WORKOUT WEDNESDAY: Quick Tips – How to Train Your Shoulder Muscles


by Ben Smart

So often we ask – “can you give me a hand?” Well, extending ourselves out to help others may rely on the arms, but it all originates in one place: the shoulders. Training the group of muscles collectively referred to as the shoulders can give you that solid, strong look. Well-built shoulders also support proper posture and help avoid chronic neck and back pain.

What muscles compose the shoulder?

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Image from shoulderdoc.co.uk

The trapezius, levator scapulae, and rhomboids run along to back side of the shoulders – they connect the base of the skull to the scapula and the clavicle.

On the front side of the body, the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, latissimus dorsi, teres major, and deltoid anchor several different bones in place and create the shoulder aesthetic.

Moves to train shoulder muscles

Don’t overtrain the shoulders with excessive reps. Stick to compound movements, because there are several muscles in the shoulder, and your goal is to train them all in a balanced way.

  1. Barbell Shrugs: 3-4 sets of 20

Hold a barbell with both hands, letting it hang in front of your body. Pull the bar upwards, tensing your shoulder muscles on the way up. Hold for a second then slowly release. Remember – don’t roll your shoulders on this move.

  1. Dumbbell Deltoid Raise: 4 sets of 10

Hold a pair of dumbbell at your side. Raise the dumbbells upwards, creating an arc until your arms are straight and at shoulder level. Hold for a second and release

  1. Military Press: 4 sets of 8

This move can be tough for beginners, so aim for lighter weight if you find yourself arching your back or using your legs. Hold a barbell with both hands, bending your elbows so the weight is resting on your upper chest. You’re your shoulders and extend the weight upwards above your head. Remain steady and firm, then slowly bring the weight back down. Remember, this move trains the shoulders, so maintain a solid base and focus on using the shoulder muscles.

Cool Down

Always perform light stretches and remain hydrated before concluding your workout. Stopping or starting too quickly can result in injury.

Ready to take your workout to the next level? Get help from the experts – sign up for individualized training with a certified personal trainer at UNC Campus Recreation.

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