Your shoulders are one of the most important and powerful muscle groups in your body. For a relatively unstable joint, they’re able to handle a lot of stress exceptionally well — if they’re strong, that is.
Anatomically, the muscles of the shoulder are insanely diverse in terms of size and functionality. They include everything from major primary movers to fixators to fine stabilizers. When most of us think of shoulder muscles, we think of our deltoids and traps, but there are more than these superficial muscles. You also have rhomboids, levator scapulae and the muscles of the rotator cuff: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor.
As you can see, there’s a lot at work when you perform simple shoulder movements, and there’s also a lot at stake when you choose to neglect training these muscles. We’re talking crippling injury, chronic pain, and a lifetime of not being able to pour yourself a cup of coffee without wincing.
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Here are three compelling reasons to train your shoulders.
1) Prevent Injury
We’ve already touched on this but it bears repeating (since it’s so often ignored!): training your shoulders will help you avoid serious injury. The ball of your upper arm is actually rather precariously held in your shoulder socket, which makes it susceptible to a range of painful accidents and incidents, including becoming dislodged.
One of the easiest ways to prevent this from happening is to strengthen the muscles that help stabilize this joint and hold it in place. Simple exercises like downward dog, push ups, standing shoulder circles, shoulder presses and lateral or front raises can do this beautifully.
Be sure to load up with equipment like dumbbells and weighted vests to make the most out of these movements. After all, you’re constantly lifting and carrying things with your arms and shoulders in your day-to-day life, so you need to make sure your training is functional.
For best results, do these exercises standing up, as opposed to sitting down. This will activate your core as well as your stabilizers.
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2) Improve Posture
Jillian Michaels said it best. If you want to lose 10lbs instantly, just stand up straight. Training your shoulders will help you improve your posture, and not only will this help you look slimmer, but it will also improve your overall core and back strength.
What’s more, studies have found good posture bolsters focus, mood and confidence. So, get a sexy body and brain by just doing what your Momma told ya: stand up straight!
3) Look Great!
Here’s the obvious reason to sculpt your shoulders: it leads to taut, toned and super sexy upper body. Yep — your entire upper body. Doing shoulder exercises very rarely works exclusively the shoulder muscles. Even an exercise as basic and targeted as a shoulder press also works your triceps, biceps, core and back. Add a squat to the press and you’ve got a killer, fat-blasting, muscle-building compound movement that works your whole body.
So, don’t skimp on the shoulder exercises. Think of them as a non-negotiable investment in the overall health and strength of your beautiful mind and body.