Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Shapely shoulders

Ever wonder why designers use shoulder padding to enhance an eye-catching silhouette, or how the military came to use epaulets on uniforms? It's because the contour of your shoulders can say something about you. Good posture and a shapely top line communicate strength, athleticism and an air of self-confidence.

The shoulder exercises below can help you achieve nicely rounded deltoids that look great with summer tank tops, bathing suits and sun dresses.

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

1. Choose dumbbells appropriate for your fitness level. Use a bench with an upright back that allows good back support.

2. Start with a dumbbell in each hand, held at shoulder level. Elbows will be out, palms facing forward.

3. Press dumbbells up in a smooth motion until arms are straight, touching weights lightly above your head. Do not allow weights to sway — keep movement steady.

4. In a controlled motion, lower dumbbells to starting position. Repeat 10 to 15 times in two to three sets.

Military Press

These can be done seated on a bench that supports the lower back or in a standing position with feet spaced shoulder-width apart. Use weight appropriate to your fitness level.

1. Grip barbell so that hands are

spaced about 2 inches wider

than your shoulders.

2. Start with bar at shoulder level,

palms facing forward.

3. Using a slow, steady motion,

press bar to arm's length

overhead. Keep the chest high

and back straight.

4. Lower smoothly to starting

position. Repeat 10 to 15 times

in two to three sets.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

1. Begin in standing position, feet about shoulder-width apart. Keep back straight.

2. Hold dumbbells in front with thumbs pointing forward.

3. Keeping elbows slightly bent, raise dumbbells to just above shoulder joints. Palms should be parallel to the floor during extension.

4. Slowly lower dumbbells back to starting position. Control both the raising and lowering motions of the exercise. Never allow momentum to do the work; make the movement intense, both up and down. Repeat 10 to 15 times in two to three sets.

Front Dumbbell Raise

1. Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, feet shoulder-width apart.

2. Keeping arms straight (but not locked), raise right dumbbell in front of body to slightly higher than shoulder joint.

3. In a smooth, controlled motion, lower the weight while simultaneously lifting the weight in your left hand so that both arms are in motion at the same time.

4. Concentrate on each movement. Do not swing arms or lean backward during the exercise. Repeat 10 to 15 times in two to three sets. This exercise can also be done with a barbell.

Upright Rows

1. From standing position, grip barbell with hands no more than 6 inches apart.

2. Concentrating on shoulder muscles, raise bar to just under chin, allowing elbows to bend out wide.

3. Lower to starting position. Do not hunch shoulders during lift. Repeat 10 to 15 times in two to three sets.

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