Shoulders are sexy. No matter how you look at them (and we know you’re looking at them), shoulders are an exciting, strong, sexy part of the body. They present confidence and help your t-shirts hang off your body just right. With summer coming up, the quest for sexy and slim or thick and strong shoulders is even more important. The top and back of your torso become front and center as tank tops, bathing suits and off-the-shoulder shirts emerge from the back of your closet.
Strong, well-defined shoulders can be tough to achieve, though. According to Muscle and Strength, you might be using poor form when you’re working your shoulders, skimping on the weight or not focusing your efforts on the right muscle groups to get the sexy shoulders you want. In short, you might be wasting your time. But don’t give up hope. You can build eye-catching, strong, come-hither shoulders. Here are a few exercises to get you started on your way to seriously big or sensuously slender shoulders, plus some tips to keep in mind while you’re working hard.
How To Get Big, Strong Shoulders
There’s no better show of strength or confidence than big, strong shoulders. The kind that can carry someone from a burning building or hurl a tree trunk straight into the air like they do in the Highland Games. To gain that mass you really need to pump up your deltoids. Here are a few shoulder-building moves.
Barbell Shoulder Press
Start by sitting on a bench with back support in a squat rack or a Smith machine. Place a barbell right above your head and grab it with your palms facing forward a little farther than shoulder-width apart. Pick up the barbell, lift it over your head. This is where your motion will start. Lower the bar slowly down toward your shoulders, in front of your face, on an inhale. Lift it back up to the starting position as you breathe out.
One Arm Side Laterals
Don’t neglect your lateral work! Grab a dumbbell with one hand. With the other hand, grab something to steady yourself, like a bench or railing. Stand up straight with your weight by your side, palm facing you. Keep your torso stationary as you raise the dumbbell up by your side with a slight bend in your arm and your fist tilted slightly forward. Exhale as you raise your arm until it’s just about parallel to the floor. Pause at the top and then, as you inhale, lower the weight back down to your side. Repeat with your other arm.
Old School Push Ups
Classic push ups are the tried and true shoulder workout. Plus, you can do them anywhere at any time, so there’s no excuse not to. You know the drill. Lie face down on the floor with your hands about 36 inches apart, holding yourself up at arms length. Lower yourself down until your chest just hovers above the floor. No butt sagging allowed. Breathe out and press through the floor back up to your starting position. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.
While you’re trying to bulk up your shoulders, make sure you’re getting enough calories and high-quality protein to make your workouts count. Getting your diet right to build those hulking muscles is half the battle.
How To Get Slim, Lean Shoulders
The flipside of those bulky, strong shoulder is the lean, slender shoulder. Still strong, still sexy, just less massive. To keep things lean and tight, you still need to work your shoulders and lift – no fear of bulking here.
Bent Over Low Pulley Side Raise
For this you’re going to need a pulley machine. Stand with the machine to your side and bend at the waist until your torso is just about parallel to the floor. Grab the cable handle in the hand farthest from the machine. Engage your core and raise the arm with the cable handle out laterally to shoulder height. Hold at the top of the movement for a second and slowly lower the handle back down.
Grab two dumbbells and hold one in each hand, palms toward body. Let your arms hang by your side. Keep your shoulders down and back as you pull your elbows straight up in a rowing motion. Keep your wrists neutral and lined up under your shoulders. Pull your elbows up to shoulder height and then slowly return them to the starting position.
It’s easy to slide right from the upright row into an Arnold press. Bring your dumbbells up in front of your collarbone with your palms facing you. Press the weights up over your head while you rotate your palms to face forward into a standard shoulder press. Lower the weight back to the starting position.
Why Shoulders Don’t Just Look Good
Shoulders aren’t just visually enticing. Well-formed, strong shoulders are some of the most functional muscles you can have. Your shoulders figure into just about every upper body exercise you can do, according to the Paleo blog Mark’s Daily Apple. Keeping your shoulders in good shape is going to allow the rest of your workout to be even more effective. Maintaining strength and mobility is going to keep your joints safe and protected.
Sexy shoulders aren’t just for bodybuilders and Victoria’s Secret models. With a little bit of effort, the right moves and some guidance, you can have the strong defined shoulders you want this summer. There will be no excuse for passing on that halter top or keeping your t-shirt on at the beach. Incorporate some simple, effective moves into your upper body routine, remember to get the right amount of calories if you’re trying to build muscle and don’t forget that your shoulders are not just for show, but also functionally important. Build those shoulders up and then show them off.
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