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Strong shoulders

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

The shoulders make up a body part that is interesting because it contains different muscles which sit at the crossroads of the upper body. Without a strong set of shoulders a lot of what should follow down the body frame cannot take place effectively, so exercising the shoulders is important to ensure they deliver.

Injuries of the shoulders are common where training and particularly weight training is concerned. As some discover to their discomfort, an injury to the shoulder joints or the network of muscles that cover and protect them can have long-lasting and painful consequences.

In my experience, a tried and tested combination shoulders workout can be effective in building strong shoulders and also protect from injury, if such a combination is undertaken using the right technique and a sensible amount of weight (that the person exercising can work with safely), as follows.

Lateral raises, seated

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

Step by step:

  1. Sit on a bench, with a dumbbell in each hand, arms at your sides, palms facing in.

  2. Position your feet roughly hip-distance apart.

  3. Check your posture, roll your shoulders back, engage your core, and look straight ahead.

  4. Raise your arms a couple of inches out to each side and pause. This momentary pause should help ensure you disengage your trapezius muscle from the movement, targeting the deltoids as intended.

  5. Lift the dumbbells out to each side, keeping your arms almost completely straight, stopping when your elbows reach shoulder height and your body is forming a "T" shape. Breathe in as you lift.

  6. Pause and hold for a second at the top of the movement.

  7. Lower the weights slowly (take about twice as long to lower the weights as you took to lift them), bringing your arms back to your sides.

  8. Breathe out as you lower the dumbbells.

Standing dumbbell raise

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

Step by step:

  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.

  2. Let your arms hang in front of you with the dumbbells in front of the thighs (palms facing the thighs).

  3. Your back is straight, your feet are planted flat on the floor, and your abdominal muscles are engaged.

  4. Lift the weights upward while inhaling. Your arms are extended, palms facing down, with a slight bend in the elbows to reduce the stress on the joints.

  5. Pause briefly when your arms are horizontal to the floor.

  6. Lower the dumbbells to the starting position (at the thighs) with a slow and controlled motion while exhaling.

Should press (machine)

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

Step by step:

  1. Keep a tight core and flat back as you remain seated at the shoulder press machine.

  2. Look straight ahead as you hold on to the handles.

  3. Slowly, press the handles up above your head.

  4. Do not lock out your elbow.

  5. Slowly, bring the handles back down but do not let the weight stack touch.

  6. Repeat the movement.

Reverse pec fly machine

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

Step by step:

  1. Sit on the pec deck fly machine with your stomach against the pad.

  2. Grasp the pec deck handles ensuring your upper arms are parallel to the floor.

  3. Push the handles back together as you contract your back and squeeze your shoulder blades.

  4. Hold this contraction for 1 second.

  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Allow approximately 20 minutes to deliver the above combination of exercises effectively and maintain a reasonable pace and focus when training.

Never rush or over-burden a shoulder routine, as the consequences of doing so can be uncomfortable and risky!

If you have any questions about the above routine, feel free to get in touch.


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