Shoulder exercises are one of the most important you can do. Although often overlooked, the shoulder muscles should be worked just as all other major body parts are worked. They need to be worked out in a systematic manner, consistently and with some variations, doing a workout that will not overwork any individual muscle. A lot of people lift weights, but they don’t have a plan. Weightlifting should be done with all pushing on one day, all pulling on another day, then legs and shoulders should each be worked on separate days.
A correct system for weight-bearing exercises is back and biceps, which is all pulling, and chest and triceps, which is all pushing. Working out in this manner will warrant positive results and afford you the opportunity to get great results from weightlifting, and create a system for you to add legs and shoulders to this rotation. It becomes 4 days of weightlifting, followed by 1 day of rest, before you start the entire cycle over again.
Every minute you spend lifting weights is a minute that is being spent in the best way possible. Muscle has great memory, and even if you were to have to take time off from lifting, once you resume your commitment to weightlifting again, your body will quite quickly come back into good condition and your muscles will develop definition once again.
The serratus anterior muscle in the shoulder muscle complex is crucially important, yet it does not get the attention it should. This muscle, shaped like a knife, attaches to your ribs and is forward to shoulder blades. These muscles are used for upward arm rotation and scapula protraction. One of its most important functions is to anchor and stabilize the shoulder blade, allowing us to have an open chest and good posture. A little-known fact about this muscle is that it helps us to throw a punch, and for this reason it has been referred to as the “boxer’s muscle.”
With so many benefits to developing this muscle, there is little reason not to focus on it, perhaps working one exercise into each shoulder day at the gym. Generally speaking, performing 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps is about the correct amount. The 3 exercises are the serratus pushup, wall angels and according breathing.
The Serratus Push Up
This shoulder exercise does not require a lot of movement, but you should feel your “wings (scapular)” contract, and this is how you will know you are doing it correctly.
To perform this exercise you will get into a female push-up position, with your hands, palms down on the floor, directly under your shoulders. Your body will then lower between your shoulders, yet you will not bend your elbows at all. You will keep your elbows soft as you slightly slide your shoulder blades back. Your shoulder blades will be brought forward as you squeeze them together. The ancillary bonus to this movement is that your will work your core as you push away from the ground, back to the starting position.
A few things you want to keep in mind as you do this exercise is to keep your hands against the wall and if your hands cannot touch the wall, don’t force it. You want to avoid bringing the chest forward and don’t move the lower back off the wall.
To perform this exercise you will stand with your back against the wall and both arms up, in cactus position, and slowly slide your arms upward. As you focus on keeping your shoulders down, you also want to keep your thumbs touching the wall and your elbows pressed back as far as is comfortable. Return to starting position and repeat, while remembering to keep good form by keeping your back against the wall.
If you experience breathing issues, or have asthma, you are likely familiar with the serratus anterior. A simple breathing technique will help provide a more effective workout by directly engaging this muscle.
To perform this exercise you will breath in while simultaneously holding your hands on each side of your rib cage. Breathe in by pulling your shoulder blades out, then back and down. Repeat this movement as frequently as possible to strengthen this muscle.
By taking these simple steps, your shoulder muscles will become a stronger part of your overall infrastructure.