It seems that these days, the talk is all about the weight on our shoulders — your family, your job, the endless demands from your customers, the list goes on. The trouble is that most of us are so wrapped up with those symbolic loads that we actually forget to pay attention to the literal ones.
In some ways, training your shoulders is a lot like taking care of your teeth (minus the whole flossing thing). You know it’s important, but you usually rush through and forget about them until there’s a real problem.
You may not know this, but your shoulders are the most mobile joint in the body, and that means it is the most susceptible to injury. So take some time to pay attention to your shoulders with these tactics and aim for a better overall body.
Let’s say, what you like to do is bench press. That’s great: in addition to working your chest, this would also flex the anterior portion of the shoulder. However, you need to be careful because if you overdevelop these muscles, you can actually have problems.
How do you determine if you are out of balance? You can use this easy test. Start by standing sideways in front of a mirror. If you see far more muscle in front of your shoulder than you do in the back, then you need to add some pulling exercises to your routine.
Find full extension
Far too many people spend a great deal of time with their shoulders forward and rounded. This is especially true of those who work at a desk. This is called thoracic flexion. As time goes by, this can result in you losing your ability to be able to correctly extend the section of the spine that is connected to your ribs.
If this is not dealt with, you could land up having an injury. If you want to counteract this effect, you should lie on your back overtop a foam roller. This will work out any knots you may have and increase your thoracic extension.
Watch your minors
Usually, when you think about your shoulders, these pumpkin-shaped deltoid muscles are the first to come to mind. While there is no question that large delts look great, this does not mean that the surrounding muscles are less important. In fact, the smaller muscles of the shoulder joint, especially the rotator cuff, are made up of four little muscles, and they play a huge role in stabilizing and strengthening the shoulder.
A front raise exercise can be beneficial in keeping your rotator cuff and the rest of the small muscles healthy. It is important for you to work towards creating balance by doing movements that require some external rotation.
For you to develop healthy and strong shoulders, you need to plan for two shoulder-specific training sessions each week. That said, even if you can only do one workout a week, you will still see results. Remember, working out regularly is not enough – you also have to pay attention to doing it right!