing. Remember to keep soft knees and feet approximately shoulder width. Remember: When breathing, inhale at start of exercise and exhale at end of exercise. Always Breathe!!

For best results maintain proper posture throughout your workout. This will be best for muscle isolation.

Repetition: 15-20 with light weights. Decreasing as weights get heavier 5-8. Again for those who want to work light weights throughout-Go Ahead. You will still tone and strengthen muscles.

Seated Barbell (Military) Shoulder Press at Smith Machine

Areas worked: Front and outer deltoids

Lisa is demonstrating starting position for doing a military shoulder press at Smith machine.

Starting position- With barbell at back of neck, resting on traps and hands shoulder width apart start to press bar to full arms length position.

Lisa is demonstrating ending position for doing a military shoulder press at Smith machine..

Ending position- With controlled movement, slowly lower bar back to starting position.

Note 1: This exercise can be done either seated at free weight bench or can be done from a standing position. Note 2: Lisa has very flexible shoulders and doing the military press from the rear comes easily for her. However, the barbell can also be held at chest level. If doing your movement from the chest level remember that between reps to let the bar rest on chest, rather than supported by arms.

Remember: When breathing, inhale at start of exercise and exhale at end of exercise. Always Breathe!!

For best results maintain proper posture throughout your workout. This will be best for muscle isolation.

Repetitions: 10-15 reps will be optimal, declining as you go ups in your weights.

A good rule of thumb when considering going up in weights: If you can do 10 reps and the 10th repetition is as easy as the first repetition you may want to go up in your weights. You will still get good muscle definition without going up in weights. However if your goal is strength you will want to lift heavier until you reach your maximum capability.


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gypsy@dreamagic.com (Gypsy)


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