Don’t shrug off working your delts, the muscles of your shoulders. Besides assisting with good posture, strong shoulders help you lift and carry items with ease, and create excellent upper body definition for men and women alike.
Deltoid rows work not only your shoulders, but also your biceps, lats and the muscles of your middle back. Begin in a standing position, knees slightly bent, with a dumbbell in each hand. Lean slightly forward from the hips, with a straight back. The weights should be just in front of your knees, with arms hanging down to the floor. Exhale and draw the weights straight up to your chest. Your torso stays still as elbows bend out to the sides — shoulders and upper arms should be in alignment at the top of the movement. Think of touching your shoulder blades as you hold for a second, then inhale and slowly return to the start position.
Now move to deltoid raises. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, a dumbbell in each hand at the front of the thighs. With control, exhale and raise the weights out in front of you to shoulder height, arms parallel to the floor. Inhale and lower the weights to the start position.
Finish with lateral raises. Start by holding the weights at your sides and, on the exhale, lift them out to shoulder level. Inhale as you return the weights to the start position.
For each exercise, do 10 to 15 reps for a complete set. Progress from one to three sets before increasing the weight. As with every strength training exercise, lift only as much weight as you can handle while maintaining proper form.
Check out the library of deltoid exercises on the American Council on Exercise website.
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