Simple Secrets for Stronger Shoulders

With the right foundations you can carry the weight of the world.

Balancing your pushing a pulling exercises can help build healthy shoulders. But tight or weak muscles around your shoulderblades can impede performance in strengthenng exercises such as the military press. Avoid this pitfall by doing these moves twice a week.

1. Dumbbell Protraction

Lie on a bench and hold a dumbbell with a neutral grip (palm facing the centre of your body), your arm straight up and inline with the side of your chest. Keeping your elbow locked, push the weight further up towards the ceiling by lifting your shoulderblade off the bench as high as you can. Then lower it.

Complete a set of 12-15 reps with each arm, then do a second set, this time pushing your arm up and bck at about a 105° angle (your biceps should be touching your ear).

2. Front-Raise Lateral Lift

Hold a dumbbell at your side, palm facing your thigh. Keeping your shoulderblade down, raise the weight in front of you in an arc until it's overhead (do not arch your back). Then rotate your arm so your palm faces forward and lower the weight to your side. Finish the set with that arm, then repeat with the other arm. Do two sets of 6-8 reps.

3. Dip-Station Reverse Shrug

Grab the parallel bars of a dip station and lift yourself so your arms are straight and elbows are locked. Without changing your arm position, press your shoulders downward relative to your torso to lift your body slightly (in other words, shrug your shoulders down instead of up). Pause, then return to the starting position and repeat. Perform two sets of 10-12 reps.