Countdown to Sexy Summer Arms

When I think about gorgeous toned arms, especially come summer when we all want to look good in our tank tops and strapless dresses, one of the main attractions are the shoulders. Unfortunately, we can forget to work all 'heads' of the shoulder joint when training. Most of the time we get a pair of dumbbells in our hand, we do a few shoulder presses and/or lateral raises and call it a day. That's not really gonna cut it though when wanting to create that sexy shoulder we all LOVE.Shoulder-Exercises_l The shoulder joint is one of the most moveable joints in the body. Therefore you want to make sure you are working all three of these muscle fibers (posterior, anterior and lateral) when working your shoulders. When I think of beautifully toned and sculpted arms, I think of fitness pro, Jessie Hilgenberg. She has a gorgeous set of toned arms, beautifully capped shoulders and a great lean physique. Jessie, a IFBB Figure Pro, recommends mixing 'compound (multi-joint) exercises and isolation (single-joint) exercises within each training session'. Also making sure you not shy away from using unilateral (one arm at a time) and bilateral (both arms) exercises and a mix of dumbbells, barbells, machines and cables. Especially when addressing weaknesses and strengths within your muscle group, doing unilateral movements is very beneficial. Check out my unilateral rep challenge workout here! 374177_10150440580167807_97685502806_8680475_2114404997_n   Jessie, in her own training, will work in compound movements first, working all heads of the shoulder and then move to isolation exercises to target each head separately.Compound movements are great because they incorporate more muscle fibers than single isolation exercises, and therefore will also target more muscle groups. You will hit numerous muscle groups as you perform multi-joint movements through a range of motion. Think bent over barbell row. With this exercise, you are not only working your back, but your biceps and shoulders as well. Hitting more muscle groups at once also means less time working out. I follow Jessie on, and love her tip on training the shoulders, and I use it a lot in my classes as well. She mentions how the position of your elbow during shoulder movement exercises, will determine which 'head' of the shoulder you will work. For instance, if you place your elbows in the front of your torso, you are working the front of the delts, or anterior delt. Now, if you work the anterior delt TOO much and not the medial and posterior delts, you will have an overdeveloped anterior delt since you were not paying enough attention to the medial and posterior. I see this all the time in training too. Concentrate on keeping the elbows out to the sides of your torso, and the focus will be more on the medial and posterior delt. If you usually keep your elbows in front, you may find performing shoulder presses with elbows at the side of your torso, are A LOT harder. Work with slow and controlled movements.  Jessie also mentions NOT locking out the elbows at the top of the movement. This will keep the delts in play the entire time, instead of the triceps and traps. Here is an example of Jessie's shoulder workout and one to try out for yourself! Make sure you are warmed up before beginning to avoid any injury! I have done this workout a few times and love it! Work with a challenging weight. You can always go down in weight if you find they are TOO heavy, but you don't want to use too light of  a weight, which you feel you could do 20+ straight reps on without feeling a thing. My routine would be to warm up, stretch and then do about 2 warm up sets to determine which weight to use during the working sets. You are performing 4 sets of each. To challenge myself and make it a little higher intensity, I also will incorporate about 3 minutes of cardio after the completed set of exercises. An example would be 30 seconds of high knees, 30 seconds of mt. climbers, 30 seconds of jump squats and repeat that 2x, or skip rope for 3 minutes, then move on to the next exercise set. Dumbbell Military Press 4 sets x 10-12 reps (elbows in line with torso!) (I will add 3 minutes of cardio here) Arnold Dumbbell Press 4 sets x 10-12 reps (I will add 3 minutes of cardio here) Wide Grip Upright Barbell Rows 4 sets x 10-12 reps (I will add 3 minutes of cardio here) Single-Arm Lateral Raise Machine (I do either Lat raises with my dumbbells OR with tubing) 4 sets (each arm) x 18-20 reps (I will add 3 minutes of cardio here) Bent Over (torso parallel to ground) Reverse Dumbbell Fly 4 sets x 12-15 reps (I will add 3 minutes of cardio here) Barbell Front Raise (I use my T-BAR or a 25lb plate) 4 sets x 10-12 reps (I will add 3 minutes of cardio here) Make sure you stretch your shoulders throughout or at the very least, at the end of the workout! I usually repeat these exercises 2x a week. Source:             Image Source:, Photo by Pete Rezac                               Photo Credit (Shoulder joint):

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