Training your shoulders is very important for a balanced upper body. Neglecting your shoulders is a dangerous game, as weak shoulders can lead to you suffering from a number of injuries. There are a number of effective shoulder exercises you can do including the military press and dumbbell shoulder press, but there are also a number of other alternative exercises that you may not have tried.
In this article we will be taking a look at some of the more unusual shoulder exercises and hopefully you can find a new one to try during your next shoulder workout.
#1 Around the Worlds
Most traditional exercises involve you moving weight from one point to another through one range of motion. This restricted movement means you reduce the number of muscle fibres recruited during the exercise and time under tension is not as long as it could be. Performing Around the Worlds tackles both of these drawbacks.
It is best to perform this exercise with dumbbells. Begin by picking up the dumbbells in each hand and holding them by your sides, in the same way you would as if you were performing a lateral raise. Then raise the weights performing a large arching motion over your head and during this movement, rotate your arms so your palms are facing upwards towards the ceiling. Pause at the top of the movement and then slowly return the weight to the starting position, rotating your arms so your palms face your body. This exercise will keep your deltoids constantly under tension, especially if you focus on controlling the movement.
Recommended reps: 8-12
#2 Arnold Press
The Arnold Press is named after world-famous bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. This exercise is a variation on the standard dumbbell shoulder press and targets the front and side of your shoulder muscles.
To perform this exercise, sit on a bench with the back support almost completely upright. Hold two dumbbells at chest level with your palms facing towards you. Then raise the dumbbells up and as you do so rotate your palms so they face away from your body. Continue to lift the dumbbells up until your arms are fully extended above you. Pause and then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position by rotating your palms so they face you once again.
#3 Straight Arm High Lateral Raise
The likelihood is, you have probably performed dumbbell lateral raises before. Normal lateral raises involve you bringing your arms up and stopping when your arms are parallel with your body. Performing a high lateral raise is slightly different.
To perform a high lateral raise, bring the dumbbells up high until they have cleared head height and until your arms are at a 45-degree angle in relation to your head. Pause, and then lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. Performing a high lateral raise places greater emphasis on your middle deltoids, which are a stubborn muscle group to increase in size. It also uses a fuller range of motion, which increases time under tension and recruits more muscle fibres during the repetition.
#4 Barbell Overhead Shrugs
Your traps are a very important muscle for giving your shoulders mass. Overhead shrugs are a great exercise for targeting your traps. The traditional barbell shrug does have some limitations, especially when it comes to mobility. It can be difficult when the weight is in front of you to really target your traps.
To perform overhead shrugs with a barbell, you need to setup like you are going to do the military press. Choose a grip that it most suited to you and then overhead press the weight. Keep your arms pointing straight in the air supporting the weight and then shrug the weight up. Ensure that you elevate the weight with your shoulders. Your arms should not move and should stay pointing straight up in the air.
It is also important to make sure you keep your body straight by bracing your core and glutes. Do not arch your back, as this can lead to injury. If you cannot hold the weight straight up in the air without arching your back, the weight is too heavy and needs to be reduced.
#5 Cable Seated Lateral Raise
This is a great exercise to target the posterior head of your deltoids. For this exercise, you need to line a flat bench up in between a cable machine, making sure it is slightly in front of the machine. Attach handles to the cables, sit on the bench facing away from the cable machine and bring each cable handle under the bench and cross them over. Lean slightly forward and then raise the cables out and up as high as you possibly can, making sure to activate your rear deltoids. It is important to really squeeze your delts at the top of the movement and pause for a second before lowering the weight slowly and returning to the starting position.
Enhance Your Shoulder Training
You may have heard of some of the exercises above, but hopefully there may be a couple you haven’t tried. Next time you are training your shoulders, why not try one or two new exercises to add something different to your shoulder workouts.
About the Author
Alex Genzel is passionate about health and fitness having been involved in a number of competitive sports from an early age. He has been writing about sports nutrition and training for a number of years, alongside pursuing his passion for bodybuilding and desire to become a certified personal trainer. As well as writing for BULK POWDERS® Alex also has his own blog where he shares his training experiences and advice on supplements.