How often do you train your upper body?
When time is short, most women tend to cut upper body out in favour of lower body workouts and cardio sessions, whereas most men do the opposite...but either way upper body strength is really important! Having a strong upper body can help with everyday activities such as lifting and reaching, pushing and pulling and can improve your flexibility, posture and can help prevent injury.
The major muscle groups of your upper body include your shoulder, chest, triceps, biceps and back. Today we're focusing on your shoulders and have put together some basic exercises you can include in your workouts to help strengthen them both.
Try and complete 1-3 sets of each exercise with 15-20 repetitions (when you get more confident you can up your weight and decrease your reps to around the 8-12 range), choose which weight is correct for you (you want to make sure you're working hard but not lifting weights so heavy that could injure you or compromise your form) and make sure you check out the tips below.
Image via Workout Labs
Barbell Clean And Press
- Check out this video to see the exercise in action
- Correct form is so important in order to avoid injury so start with a low weight and practice
- Keep a neutral spine at all times (chest raised with your lower back tucked in) - no arching!
Dumbell lateral raises
- Start in a wide stance with your knees slightly bent
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms straight and palms facing inwards
- Lift your arms out to the sides until your hands reach shoulder level
- Return to the starting position, controlling the weight all the way down
Dumbell Overhead Shoulder Press
- Get a bench and crank the seat up to a vertical position
- Grab a pair of dumbells and raise them to shoulder height (make sure your palms are facing forward)
- Exhale and push the dumbells upwards until they touch
- Return to the starting position in a controlled fashion
Front Dumbell Raise
- Stand up and grab a pair of dumbells in front of your thighs at arms length
- Starting with one arm, raise it in a forward motion (keep it controlled, no swinging!)
- Kepp going until your arm is parallel with the floor
- Lower your arm back down to the starting position
- Repeat with the other arm
We hope this gives you a bit of inspiration for when you next hit the gym! This includes just a few of the many exercises you can use to train your shoulders! It's also key to remember that the key to a balanced and successful workout routine is variety! A big thanks to MoveGB Personal Trainer Scintillate Health and Fitness for working with us on this article and workout suggestion!
We work with an approved and certified Personal Trainer when developing these articles to ensure we're giving you the right information - but all workout ideas and tips should only be used as general information. Please make sure you check with your doctor before starting any training and exercise routine, If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your doctor.