Sign up to the health and fitness newsletter
Sign up for the ''Get Fit'' Newsletter
  • Tips on managing Stress
  • Ways to stay motivated
  • The benefits of resistance training
  • How to improve your metabolism
  • Learn why "conventional" diets fail
  • How to target stubborn fat areas
  • Healthy and tasty recipes
  • What muscle soreness really means
  • Learn how exercise affects your mood
  • How to choose the right health club
  • Weight loss and diet myths revealed
  • Flexibility, how and when to stretch
  • How to build personal motivation
  • How to conquer procrastination
Email:
Name:
Links
Sign up to the get fit newsletter
Sign up for the ''Get Fit'' Newsletter
  • Tips on managing Stress
  • Ways to stay motivated
  • The benefits of resistance training
  • How to improve your metabolism
  • Learn why "conventional" diets fail
  • How to target stubborn fat areas
  • Healthy and tasty recipes
  • What muscle soreness really means
  • Learn how exercise affects your mood
  • How to choose the right health club
  • Weight loss and diet myths revealed
  • Flexibility, how and when to stretch
  • How to build personal motivation
  • How to conquer procrastination
Email:
Name:
This Month In Body
  • More Than Weight Loss
    You may be surprised to learn these lesser-known benefits of exercise. Read >>
  • Slam, Wave, and Whip
    The exercises that use battle ropes are known to sculpt and strengthen muscle while providing a full-body cardio and strength-training workout. Different types of exercises work different muscles, some focusing on upper body, others on your core or legs.Want to give battle ropes a try? Here are a few beginner exercises. Read >>
  • Shoulder the Load
    Like so many other vital parts of your body, you don’t realize the importance of strong shoulders until something goes wrong. Here are a few shoulder-strengthening exercises to get you started on the road to shoulders that will make your daily life easier. Read >>
  • Making a Comeback
    Your workouts were going so well and you were finally getting in shape. You know exercise is vital for good health and you’re eager to get back into your workout routine, but you’ve got to be careful not to reinjure or hinder complete healing. Before jumping back into exercise, take the following advice to heart. Read >>
Health and Fitness News

Shoulder the Load

Five ways to get strong shoulders in the gym.

Your shoulder joint is one of the most complex joints in your body. It must be surrounded by strong muscles, ligaments, and tendons in order to stay flexible, strong, and able to handle stress. And like so many other vital parts of your body, you don’t realize the importance of strong shoulders until something goes wrong. Strong shoulders are required for all sorts of activities, from household chores and carrying in groceries to picking up your kids or grandkids and doing any kind of manual labor. To avoid injury, it’s important that all the rotator cuff muscles surrounding your shoulder joint stay equally strong.

Since these muscles are relatively small, take care to gradually increase the weight load and repetitions of your shoulder exercises.

Here are a few shoulder-strengthening exercises to get you started on the road to shoulders that will make your daily life easier.

1. Standing Military Press

To do the military press, use a barbell placed chest high in the squat rack. Place the desired amount of weight on the barbell. Hold the barbell with your hands placed wider than shoulder width and with your palms facing forward. Slightly bend your knees and rest the bar across your upper chest. Exhale and lift the bar above your head and lock your arms. Then inhale and lower the bar back to your upper chest. Repeat.

People with low back problems may find it easier to do this exercise while seated. Want a more challenging exercise? Make it a true military press by keeping your feet together throughout the movement.

2. Reverse Flyes

This exercise is done using an inclined bench and two dumbbells. Sit and rest your chest and stomach against the inclined bench. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing each other. Slightly bend your elbows and bring your arms together in front of you so they make a right angle with the bench. Now exhale and move your arms out to either side while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Inhale and return your arms to the starting position. Repeat.

3. Front Dumbbell Raise

Stand and hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of each thigh, palms facing your thighs. While keeping your body stationary, exhale and lift your right arm up in front of you until it’s parallel to the floor. Your arm should be slightly bent and your palm should be facing down. Hold for a second, inhale, and lower your arm to starting position. Now lift your left arm. Continue alternating your arms. Want to move a little faster? Give this exercise a shot while lifting both arms at once.

4. Side Lateral Raises

Hold a dumbbell in one hand down by your side with your palm facing your body. Use the other hand to hold onto something for balance. Lean your body slightly away from what you’re holding onto. While keeping your body stationary, exhale and lift the dumbbell out to your side until it’s parallel to the floor. Hold for a second. Through this motion your arm should be slightly bent at the elbow and your hand tilted forward at a slight angle. Inhale and lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. Repeat and switch arms.

5. Standing Low-Pulley Raise

Stand to the right of a low-pulley row. Reach your left arm across your body and take hold of the handle with your palm facing down. Use your right arm to hold the machine for balance and keep your back straight. Exhale and pull the cable across your body until your left arm is extended out to your side at shoulder height. Inhale and return the cable to the starting position in a slow, controlled manner. Repeat and switch arms.