Three Shoulder Exercises to Add to Your Upper-Body Training

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Dwight Freeney Shoulders

Regardless of their sport, athletes rely on strong shoulders to throw, hit, catch, rebound, shoot or tackle, so training this powerful muscle is really important. Build up your shoulders with the following three exercises; add them to your existing upper-body training program for even more power.

Single-Arm Shoulder Press

This exercise promotes overall strength and stability in the shoulders, but also in the neck, upper back and chest. The Single-Arm Shoulder Press targets the larger muscle groups of the shoulder. However, it also engages the shoulder stabilizers to keep the weight stable overhead. In addition, the lower body must triple-extend to propel the weight upward, and the core must activate to keep the body balanced. Make the Single-Arm Shoulder Press an essential part of your shoulder training.

  • Sitting on bench, hold dumbbell at ear level with elbow at 90-degree angle
  • Press dumbbell up to where elbow has slight bend but is not locked out
  • Return to bottom of movement but do not go below shoulder level
  • Perform in slow, controlled motion

Sets/Reps: 3x8-10 per arm

Single-Arm Lateral Raise

This exercise isolates the side shoulder muscle and builds stability in the rotator cuff. Single-Arm Lateral Raises can be performed either seated or standing. By performing this exercise with one arm, you can determine if one side of your body is stronger than the other—plus you'll develop core strength at the same time.

  • Hold dumbbell at side with slight bend in elbow
  • Raise dumbbell to just above shoulder level
  • Perform in slow, controlled motion

Sets/Reps: 3x10-12 per arm

Dumbbell Shrug and Roll

Shrugs promote strength and stability in upper shoulder and neck muscles while also helping with grip strength. Perform this exercise last in your shoulder workout.

  • Hold dumbbells at side with elbows straight but not locked out
  • Shrug shoulders then roll them backward
  • Perform in slow, controlled motion

Sets/Reps: 3x12-15

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