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Recent Bodybuilding Articles
Showing posts with label shoulders. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shoulders. Show all posts

Shoulders Make The Man

The first thing anyone notices when they see a bodybuilder for the first time is their shoulders. It doesn’t matter if it’s a face-to-face meeting or just a glimpse from across the gym. The shoulders cap the arms and frame the chest, they are the mark of power and ability and well developed shoulders command attention and admiration.

For some reason many bodybuilders don’t give their shoulders the attention they deserve. A great many bodybuilders get stuck in a pattern of focus on their chest and biceps, ending up with uneven and non-symmetrical development in their other major muscle groups.

One reason for that may be that some people think shoulders are difficult to stimulate properly. When with proper kinetic understanding, the shoulders can be developed to be a winning attribute of any physique.

Seated Military Shoulder Press

seated military shoulder press
Being a core movement and one of the only shoulder movements affording the skeletal position and leverage to lift large amounts of weight, Seated Military Shoulder Press is one of the most effective deltoid movements around. Performed properly, the military press will allow you to build powerful, round and well defined deltoids.

There is some argument about the proper form for military press; some demand that the bar be brought down to the nape of the neck, behind the head, stating that this is the proper bottom position of the movement. While other claim the correct bottom position is at the collarbone in front of the head. There may be advantage to both positions; the rear position afford a deep stretch to the muscles of the shoulder and puts the shoulder socket in a desirable position for providing ample stimulation to the anterior and lateral deltoids. The front position puts more focus on the anterior deltoid and offers indirect stimulation of the upper or clavicle pectoral, but it also offers a potentially safer position for the shoulder socket itself.

The bones of the shoulder are relatively fragile on their own, but when coupled with the dense and encompassing deltoid muscles, it makes for a very well-built joint. However, when the joint is overextended backward (beyond the lateral plane of the body) it is at risk of separation, and the rear position of the military press brings that joint dangerously close to that overextended position.

Lateral Dumbbell Raises

lateral dumbbell raises
Many bodybuilders reserve lateral raises for the shaping phases of their training plans, to be used during periods of cutting where the goals is developing further definition in their muscles. As such lateral raises are often sold short as a method for developing size and strength in the deltoid.

At first, this movement may be difficult to perform with weight that is heavy enough to provide deep stimulation, but over a small amount of time and when done properly Lateral Dumbbell Raises are highly effective for providing good stimulation to the lateral and posterior deltoids.

As always, form is if paramount importance with this movement; it can be performed while standing or seated, it can be done single arm or with both arms at once. It can be done with dumbbells (as the name implies) or with the use of a cable crossover or cable row machine.

Whichever method is used, the basics of the movement are the same, starting with the weight at you hip, gripping the dumbbell normally with your palm facing in toward your body; raise the weight, straight out, away from your hip until your hand (and the dumbbell) is perpendicular to the floor and even with your shoulder. Do not raise the weight higher than the horizontal plane of your shoulder and be sure to control both the negative and positive parts of the movement.

Quite often it is helpful to perform this exercise in front of a mirror, so that you can monitor your form during the movement and identify if you are inadvertently swinging, tilting or otherwise helping the weight up rather than lifting it with strict form.

Upright Rows

upright rows
A familiar sight in most gyms, Upright Rows are an old stand-by for many bodybuilders, used as a good movement for stimulating not only the lateral and posterior deltoids, but also the trapezius major. This is a highly effective movement that is easy to perform and for most of us, is one that allows a good mix of heavy weight and strict form.

Upright rows can be performed using a barbell, dumbbells or cable machines, and the movement is quite simple. Begin with an over grip on the barbell, held at the waist; lift the bar straight up, holding the weight tight against your abdomen and chest. The top of the movement should have the bar resting just below your chin and your bent elbows extended above the horizontal plane of your shoulders.

Because of the pulling nature of this exercise, there is a tendency among beginners to improperly swing their upper back when lifting the weight. Proper form dictates that the body should be held rigid and straight throughout this movement, forcing the shoulders to carry the weight load. For this reason, it is likely more effective for beginners to use a barbell rather than dumbbells or a cable machine, as both of these other methods change the angle of the movement and lend to improper form.

Heavy Barbell Shrugs

heavy barbell shrugs
As previously mentioned, many bodybuilders will treat their traps (superior, middle and inferior) as a part of their back routine, though for reasons of scheduling and efficiency, it may be better to combine traps with the rest of your shoulder routine.

Perhaps the most effective exercise for developing large, sloping traps is heavy barbell shrugs. Due to the basic nature of the trapezius muscles, it is important to use relatively heavy weight to stimulate the muscle group.

Using an Olympic barbell and either a squatters rack, a smith rack or a standing barbell rack, grip the loaded bar with an overhand or alternate grip (one hand over, one hand under), stand straight up lifting the weight off of the rack and shrug the weight using your traps to lift.

Some people suggest that it’s desirable to rotate the shoulder forward through the movement, while others suggest it’s better to shrug straight up and down. It may be a simple matter of comfort and you should chose a method based on your own preferences, though it is important to note that rotating your shoulders through a heavy movement such as shrugs can put undue stress on the joint and cause cartilage problems if done incorrectly.

Ultimately, the shoulders are a key element of anyone’s physique and should be given a due amount of focus. The above are recommended movements that are highly effective for stimulating the muscles of the shoulders, though there are many variations of these exercises and even several movements that have not been discussed. It’s important, as with all other aspects of your training, to gain an understanding of all the available exercises and movements, to better populate your training plan with the most appropriate tools there are for your situation.

