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Shoulder time!

April 13, 2013

The Shoulders, involved in almost any upper body movement we do and perhaps a muscle group targeted quite frequently by people.

There is even a golden ratio established for the perfect shoulder-waist ratio, making you look your best. Except that intimidating, respect inducing look the shoulders can give its owner, how are they structured, how to work the different areas of them and what exercises are better than others?

The Shoulder joint consists of the Ball & socket joint between the cavity in the Shoulder blade– and the head of the humerus bone, which is the bone in the upper arm. This joint is covered by several ligaments and muscles to stabilize it as it is quite prone to dislocations due to the flexible nature of the joint itself.

Just above this we will find the AC joint, which you can see on the top of your shoulder peaking up a bit,you should be able to feel it with your fingers. AC stands for Acromioclavicular joint– which is the articulation of the clavicle and the Acromion-process of the Shoulder blade. The Clavicle then runs to the middle of your chest and connects with the Sternum, the middle flat bone of the chest,  forming the Sternoclavicular joint.

These three joints creates the Shoulder Girdle which enables several kind of movements of the shoulder-blade.

Then in the middle of the acromion process (top of shoulder) and the humerus, the bone of the upper arm is a sack called bursa which is located there to reduce friction when the shoulder joint is performing movement.

Moving on to the muscular structure of the shoulder – The Deltoid muscle

It’s a muscle divided into three parts:

  • Anterior

This is the front part which will aid you in bench press, work mainly in exercises such as dumbbell shoulder presses and if you lift hand from your thighs and straight up with an extended arm but it will also work a decent amount in incline presses too.

The above mentioned exercises are usually enough to stimulate this part of the shoulder, if you want to put even more stimulus on it, just add a few more sets in your shoulder presses.

What many people do to train this part even more is to perform dumbbell/barbell straight-arm lifts with excessively heavy loads, sure, it does create a great pump in your shoulders and you might acquire great contact in your muscle doing this. but the Bursa which I mentioned above can easily be put under too much friction and after repeated times, like working it hard in the gym, could create an inflammation which usually is quite hard to get rid of.

Shoulder problems such as inflammations are usually a pain to cured from, as you use your shoulders at all times during every day activities too.

  • lateral 

This is the middle part, which raises your arm up to the side and is also assisted by the Trapezius if you go above shoulder height, i.e 90 degrees. It assists a bit during shoulder presses but to target it properly you can just perform Lateral Side lifts with dumbbells or in the cable pulley, using slow and controlled movements and not going above 90 degrees.

  • posterior

The back part of the shoulder, which people often tend to forget to work and strengthen as you do not really see it in the mirror do you? It assists in all type of rowing/pulling exercises in some way and one easy way to target it a bit more during dumbbell rows is to abduct your elbow further away from you body which will decrease the work on your Lats, Trapezius and Rhomboids and let your posterior shoulder work more.

To isolate this part you can just perform posterior dumbbell flyes or the pec-dec machine in reverse.

Are you like me, and find it a bit boring isolating all three sections of the shoulder, maybe you have a limited time in the gym?

let me introduce you to the Barbell Over Head Press except working the whole shoulder throughout you will strengthen your core muscles as well, this is one of the forgotten great compound exercises.

It should replace the Bench press in the “Big 3” group, as it is a much more challenging lift, testing your overall strength much more than the bench press..

I’ll post some more about the Over Head Press later on, but you are now supplied with a brief overview on the shoulder joint and the muscles.

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One Comment
  1. healthiestbeauty permalink

    Reblogged this on The healthiest beauty.

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