Top Ten Best Exercises for Your Shoulders

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Everyone has heard the saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. This statement holds true for your arms and shoulders. No matter how strong your biceps and triceps are, if your shoulders aren't able to support them, you'll forever be limited.

The shoulders server to raise and lower your upper arm in relation to your trunk. Whether it is lifting something over your head or lifting something off the ground, your shoulders will be involved.

There are a lot of shoulder exercises out there that may feel like they are effective but end up doing more harm than good. With your rotator cuff being such an important and delicate part of your arm and shoulder structure, you need to be very careful which exercises you do. Having to undergo shoulder surgery (one of the most painful recovery processes) because you used bad form or regularly did a faulty exercise would be tragic.

Below are some of the best and safest shoulder exercises you can do.

The Top Ten

1 Prison Pushups

Do a regular pushup, keeping your elbows next to your ribs, then at the top of your pushup explosively jump to your feet and stand up. While standing you are going to raise straight arms over your head till your hands touch (like a jumping jack motion) then reverse back down and into a pushup.

2 Dumbbell Press

A dumbbell version of a military press, you'll sit with your back supported and arms holding dumbbells at your shoulders. Raise your arms straight overhead without leaning back (engaging your back). The important thing is to not let your elbows flare out to the sides but keep them pointing forward. This will protect your rotator cuff.

3 Side Dumbbell Flyes

Stand with your arms straight at your sides holding a dumbbell in each hand. Raise both arms at the same time till they are even height with your head. At the top of the motion turn your thumbs down like you're pouring a pitcher of water out. Reverse and lower.

4 Car Drivers

Hold a round weight out in front of you with straight arms. A barbell plate works great. Turn your arms side to side like you're driving a car with a very loose steering wheel. Go for maximum rotation in each direction.

5 Barbell Row

Stand over a barbell hinging at your waist at a 90 degree angle. Make sure your butt is sticking out behind your heels and not directly over your feet to protect your back. Grab a barbell with light weights and pull toward your chest. This is basically a reversed bench press. Lower back to straight arms.

6 Leaning Lateral Raises

Grab hold of something sturdy with one arm so that you can lean out to your side at a 30-45 degree angle. Keep your body straight and not sagging or curved. hold a weight with a straight arm on the other side. raise the weight till it is head lever and then lower back down without swinging.

7 Lawnmower Pulls

Do these instead of upright rows to save your wrists and shoulder joints. Stand leaning over a bench or chair. Hold a dumbbell in one hand and pull it back like you're starting a lawnmower. Keep your wrist straight.

8 KettleBell Swings

Do these the original Russian way not the cheater American way. Stand with legs slightly wider than your hips. Squat down with a straight back and grab a kettlebell or dumbbell on the floor. Squat the weight up and swing with your arms till the weight is 60 degree out in front of you. It should be higher than your head but directly overhead which would release the tension. To release you need to lower the weight all the way back down to the floor (or near it) by bending your knees like a squat.

9 Handstand Pushup

Do a handstand against a wall and slowly lower your head till the top touches the ground. Keep your back and body straight to avoid injuring your back. Press back up into a handstand with straight arms. Keep your elbows pointing in front of you and not flaring out to the sides.

10 Turkish Getup

Might be easier to look this one up as it can be complex. Lay on your back with a weight above your face in one hand. Work your way to standing with the weight overhead. Reverse with control. Look up a good video to get the form right.

The Contenders

11 Wide Stance Push Up

Push up with very wide arm stance

12 Barbell Overhead Press
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