Your shoulder is a very complex joint. By understanding how it works you can isolate the parts of your shoulder and complete simple exercises to build strength in each. Together these will give you confidence in your shoulder movement by developing the shoulder muscles. The main shoulder muscles are the deltoids and although they work closely with the arms and chest muscles, it is possible to isolate the “delts” with simple exercises. Unlike other body parts though, the shoulder is not designed for heavy lifting in all directions so we need to take care when doing shoulder-isolating exercises.
The deltoid covers the shoulder and consists of three distinct segments:
- The anterior or front deltoid allows you to raise your arm to the front.
- The medial or middle deltoid allows you to raise your arm to the side.
- The posterior or rear deltoid allows you to draw your arm backward when it is perpendicular to the torso.
The front delt usually receives plenty of work with daily movement, so you’ll need to use common sense and listen to your body when performing exercises that specifically target this muscle.
Here are three shoulder-isolating exercises for you to start with. Grab a small weight, like a tin of beans and sit yourself in a chair without arms:
- Seated press – with the weight in one hand and your arm hanging down by your side lift the weight upwards towards your armpit, keeping your hand close to your body. This exercise places the emphasis on the medial, complete 6-12 repetitions on each side.
- Front lateral raise – again with the weight in one hand and your arm hanging down by your side bring the weight directly out in front of you in an upward ark until at eye level. This exercise emphasises the anterior, complete 6-12 repetitions on each side.
- Rear lateral flyes – again with the weight in one hand and your arm hanging down by your side move the weight directly out behind you as far as is comfortable (don’t worry if this isn’t far, it’ll take time to build this range of movement). This exercise emphasises the posterior, complete 6-12 repetitions on each side.
You may also want to try our Shoulder Strength Program with FA60 Personal Trainer Fred.