Thursday is the one day you have freedom to mix up your working routine. Usually, I like to do abs and shoulders, but you can add cardio too. Personally, cardio is the one aspect I dread, so I rarely do it. But, this workout guide is for you to take and add the exercises you want. I will mainly focus on the shoulder aspect of the workout, because abs and shoulders are too much to squeeze together. Plus, abs can be done during any workout, but shoulder techniques need their own day. So, let’s dive into this regimen.
This is one muscle which you need to not only build, but tone as well. To get both of these results, we need to use a variation of light weight and heavy weight. I prefer to use free weights for shoulders, but machines can work too.
My go-to exercise is the shoulder press. I start off by picking a weight which is easy to lift, but is not too light. This is important because it warms up your muscles, so you won’t strain it when you go to the maximum weight you can lift.
With the starter weight, you have to do 8-10 reps, reducing the reps as you increase the weight. Make sure to keep your back straight. You can do this exercise on a flat bench (in the picture to the left) or you can adjust the bench so it’s at a 90 degree angle to help keep your form. When you bring your arms down, your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle as well. If you bend them lower than that, you are increasing your chances of a muscle strain. On the other hand, if you don’t bring them down enough, you won’t see the best results.
Shoulder presses can also be done standing up with a bar. The form is the same, your back should be straight and aligned with the rest of your body. When using the bar, you would put it in front of your body, above your chest. There is a machine for this as well. If you’re just starting out, the machine may help with keeping the correct form.
Another simple exercise is the “shoulder shrug”. You can do this by taking heavy free weights and having your arms straight down. All you have to do is shrug! Just remember to keep your back straight. This is a good method to utilize pause reps. When you lift your shoulders up, hold it for 3 seconds, before putting it back down. This keeps your muscle tightened in this position, it increases your strength, even though it may burn… A LOT. In this technique, along with all shoulder workouts you have to vary the weight throughout your reps. You should always increase your weights, whether it is a heavy or light lifting day. I also recommend that you pick which days you will be lifting for strength (heavy lifting), or for toning (light days). I don’t like to put mix heavy and light lifting into one day because your muscles tend to get fatigued very fast and it will cause you to lift less weight when you are trying to push your strength.
These are my essential shoulder lifts. Once you understand the form, they are simple and fun to do. As always, feel free to add your own twist to these routines. Find exercises which are strenuous (in a good way), but still enjoyable.