Shoulders are in the running for my favorite body part to train. They compete with back training for the number 1 spot. =)
Today I wanted to share 5 of my favorite exercises. Try including one or more of these in your next session or training phase!
In no particular order:
1. Behind the head military press – If your flexibility allows for this ROM (range of motion) this is great strength movement for your medial deltoid. Be careful not to jut your head forward and be sure to keep your elbows directly under your wrists during every rep.
2. DB upright row – I like doing these seated to limit the body english used and it helps me keep the reps wide. The goal here is to lead with your elbows and aim to keep your wrist under your elbow to keep the load on your delt and not your trap.
3. Lateral raises – I mix these up with variations using kettlebells, doing them single arm and also using the seated lateral raise machine. I even recently used the cable single arm, but used an attachment at my elbow to limit the tension on the elbow joint and instead shift it to the delt. With all of these options though, the key to targeting your medial delt is to bring your arm slightly in front of your body when you’re in the upright position. You can achieve this by leaning forward slightly and always leading with your elbow. Never allow your wrists to raise above your elbow during a lateral raising movement.
4. Band Pull aparts – I think these are one of the most under utilized shoulder exercises targeting rear delts. Rear delts are very small muscles. It’s so easy to compensate and use your trap or rhomboids for movements intended to target RDs. Using a band is a great option because the load increases through the range of motion. When you initiate the movement the load is lighter and you’re able to mentally control your scapula. This is the key to rear delt activation and development. Load isn’t your friend when trying to target rear delts!
5. DB shoulder Press – I like doing these seated in a very slight incline. Leaning back just a tad like this shifts the load into your upper chest and anterior delts. Depending what you want to target and where you have these in your routine the inline is a great option. Anterior delts are not a weakness for many people so I most often keep this style of DB press toward the middle or end of my session. If I program them early on in a session the target is medial delt and I would sit up tall very similar to the behind head military press set up.
I’d love to hear your feedback and favorite shoulder exercises as well. Comment below!