Shoulder Exercise Programs

It’s vital to include shoulder exercise in your fitness programme, because the shoulders are some of the most used and abused muscles in the body. Shoulder problems are becoming an increasingly common phenomenon, largely because the modern lifestyle puts so much strain on them. Sitting at your desk at a computer, for example, can put enormous daily strain on this part of the body, particularly if your keyboard, desk and chair are not correctly adjusted.

It makes a lot of sense to devote some time and attention to increasing the strength and flexibility of these muscles, to protect them against strain and injury. What’s more, if you participate in any sports that use the arms, such as swimming or racquet sports, a great deal of the power you’ll be using will come from your shoulders.

Your shoulders are not large single muscles, but a collection of smaller muscles known as the deltoids. There are three main areas to the deltoids: the anterior, or front muscles, the medial, or middle muscles, and the posterior, or rear muscles. It’s important to exercise all three areas during your fitness programme, to ensure balanced muscle development.

When planning your workout, you can choose between exercises using free weights such as dumbbells and barbells, or machine based exercises. The anterior deltoids can be worked with overhead presses, using either barbells or dumbbells. Side deltoid laterals will work the medial deltoids, and can be performed using dumbbells. Popular posterior deltoid exercises are lying rear deltoid raises, again using dumbbells.

Don’t forget to warm up thoroughly before you perform any of these exercises. You’ll need to do an overall cardiovascular warm-up to raise your body temperature, and also a few sets of low-weight exercises to warm up the deltoids themselves first, thus preventing injury.