Look around and everyone these days is talking about having a daily exercise regimen. The emphasis on a healthy lifestyle is now at an all-time high. There are a range of studies that go on to prove the health benefits of exercising daily. No matter which form of exercise we follow, it is imperative that all muscle groups get appropriate attention. Let us look at one such part of the body that often gets neglected.
The shoulders are a very sensitive part of the human body. Bearing the brunt of strain and stress almost every day, the shoulder muscles if not kept active may turn ineffective over the years. Aesthetically, a well-defined set of shoulders looks phenomenal on both men and women. Furthermore, exercising the shoulders enhances the strength of the muscles situated nearest to the shoulder, such as the arms and thus provides greater strength and stability to the body.
A network of movements of the body is interconnected to the shoulder. One such movement is that of the arms. Thus, week shoulders do not permit flexible movement of these parts and thus might cause stiffness and injury. The muscle that stabilises the shoulder is the rotator cuff and it must be trained to avoid injury.
However contradictory this might sound, the shoulder is the most flexible yet the most unstable part of the body. A large number of sports activities require the movement of the shoulders such as golf. Many day-to-day activities, such as lifting heavy objects like groceries, handling little children and house hold chores may strain the shoulders. To be able to handle this external pressure, the shoulders must be strengthened.
All of us have conveniently adopted the fast paced life, caught unaware of the consequences of such a lifestyle. We often forget exercising and have not learnt to prioritise our life in such a way that the body must benefit. Exercise is food for the soul. It nourishes the organs and revitalizes the cells. It is refreshing and leads to a healthy lifestyle.
Here is a list of exercises that you could adopt as a part of your training in order to strengthen the vital shoulder muscles, to improve the ability to suffer stress and thus be less vulnerable to injury. According to trainer, Tushar Bhatia from Crush Fitness here are a few exercises that target the shoulders directly.
1. Internal Shoulder Rotation- Rotator Cuff
This exercise enables strengthening of the rotator cuff muscles in order to maximize stability. The way to do this is as follows:
- Lay on one side of your body, on a bench, with your knees bent and a dumbbell in the lower hand on which you are lying down.
- Bend the elbow in such a way that it creates a right angle and keep the upper arm supported on the bench, or on your waist, with the lower arm unsupported.
- Rotate the shoulder to pull the dumbbell up to your other shoulder. Repeat.
- Slowly return to the starting position. In this way, the rotator cuff is strengthened.
2. External Shoulder Rotation
In this exercise, lay on one side of your body, on a bench, with your knees bent and a dumbbell in the upper hand. Bend the elbow in such a way that it creates a right angle and keep the upper arm supported on the bench.Rotate the shoulder to pull the lower arm and make sure that they are at level with the top part of your body. Repeat with ease. Internal and external rotation targets deep muscles of shoulders which are not visible to human eyes and acts as a stabilizer for shoulder
3. Dumbbell or Barbell Overhead Press
Dumbbell or Barbell press target the front head of the shoulder and is a great exercise for building overall strength or mass in shoulders. With palms facing in front of you, hold one dumbbell in each of your hands at shoulder level, press the weights above your head and repeat. Instead of anterior, medial or posterior, one can do front head, medial head of shoulders.
4. Dumbbell Side Raises or Lateral Raises
Lateral raises targets side head of the shoulder, which gives a round and a broad shape to shoulders.
In this, make sure that palms face each other while holding the dumbbell in each hand.
The arms must be raised at a 90-degree angle till the arm is parallel to the floor.
5. Bent Over Dumbbell Fly
Posterior deltoid gives a complete shape to shoulder muscles and acts as an extension to rotate shoulder externally and assist back muscle (lats) to extend. In this exercise, you would need a bench in front of you. Hold a dumbbell in both hands; stick you head to the bench while bending but make sure your back is straight. Your palms must be facing one another.
Lift the arms on the side so that they are parallel to the floor. Exhale while lifting the weights.
Repeat the exercise for better results.
Including these aforementioned exercises as a part of your daily training has the potential to improve your body both aesthetically as well as in terms of physical strength and fitness.