Summer’s on its way but is you summer-ready? Strong shoulders, a taut upper back and sexy upper arms will ensure that you look your best, be it in a sundress or a vest.
Square your shoulders and show them off in style under the summer sun by being regular with this shoulder workout.
Standing Dumbbell Press
This arms workout stimulates shoulder growth better than a seated press, helping strengthen the core and adding balance to your physique. Performed with a full range of motion, the standing dumbbell press is the best exercise for maximum deltoid recruitment. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and take a dumbbell in each hand. Raise the dumbbells to eye level, keeping your elbows bent to about 90 degrees. Brace your core and push the dumbbells up and together, extending elbows to 180 degrees. Pause, and slowly return the weight to the starting position.
Plank with Lateral Arm Raise
Get into a straight-arm plank position. Your wrists should be directly below and in line with shoulders. Keep your feet slightly wider than hip width. Keeping hips as still as possible, raise left arm to shoulder height. Lower arm back to centre and repeat on the other side. Keep your core clenched in and shoulder blades down through every repetition.
Plank with Shoulder Touches
Apart from being one of the best exercises for a flat toned stomach, planks are one of the best shoulder exercises for women. Get into a straight-arm plank position, keeping your wrists directly below and in line with the shoulders and feet slightly wider than hip width. Keep the hips still and bring your left hand up to touch the right shoulder. Return to the center and switch sides. Ensure that you draw in your belly button and try and squeeze it into your spine and stare down at the floor the entire time.
Lateral Raises with Kettlebells
Replacing the dumbbells with kettlebells will take these lateral raises to a whole new level as it provides an extra challenge to your forearms and shoulder stabilisers. Hold the kettlebells at your sides. Keeping elbows slightly bent and wrists locked, lift each kettlebell up and out to the side until your arms are parallel to the ground. Focus on squeezing the deltoids to make the most of this move. Turning your thumbs down at the peak contraction will intensely target your side delts. Pause for a second and lower back to starting position.
The humble push-up is the best way to tone your entire body but the plyometric – or jumping – pushup scales up movement within the same range of motion by increasing speed and adding major power. Get into pushup position, placing your hands slightly wider than shoulder width and on top of a bench. Lower down into a pushup. Pause and then explosively push up, allowing hands to come off the bench for a second. Go back to the starting position and repeat.
This pull-up variation will give you a well-defined and stronger back. Wrap one end of an exercise band around the pull-up station. Put one foot into the band and press down so that both legs are straight. Keeping hands slightly wider than shoulder width, grab the pull-up bar and get into a dead hang. Engage the muscles in your back and pull chest up to meet the top of the bar. Hold for 1 count. Lower back down to the starting position, the dead hand, and repeat.
Make time for these exercises for shoulders but ensure that you don’t overdo things.