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Female Fitness: Improve Your Posture

Good posture isn't just about standing up straight! Not only does it help you look slimmer and more confident, better posture can improve your mood and help ease a wide range of problems. Bad posture can effect your breathing, give you a bad back, sore neck, voice problems (it compresses the larynx), muscular aches and pains, indigestion and sluggish bowels and a range of problems caused by compression of the internal organs.

Stand side-on to a mirror to check the position of your pelvis and shoulders. Seventy per cent of us stand in a sway-back posture with the pelvis tipped back, a result of spending too much time sitting down, the pelvis slightly tipped forward is another posture type. It's important to bring your pelvis back underneath you. For those with a sway back, squeeze your bum in slightly to tuck your tail in, making sure your lower back still has a gentle curve. Your kneecaps should point forwards. Gently pull in the area between your belly button and pubic bone, and check your beltline is horizontal or near to it. Bring your shoulder blades back and pull your chin in slightly; your earlobes should be above your collarbone.
Female Fitness

It is important to make sure your earlobes are above your shoulders. Roll your shoulders back and down. Also have your feet flat on the floor and knees level to or just below your hips: use a specially designed foot-rest if you need to. Both your hips and knees should be bent at 90 degrees. Your feet and knees should be shoulder-width apart. Avoid crossing your legs or ankles as this misaligns your pelvis and spine. Walk tall; hold your head up, bring your shoulders back and pull your tummy muscles slightly in. Your head should be tall. Don't drop your head - it puts a lot of tension on your neck. To see where you're going, drop your eyes without dropping your head. If you have to carry a bag, make it as light as possible and use alternate sides, or even better, use a backpack so your arms are free. Carrying something restricts the oppositional movement of the upper body and legs.

During your workouts, good posture is crucial to help you avoid injury and ensure you get the best results. We tend to be more aware of maintaining good posture and using the appropriate postural muscles when we're working out. especially if using mirrors in the gym. Take the good form you use during your workout with you into everyday life. And don't overdo it at the gym. If you lose your form when exercising, stop-you're building in misuse of the muscles.

Body Weight Moves: Prevent Injury, Build Muscle and Generate Power

If you want to pack on muscular size and strength, it can be tempting to head straight for the weights and do compound lifts such as bench presses and squats rather than press-ups, lunges and other body weight exercises. There's a common assumption that body weight moves are too easy to be effective in building muscle, whereas heavy lifts break down the most fibers in your muscles, shocking them into growing back bigger and stronger. While body weight training does have its limitations - it can't effectively target your back and biceps, for instance - it offers many more benefits beyond the fact that you can do it anywhere, at any time. These moves can reduce your risk of injury, are a perfect way to warm up and can actually improve your ability to go heavier when hitting the weights.

Body weight moves are great for people who don't have a gym membership or access to kit. They are especially beneficial to beginners whose own weight is a sufficient stimulus to improve muscular size and strength. For beginners their own weight provides the right level of resistance and poses less of an injury risk: it's hard to get the form wrong, unlike lifting weights, which can be dangerous without correct form.' Body weight training can also help injury-proof more advanced trainers. Because they are compound moves that involve more than one joint movement, these exercises recruit all your small, stabilizing muscles. Press-ups are great for improving the stability of the typically delicate shoulder joints.


Ego prevents many gym-goers from doing body weight moves because they don't get you the bragging rights like a new bench press or deadlift one-rep max does. But if you are training to build muscular endurance as well as power, body weight training is ideal. That's why combat athletes are some of the biggest advocates. Although favored by fighters, body weight training has huge transferable benefits for all sports in which you need to move your body powerfully and efficiently. They are also great as a warm-up before bigger lifts, or during interval runs - sprint for 20m before doing press -ups or squats. And do them immediately after a set with weights to crank out a few more reps to really fatigue your muscles. In fact, making bodyweight training a core part of your regime could even lead to lifting heavier weights.

Although body weight moves have plenty of benefits, for bigger and stronger muscles you need to lift weights. Once your muscles can lift your own weight comfortably, you will stop making strength gain. Once you can do 20 controlled press-ups, you need to increase the load for increased strength. That's not to say that a session doing bodyweight moves is an easy session. You can make most kit-free moves harder. For example, putting your feet on a chair increases the amount of weight your upper chest and shoulders must move during a press-up. You can also work your shoulders incredibly hard by doing handstand press-ups, while single-leg pistols are far harder than standard squats. But they are still no substitute to heavy weights if you want to add size.

The big problem with bodyweight training is that it is impossible to effectively target your back and biceps. This, and the limitation on how much you can ever lift, makes kit-free moves unpopular with gym-goers who want to pack on size by isolating each muscle and developing it to its maximum potential. To develop a muscle fully you need to target your muscles from many different angles and through their full range of motion .which is only possible with free weights, machines and other special kits.

Post Workout Static Stretches Improves Flexibility

With a static stretch you hold a relaxed muscle under tension. This helps lengthen the muscle, which will have contracted after weight training, and provides several benefits. First, it will help with flexibility, so you'll be able to work your muscles across a wider range of motion, leading to bigger muscle gains. But stretching also helps reduce injuries as your muscles and tendons are less likely to tear when they are relaxed.

Stretching also improves blood flow to your muscles, helping to flush out toxins, meaning you'll be ready for your next workout sooner. And stretching can also aid posture, because tense muscles can pull your spine, shoulders and hips out of alignment, leading to a stooped look and lower back pain.

Your muscles need to be fully warmed up before you perform static stretches, so never do them at the start of a workout. To avoid injury, don't pull too hard when you stretch, and don't 'bounce' the muscle under tension.

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