Shape & Tone Your Shoulders

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Having nicely shaped and toned shoulder caps (deltoids) gives your physique a balanced, hourglass figure. Who wouldn’t want the appearance of having a smaller waist and a more proportionate hip width? My shoulder routine will target every angle (anterior, medial, and posterior) of your deltoids to give them a full, rounded look, creating balance, symmetry, and proportion.

When choosing a weight, keep in mind that in order to gain the results you are looking for you must lift heavy to really tax your muscles. Doing so will develop your deltoids faster than you think and you will be ready for summer in no time! Select a weight that is challenging, yet safe. If the weight you choose cannot be executed with proper form or without using momentum and swinging the weight, then it is wise to select a lighter weight. The weight should be challenging enough to complete the last three repetitions of your set with a struggle.

WARM-UP: Shoulders are prone to injuries if they are not warmed-up properly. Before beginning my workout I like to start with arm circles, performing these in a forward motion and then reverse for approximately 2 minutes. I also perform one set of the first exercise using a lighter weight for 20-25 repetitions to warm them up.

FOR THE WORKOUT: Complete all three sets of each exercise before moving on to the next exercise. Rest period between sets vary anywhere between 30-90 seconds. Find the number of sets and reps at the end of each exercise description. Always use proper form and make sure you breathe correctly!

Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Standing straight up with your feet shoulder width apart, with a dumbbell in each hand. Raise the dumbbells to head height, elbows out with a 90 degree bend. This will be your starting position. Extend through the elbow to raise the weights together directly above your head. Pause, and then slowly return the weight to the starting position. Exhale as you execute and inhale as you lower the dumbbells back down slowly to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

Dumbbell Front Raise
Stand with a straight torso and the dumbbells in front of your thighs at arms’ length with the palms of the hands facing your thighs. While keeping the torso stationary, lift one dumbbell to the front with a slight bend in your elbow. Lift up until your arm is slightly above parallel to the floor. Exhale as you execute this movement with a slight pause at the top. Lower the dumbbell back down slowly to the starting position as you inhale and then alternate arms. Do 3 sets of 12-15 reps (per arm).

Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Stand with a straight torso and dumbbells by your sides at arms’ length with the palms of the hands facing you. While keeping the torso in a stationary position, lift the dumbbells to your sides with a slight bend in the elbows (do not lock your elbows). Continue to go up until your arms are parallel to the floor. Exhale as you execute this movement with a slight pause at the top. Lower the dumbbells back down slowly to the starting position as you inhale. Do 3 sets of 12-15 reps.

Dumbbell Bent-Over Reverse Fly
Place feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the knees and bend over at your hips keeping a flat back, close to horizontal. Bring two dumbbells together hanging down below your chest with your elbows slightly bent. Raise arms to your sides until elbows are slightly higher than shoulders. Keep upper arms perpendicular to your body and elbows pointing up. Exhale as you execute this movement with a slight pause at the top. Lower the dumbbells back down slowly to the starting position as you inhale. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

EZ-Bar Upright Row
Grasp an EZ-bar (curl bar) with an overhand grip that is slightly less than shoulder width. The bar should be resting on the top of your thighs with your arms extended and a slight bend in your elbows. Your back should be kept straight at all times. This will be your starting position. Exhale as you execute this movement, using the sides of your shoulders to lift the bar raising your elbows up and to the side. Keep the bar close to your body as you lift until you reach the top of your chest. Pause and lower the EZ-bar back down slowly as you inhale. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

Standing Single-Arm Cable Rear-Delt Fly
Stand perpendicular to the machine with feet shoulder-width apart. The cable pulley should be even with your shoulders. Grip the cable with the hand furthest from the machine while resting the opposite arm on the hips. Keep your arm extended in front of you and parallel to the floor. Initiate the movement by moving your arm back and outward, keeping your arm straight and parallel to the floor with a pause once your arm is extended to your side. Exhale as you execute this movement and with a controlled motion return back to starting position as you inhale. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

By Claudia Virgil

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