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February 8, 2008

5 Shoulder Exercises For Women

By Serena Daniels

Defined shoulders always make a woman’s arms look sexy, and with the right exercises, shoulder pads of the ‘80s will never come back in style because they won’t be necessary (and they were god awful).

Well developed shoulders not only give a woman the necessary strength to perform simple everyday tasks, they also provide her with a sexier appearance, better posture and, of course, they minimize the size of her hips.

And although the shoulders, or deltoids, are considered one muscle, they actually break down into 3 “heads”; front (anterior) side (lateral) and back (posterior). Compound exercises work all the heads simultaneously, and that will be the focus of the following shoulder exercises.

Shoulder exercises #1
Military press
Sit on the edge of an exercise bench, keeping your core tight. Start with the dumbbells in your hands and raise your arms so that your hands are on opposite sides of your head, elbows bent at 90° angles and in line with your shoulders.

With palms facing forward, raise your arms overhead without straightening them out completely (never stiffen your joints). Hold for a second, then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat.

Sets: 4 (start with weight you can manage and increase weight by 20%. Use a 5-pound weight for the last set)
Reps: 15, 12, 10, 15

Shoulder exercises #2
Front raise

Sit on the edge of an exercise bench with arms by your sides. With dumbbells in hand, palms facing your legs, contract your core and lift one arm in front of your body, turning your palm toward the floor as your hand becomes parallel to it.

Pause for a second and slowly lower your arm back to the starting position, making sure that your palm faces your thigh. Alternate with the other arm.

Sets: 4
Reps: 15, 12, 10, 15

Shoulder exercises #3
Lateral raise

Sit on the edge of bench with arms by your sides, palms facing your legs. With a dumbbell in your left hand, contract your core and squeeze your shoulder and lift your arm out to the side until it is parallel to the floor, remembering not to stiffen you elbow.

For optimal results, place your hand at an angle at the top so that your thumb points toward the floor and your pinky is up in the air. Pause at the top, before slowly returning to the starting position. Complete the set with your right arm before moving onto the left.

Set: 4
Reps: 15, 12, 10, 15

Shoulder exercises #4
Clean & press
A tougher exercise for more advanced trainers, this exercise will give you quick results. Using a barbell, assume a shoulder width stance, bending your knees to pick up the weights (stick out your butt), with your knees on the inside of your arms. Grabbing the barbell at a more than shoulder-width grasp, palms facing in, elbows facing out, make sure the bar is over your feet, your back is straight and your abs tight.

Dig your heels into the ground and lift the bar straight up into the air, elbows out on either side until your hands are near your chin. At this point, twist your wrists so that your palms face outward (elbows are pointing in front of you) and lift the barbell overhead until your arms are fully extended (again, keep elbows loose). Do not move your feet at any point, they must remain planted in the ground.

Lower the bar slowly until the bar reaches the top of your thighs, palms facing in. Squat down to the floor, until the barbell is on the ground, maintaining a straight back and tight core throughout the movement. Repeat.

Sets: 3 (use same weight throughout)
Reps: 10,10,10

Shoulder exercises #5
Push press
Sit on the edge of a bench, keeping your back straight and core tight. Grab the dumbbells, starting with elbows bent and palms facing your chest. Twist your palms outward and extend your elbows as you raise the dumbbells overhead, hold for a second and slowly lower back to the starting position. Repeat.

Sets: 4
Reps: 15, 12, 10, 15

Sexy shoulder exercises

For optimal results, work your shoulders twice a week, giving them at least 48 hours rest between workouts. Before you know it, your shoulders will look so hot that you’ll be donning nothing but halter tops… even in the winter.

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