Top 5: Shoulder Exercises

it’s time to have more than a chip on your shoulders

Training shoulders is a must for anyone looking to increase their athletic performance, improve their strength levels and build a well-rounded physique!

Here’s our top 5 shoulder exercises modelled brilliantly by Amy!

Military Press

We try to include a barbell in every workout at Athlete Movement and the Military Press is the perfect way to use one in a complete shoulder workout.

There are lots of variations of the Military Press with different elements tweaked. We prefer the strict press for testing strength and form and switch to a Push Press variation on more athletic, explosive workouts.

Coaching Points

  • Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width with the bar resting on the front of your shoulders. Some lifters prefer front rack position, others a more traditional grip.
  • Press the barbell up trying to maintain a straight bar path
  • At the top of each rep think of pushing your head through your arms to get full extension

Arnold Press

A favourite of Amy’s is the Arnold Press –  named after the Terminator himself.

The main difficulty with this exercise is rotating as you press, however when you have mastered that it is an extremely effective way to challenge your shoulder muscles!

Coaching Points

  • Begin with the dumbbells in a similar position to the top part of a bicep curl with palms facing towards your chest
  • Rotate and press at the same time, your palms should be facing away from you as your elbows become inline with your shoulders
  • When your palms are facing away from you, press up in one controlled, straight movement
  • Reverse the movement until your hands are back facing your chest and you are back in the starting position

Bent Over Dumbbell High Row 

By changing the angle of your back you can perfectly target the upper traps and rear deltoid muscles with a dumbbell row.

This exercise is all about form, technique and tempo – there is no need to rush for the big dumbbells!

Coaching Points

  • Experiment with the angle of your back until you feel the contraction in your upper traps and rear deltoids
  • Pause at the top of each rep and ‘squeeze’ the contraction to increase the muscle’s time under tension
  • Superset with Rear Delt Flyes for a brilliant finisher to any shoulder session

Y Raise

Another exercise where form, technique and tempo are far more important than weight.

Plate raises are a fantastic way to isolate your deltoids’ in one specific range of motion. The Y Raise is a simple movement with great results. Focus on controlling the weight as you both raise and lower it to feel the full benefit. Try to resist the urge to pick up heavy weights and shrug them up.

Coaching Points

  • Hinge at the hips and breathe in to brace your trunk to give you a stable base
  • Maintain a steady, slow tempo as you both raise and lower the plate with a straight arm
  • Switching to single arm reps can help increase the range of motion in your T-spine

Cable Side Lateral Raise

Another of Amy’s favourite’s – the cable side lateral raise.

Using cables is a great way to maintain a constant amount of resistance and tension on the muscle throughout the entire range of motion.

Coaching Points

  • Hold on to the cable machine to support you as you lean
  • Keep your feet in a close stance and pull the cable in front of your body
  • Maintain a controlled even tempo throughout the rep for maximum results. Don’t load on heavy weight and throw it up any way possible.

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