Killer Shoulder Workout!
< TRAINING INTRODUCTION >
Target the three heads of your deltoid muscles to create sexy, curvy shoulders.
Located at the tops of your arms, your deltoid muscles have three distinct heads: the anterior (front), lateral (side) and posterior (rear), which come together to form a triangle. It's important to work all three heads of the deltoids to develop an even, rounded contour, says this month's featured trainer, Irene McCormick. "Most women tend to focus on what they see in the mirror and neglect their rear shoulders," McCormick says. With her trio of exercises, shown here, you can sculpt the front and sides of your shoulders while also firming up the accessory muscles that underlie the soft, underdeveloped area under the back part of your bra strap.
The three exercises featured on this page are designed to target your deltoid muscles. While the three heads of the deltoids have different origins, they all attach on your upper arm. The anterior head originates at your collarbone. Its primary role is to raise your arm up and forward and rotate it inward. The posterior head attaches to your shoulder blade and acts primarily to move your arm backward and rotate it outward. The lateral head, which is located between the other two heads, primarily works to lift your arm out to the side as well as to assist the anterior and posterior heads in their movements.
To do these moves, you will need a set of 3- to 15-pound dumbbells, an incline bench and a stability ball. All of these fitness accessories are available at most gyms.
1. Overhead Press
Strengthens middle and anterior deltoids and trapezius (upper back)
Sit on the edge of a bench, knees bent and in line with ankles, feet flat on the floor.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of shoulder joints, palms facing you, elbows bent at your sides and pointing down toward the floor, forearms parallel.
Contract abs to maintain a neutral spine and an erect, lifted posture.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together, then press the dumbbells up and over your head as you turn your palms forward and straighten your arms, making sure not to lock your elbows.
Bend your elbows back to the starting position and repeat for all reps.
2. Incline Rear Fly
Strengthens posterior deltoids
Adjust an incline bench to a 60-degree angle.
Lie facedown on the bench, knees bent and toes touching the floor for balance.
Grasp a dumbbell in each hand, arms hanging directly in line with your shoulders, palms facing in.
Gently place your chin on the bench, keeping your neck in line with your spine, and contract abs so entire body is stable and supported.
Squeeze shoulder blades together and keep elbows soft as you lift arms up and out to shoulder height.
Slowly lower to starting position, then repeat for all reps. 3.
3. Shoulder Raise
Strengthens anterior and lateral deltoids
Lie with your left side supported on a stability ball and extend left leg out to the side so the outside of your left foot is balanced on the floor.
Bend right knee and place right foot flat on the floor so knee and ankle are aligned.
Grasp a dumbbell in your right hand and extend your right arm to the side, resting the dumbbell on outside of your right thigh. Keeping your body stable, lift your right arm so it forms a straight line with shoulders.
Pause, then slowly lower to starting position. Repeat for all reps.
Be sure to keep elbows pointing down, with dumbbells stacked directly over your wrists and elbows.
Focus on using your shoulder muscles to lift the weights, reaching oul from the elbows to the sides with your hands as if to touch the walls with your knuckles.
Keep shoulders and hips square and stable, so only your arm is moving.
Begin each workout with a 5-minute cardio warm-up; end by stretching your shoulder and back muscles, holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds without bouncing.
Focus on lifting your sternum and pulling your shoulder blades down and in as you do each rep.
Resist the temptation to involve the neck in these shoulder movements.
Back off or lighten up on the resistance if you feel twinges of pain or "popping."
Your training program also should include exercises that target your latissimus dorsi, the muscle on your back that works in conjunction with your deltoids.
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