Friday, February 19, 2016

Three Exercises for Keeping Healthy Shoulders

Your shoulders are one of the largest and most complex joints in your body and also has the most range of motion of all the joints in your body.  There is hardly any upper body movement in which your shoulders are not involved.  Thus, having strong and healthy shoulders is critical to most of the things you do everyday from brushing your teeth to bringing home a bag of groceries.  

Below are three exercises I do on a weekly basis to keep my shoulders healthy and strong.  Use a resistance with which you can do 8 to 10 repetitions of which the last 3 repetitions are difficult to complete with proper form.

Arnold Press

Use a bench that has a back support for this exercise.  Sit upright, holding a dumbbell in each hand close together at nose height, with your palms facing inward.  This is your start position.  Rotate your palms forward and bring the dumbbells back to your ears.  Then, press the dumbbells overhead until your arms are fully extended.  Now, bring the dumbbells back down to ear level, and return to your start position.  Exhale as you rotate the dumbbells forward and press up, and inhale as you bring them back to the start position.

Lateral Raise

Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand in front of you.  Position your feet shoulder width apart, slightly bend your knees, and hold your chest high.  This is your starting position.  Bend your elbows slightly and raise your hands out to your sides about shoulder height (with your palms facing down).  Then return to your starting position.  Be careful to keep your forearm and your elbow at the same level at the finish of this movement.  Your breathing pattern is to exhale as you raise your arms up and inhale as you return to start.

Upright Cable Row


The upright row strengthens and develops the top portion of your trapezius -the muscle at the top of your shoulders that attaches to your neck.  Perform this exercise at the cable machine.  Attach a straight bar, and placing the pulley at the lowest level.  Grip the bar at a position where your hands are about an inch apart, and stand upright with your arms fully extended.  Position your feet shoulder width apart, slightly bend your knees, and lift your chest high.  This is your start position.  Pull your hands to the top of your chest, while keeping your elbows slightly higher than your hands. Then return to the start position.  Exhale as you pull the weight upward, and inhale as you return to the start position.