Shoulder work is crucial for upper body gains and looking fit in general. Your core stabilizes your spine and pelvis and protects your organs. These two muscle groups combined are often overlooked but in reality, require attention regularly for optimal everyday function and fitness.
Incorporate these three moves frequently and consistently to keep your shoulders and core strong, stable and lean.
1. High plank with a single arm reach
You can use this as a warm-up. In a plank position, make sure your wrists and hips line up with your shoulders, the core is tight and back is straight. Push the ground away from you but keep your shoulder blades neutral. Reach ahead of you with very straight arms and try to line up your elbows with your ears. Alternate arms. Try 3 sets of 12.
2. Overhead Barbell Press
The ultimate shoulder developer. Great for hypertrophy gains and/or strength gains. Not to mention, overhead moves incorporate your core musculature to stabilize. Start with your feet hip-width apart, core engaged (suck in your belly button to your spine) and bar across our shoulders. Move your chin slightly back as you press the bar upwards and return your head to neutral as the bar moves over your head. Be careful not to dump the weight of the bar into your wrists. Keep your wrists neutral. Hold the bar overhead for 2 seconds and return back to your shoulders and repeat.
A regular Olympic size barbell weighs 45 lbs. Most gyms have training bars (usually weigh between 15-35lbs) or shorter barbels that weigh less and are a bit more stable. Opt for the size and weight that allows you to keep good form through the entire set.
3. Single Arm Over Head Dumbbell Press (standing)
Starting with one dumbbell at shoulder, brace your core and press straight overhead. Hold for two seconds and bring back down to the beginning position. Doing one dumbbell (or barbell for advanced lifters) at a time, challenges your core muscles and holding the weight overhead for a few seconds recruits the stabilizing muscles in the shoulder.