#05 – Weight on your shoulders

Welcome back to the ‘Road to Hawaii’ blog, our online blog series where you can follow my fitness journey on the road to Hawaii. I want to transform my body to be in the best shape of my life where I go on my dream vacation of Maui in August. If you’ve been reading the past few weeks, then you’ll notice I’ve been sharing my workout plans with you and some of the exercises we can do for different muscle groups, and the benefits of doing these exercises gives us. This week I want to focus and share with you some shoulder exercises

I’ve always had quite well developed shoulders. Growing up as a kid, I’ve always loved swimming. I’m a huge water baby and whenever the opportunity to go swimming arises – I take it. When you’re swimming, whether front crawl or breast stroke, every motion you do with your arm is working your shoulders.  And because your exercising against resistance, you are helping strengthen your shoulder muscles and thus, helping them grow! Aside from your shoulders, swimming is just an absolute winner in terms of exercising. You’re working your whole body because of the resistance in the water, as well as adding cardio which will help keep you lean and keep that excess weight off. Plus who doesn’t love swimming?

But back to shoulders! So you know I spoke about working your chest and back, and remember, I also said all our muscles are connected. Well the back and the chest are connected to, you guessed it – the shoulders! So, in order to effectively work these muscles, we need to have our shoulders strong. You may not realise, but we use our shoulders in almost every action of our daily lives. Any arm movements we do from opening a door or getting the porridge out of the cupboard in the mornings, our shoulders are activated. That’s why it’s essential to keep them strong, and again, as with all muscles, avoid injury.

So here are some of the shoulder exercises that I have been completing the past few weeks!

ROTATING SHOULDER PRESS (4 sets x 12 reps)
Grab two dumbbells, or if you’re working out at home, grab 2 filled water bottles. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and start with each weight at shoulder level height, with palms facing you. You then want to push the weights up, above your head and towards the ceiling, rotating your palms as you bring them up. At the top of the lift, when your arms are straight, your palms should be facing in the same direction as your eyesight. Hold for 2 seconds and slowly bring your arms back down in a controlled motion, rotating your palms, so at the bottom of the move – they are back to starting position. That’s 1 rep!

Rotating Shoulder Press. Courtesy of VectorStock

LATERAL SHOULDER RAISE (4 sets x 15 reps)
Grab two dumbbells , or again – if you’re working out at home, grab 2 filled water bottles. I’d recommend going lighter on these exercises to get your form correct. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and let your hands hang to the side of your body – palms resting against your thighs. Slowly raise your arms out towards your sides, bringing them up until they are in a straight line with your shoulders. Focus on bringing your elbows up as your arms rise. Pause for 2 seconds and slowly raise them back down. That’s 1 rep

Lateral Shoulder Raise. Courtesy of iStock

The important thing to remember on this exercise is to stand straight. Try not to bend your body forwards to lift the weight. If you find something leaning towards, then drop the weight to a lighter one.

This is pretty much the same as the exercise above, but as the name says – we are going to raise the weights in front of us, but one at a time. Hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs and raise one arm up slowly until it is in line with your shoulders. Slowly bring the weight back down, touching your thigh and lift the opposite arm.

Main thing to remember here is do not get into a ‘swinging’ technique, as you bring one arm down and the other up. Everything needs to be done very controlled. You want to lead the weight, not the other way around!

Alternating Front Lateral Raise. Courtesy of Shutterstock

BARBELL STANDING PRESS (4 sets x 12 reps)
This exercise is very similar to the first one, where we rotated dumbbells – however we are using a barbell instead and we won’t be rotating our palms. I’ve been using this exercise to finish my workouts and really burn those shoulder muscles. Hold the barbell at shoulder height and push it towards the ceiling. This exercise is also going to help build your core, and it turn, strengthen those abs!

Barbell Standing Press. Courtesy of Shutterstock