Tip of the Month: Balanced Shoulders

Athletes often develop shoulder problems because they do not train all 3 heads of the deltoid muscles, maintaining balanced muscular strength. Some sports may create overuse from repetitive action causing an imbalance, often leading to chronic pain. The rotator cuff muscles (SITS muscles) keep the head of the humerus snug into the shallow socket and are not typically strengthened with traditional training methods. Additional exercises must be added to maintain these very important stabilizers for optimal shoulder function.

Warming up the shoulders is a smart idea before starting your routine. Lateral Flys targets the middle head of the shoulder. Grasp a pair of dumbbells, stand with good upright posture, and slightly bent knees. Keeping your elbows slightly bent, raise the dumbbells to shoulder height with the thumbs lower than your pinky fingers. The underside of your arm should face the floor. Use the lateral head to lift the resistance.

Rear Flys target the rear head of the shoulder, help maintain shoulder position, and posture. Bend from the waist with bent knees, dumbbells in hand hanging towards the floor. Raise the dumbbells to shoulder height with pinky fingers higher than your thumbs. This engages the rear delts more. Use soft elbows and lift the weight. Keep your arms perpendicular to your torso.

Front Dumbbell Flys emphasize the front head of the shoulder. These often get additional work when training heavy incline chest or front shoulder presses. Grasp the dumbbells, good posture, soft knees and elbows. Raise the dumbbell to nose height in front of you, covering your nose in the mirror. Crossing over to the midline engages more muscle fibers.

Don’t rise up on your toes or use your knees for momentum. Do three sets of each, 10-15 reps. Train for muscle balance to prevent shoulder injuries. Stretch and read next issue for shoulder health tips.

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