Once upon a time, I hated working out my shoulders. Arms: check, legs: check, abs: check, but shoulders: OUCH!. Well, the reason it hurt was because my shoulders were so weak. Then, last winter in the middle of my yoga obsession, I knew I wanted to learn how to do a forearm stand. Here’s a little secret: you need shoulder strength to be able to balance on your forearms. Craziness. So, I made it my mission to build up my shoulder strength and, little by little, my forearm stand started to improve. It’s still not perfect, but as long as I can see and feel my progress, then I know I must be doing something right.
I decided to compile some of my favorite shoulder exercises into one workout for anyone looking to hold a forearm stand or to simply build up your shoulder strength. Your shoulders aren’t going to magically become strong if you don’t work them out! And don’t worry if you’re “bad” at some of these exercises—I’m serious when I say my shoulders used to be really, really weak. Working out is as much about the process as it is the end result. PS- try to ignore the fact that my eyes are closed in half of these photos #isuck
Overhead press: Holding one dumbbell in each hand, bend your arms and bring your fists up next to your face, almost as if you’re making a football field goal post with your arms. Using your shoulders, straighten your arms above your head and lower slowly back down to the original “field goal” position.
Side shoulder raise: Stand straight with a dumbbell in your right hand. Keeping your arm straight, slowly raise your right arm until it is parallel to the ground and then lower back down.
Reverse dumbbell flyes: Stand with your legs slightly bent and your body slightly tilted forward. Hold one dumbbell in each arm and then, using your shoulder and back muscles, lift your arms so that they come up beside you, making sure to keep your elbows slightly bent. TIP: remember to squeeze your core [you can also do this on a stability ball if you have one available].
Dumbbell squat to overhead press: Place one dumbbell in each hand and bend your arms so that the dumbbells are beside your ears. Squat down and then push up to a standing position while lifting the dumbbells straight up.
Dumbbell hang pull: Stand straight with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing toward you. Raise the dumbbells up, making sure your elbows to out to each side.
Dolphin pose: Get into a forearm plank position and then lift your butt up into the air and bring your feet in as closely as you can. Rather than doing 15 reps, try holding this pose for 30 seconds and then lowering down. CHALLENGE YOURSELF: while holding the pose, lift your right leg two inches off the ground and hop up and down on your left leg 5 times, repeat with the other leg.
Q: Body part that you don’t think to workout? Do you prefer cardio or strength exercises?