7 Exercises to Strengthen Your Shoulders

· April 18, 2016
To avoid injuring yourself, start out with low resistance in weight training. When using hand weights, you can gradually increase the weight as you get stronger.

Throughout history, having wide, strong, and toned shoulders has been a symbol of strength, power, and authority.

As far as looks and the shape of the body goes, the shoulders are an important part because they’re the base of the muscles of your arms and chest, and maintain the balance between the two.

If you forget to exercise this important part of the body, your surrounding muscle groups (the arms and chest) can be disproportionately large, while your shoulders remain small.

The good news is that there are specific exercises that you can try to get your shoulder muscles on par with the rest of your body, achieving that coveted strong and toned look. Below are seven exercises you can do to strengthen your shoulders.

1. External rotation

2 elastic tension
To start, you’ll need to buy a rubber exercise band to perform a variety of different exercises.

  • Hook the band around a bar or solid piece of furniture, where it’s at the same height as your elbows.
  • Stand next to it and reach across your body with your opposite hand to grasp the band, holding it tense in front of you.
  • Flex your elbow to 90 degrees while keeping your arm tightly against your side, as though you were holding a pencil in your armpit.
  • Rotate away from the band slightly, using a short movement.
  • Do three sets of 15 repetitions on each side.

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2. Shoulder raises with closure

3 hand weights
For this exercise it’s recommended that you use hand weights so it’s easy to increase the intensity level.

  • Perform the traditional shoulder raise, and when your arm is outstretched and level with your nose, bend your elbow so that the hand weight is in front of your eyes.
  • Open your arm and lower it to your side.
  • Try starting out with a few pounds per hand weight.
  • Do three sets of 15 repetitions on each side.

3. Shoulders of steel

  • Sit in a chair and hook the elastic band under your feet.
  • Holding the band at your knees, stretch your arms above your head and then lower them to the height of your shoulders.
  • Repeat this slow, progressive movement 10 times.

4. Neck rows

4 dumbells
The advantage of this exercise is that the weight is always near your torso, helping to maintain good posture and prevent putting too much strain on your back.

  • Standing upright, hold a dumbbell in each hand and tilt your head up, while stretching out your arms in front of you.
  • Raise your arms to your neck by bending your elbows and bringing your hands in sideways.
  • Lower slowly and perform three sets of 15 repetitions each.

5. Loose abdomen

  • Lay face down and stretch out your right arm.
  • Take a hand weight or dumbbell and raise and lower this arm repeatedly, bending the elbow a little for momentum.
  • Try doing three sets of 15 repetitions per arm.

6. Barbell shrugs

5 squats
This exercise requires greater resistance – try using a weight bar with a few pounds added to it (not too much).

  • Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart and grasp the bar with an overhand grip, your palms facing your thighs.
  • Your hands should be slightly farther apart than your shoulders.
  • Raise the bar and rest it on your shoulders, behind your neck.
  • Shrug your shoulders to raise them as much as possible, and hold the weight for a few seconds.

7. Front raise dumbbell

  • Take a pair of dumbbells of equal weight, one in each hand.
  • Stand straight with the dumbbells in front of your thighs, and arms outstretched.
  • Keeping your torso still, lift the left dumbbell forward with a slight bend at the elbow and palm facing down.
  • Raise your arm so that it is higher than being parallel to the floor, and exhale while taking a slight pause at the top of the movement.
  • Lower the dumbbell in one smooth motion to return to the starting position, and raise your right arm to do the same exercise.
  • Perform 10 repetitions with each arm.