6 Best Shoulder Exercises to Improve Posture and Reduce Injury Risk

Strength training is an important part of maintaining fitness, and shoulder work is an integral part of that training. With so many exercises out there, if you’re confused about which shoulder exercises are best for you, we’ve got you covered! From strengthening your upper body to improving functionality to elevating your fitness routine, let’s take a look at some of the best shoulder exercises and why you should be doing them.

Health Shots got in touch with fitness expert Yash Agarwal to find out the best shoulder exercises and the benefits they offer.

What are the best shoulder exercises?

1. Dumbbell shoulder press

  • Sit on a bench with back support or upright.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height.
  • Press the dumbbells up until your arms are fully extended.
  • Lower the dumbbells back to shoulder height.
  • Perform 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
You can do shoulder presses to improve stability and balance. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Front lift

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms at your sides.
  • Raise one dumbbell in front of you to shoulder height.
  • Lower it back down and repeat with the other arm.
  • Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps for each arm.

3. Lateral lifting

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding dumbbells at your sides.
  • Raise both arms out to the side to shoulder level.
  • Lower them slowly.
  • Perform 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.

4. Rear deltoid flies

  • Bend at the hips, keeping your back straight.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand under your chest.
  • Raise your arms out to the sides until they are parallel to the floor.
  • Lower the dumbbells back down.
  • Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

5. He shrugged

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Raise your shoulders toward your ears while keeping your arms straight.
  • Squeeze at the top and lower the weights.
  • Perform 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.

6. Push-ups

  • Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower your body by bending your arms.
  • Push back to the starting position.
  • Beginners can start with knee push-ups.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

Also read: Here’s how to do push-ups the right way

shoulder exercises
Push-ups can help relieve shoulder pain. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the benefits of shoulder exercises?

1. Builds shoulder strength and stability

Strengthening the shoulder muscles helps improve the stability of the shoulder joint, reducing the risk of injury.

2. Improves posture

Strong shoulders can help maintain good posture, prevent rounded shoulders and related problems.

3. Functional mobility

Strong shoulders allow for a wide range of motion, making everyday activities such as reaching, lifting and carrying easier.

4. Prevents injuries

Well-conditioned shoulder muscles reduce the likelihood of strains, rotator cuff injuries and dislocations.

5. Sports performance

Strong shoulders can help improve athletic performance. Athletes benefit from strong shoulders, as many sports involve overhead movements and throwing.

6. Relieves pain

Shoulder exercises can relieve pain associated with conditions such as rotator cuff tendinitis or frozen shoulder.

shoulder pain
Shoulder exercises help you get rid of shoulder pain. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

7. Strengthens the upper body

Strong shoulders are an integral part of various upper body exercises, such as the bench press and push-ups.

8. Facilitates daily functional tasks

Everyday tasks like lifting groceries or carrying bags become easier with strong shoulders.

9. Promotes bone health

Weight-bearing shoulder exercises can improve bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

Who should avoid shoulder exercises?

Here are a few scenarios where people should avoid shoulder exercises or be cautious:

1. Existing shoulder injuries

Exercises that aggravate shoulder problems, such as a torn rotator cuff, should be avoided by people with acute or chronic shoulder injuries. You should seek advice from a health professional before incorporating shoulder exercises into your routine.

2. Recent shoulder surgery

Those who have recently had shoulder surgery should avoid shoulder exercises until cleared by their surgeon or physical therapist.

3. Severe pain in the shoulder

If you experience severe and persistent shoulder pain during any exercise, stop immediately and consult a health care professional.

4. Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis

Individuals with advanced shoulder arthritis should avoid high-impact or high-resistance exercises that can worsen joint pain.

shoulder exercises
Do shoulder exercises to avoid permanent bone damage. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

5. Instability or hyperlaxity

Those with shoulder instability or hyperlaxation (loose ligaments) should avoid exercises that place too much stress on the joint.

6. Pregnancy

Pregnant women should avoid heavy lifting or shoulder exercises. This is to avoid injury as their ligaments and joints may be more relaxed during this time.

7. Beginners

People new to exercise should start with light resistance and focus on maintaining proper posture. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can move on to more challenging shoulder exercises.

8. Chronic health conditions

People with certain chronic conditions, such as heart disease or high blood pressure, should consult a health care professional before engaging in strenuous exercise.

9. Age

Older adults may need to modify their exercises due to decreased bone density and muscle mass. You should consult a fitness professional for guidance.

Things to keep in mind

1. Maintain good posture

Those with poor posture may need to address postural issues before engaging in any type of shoulder exercises to prevent injury. It is important to maintain proper posture while performing these exercises.

2. Avoid overtraining

Overtraining the shoulder can lead to injury. Maintaining good health requires adequate sleep and recovery from injuries.

3. Improper technique

Consult a fitness professional if you are unable to perform shoulder exercises with proper form, as there is a risk of injury.

shoulder injuries
Improper technique can lead to shoulder injuries. Image courtesy of Shutterstock

4. Inadequate heating

Failure to warm up before shoulder exercises can increase the risk of injury. A proper warm-up is necessary before these exercises.

5. Be consistent

Choose a time that fits your daily routine and stick to it consistently to build a routine.

6. Consult a trainer

If you’re not sure, consider consulting a fitness trainer or physical therapist who can give you personalized recommendations.

7. Listen to your body

Pay attention to your body’s reaction. If you feel more energetic and flexible at a certain time, that might be the best time for you.

What is the best time to do shoulder exercises?

1. Morning or evening

You can perform shoulder exercises in the morning or in the evening, depending on your preferences and schedule.

2. Avoid doing them right after waking up

It is generally recommended not to do intense shoulder exercises right after waking up as your muscles may be stiff.

3. Before eating

Exercising before meals can help prevent discomfort, as exercising on a full stomach can lead to indigestion.

4. Late at night

Try not to do strenuous shoulder exercises too late at night as this can affect your ability to sleep.

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