MY SCHEDULE OF ARTICLES
I will continue for a while to address workouts with body part specialization. Chest / triceps and back / biceps were easy choices since they are often worked together. Chest / triceps involve pushing movements and back / biceps pulling.
Shoulders, legs, abdominals and cardio workouts are generally not done without accompanying muscle groups, but may be added as needed to any specialization programs. These will be my next areas of focus.
Please note that specialized programs are the exception, not the norm. A balanced regimen is ideal, but we can also benefit from a temporary suspension of full body work to bring up lagging body parts and to provide us with a means to depart from “the same old program”. Variety is good and we don’t want to burn out because of sameness.
Of course, all of these programs are generally limited to home workouts and smaller pieces of equipment. No heavy bench pressing or squat racks. My target audience continues to be those who want to exercise with equipment that may be placed in a “workout room” or be returned to a closet or convenient hiding place after use. But these workouts may be as tough and demanding as possible, depending upon resistance used and goals set.
THE SHOULDER MUSCLE (S)
The deltoid muscle is a rounded and triangular muscle found at the top of the shoulder. It covers the shoulder joint and is used to raise our arms from the sides of our bodies.
The deltoid muscle was named after the Greek letter Delta because of their similar shapes. This muscle is constructed in three parts, or heads – anterior, middle and posterior. Note the well-developed deltoids in the above picture. This very advanced bodybuilder would look strange if his shoulder development were not consistent with his back and arms.
Our deltoids allow us to rotate our arms and to carry heavier items away from our bodies. They also protect us from dislocating or otherwise injuring the humerus (the long bone in our upper arm).
WORKING THE DELTOIDS
Bodyweight or warm – up exercises include:
- Circling your extended arms with very little elbow bend in one direction, then the other
- Punching motions. Jab with closed fists facing inward. Start near chin with elbow in. Punch vigorously.
- Push – ups
Push – ups are known to be great for chest muscles and triceps, but they can also engage the shoulder and back muscles. The muscle group activated depends largely upon hand placements. My personal preference is to use the Power Press device. This presents the opportunity for deeper dips. Do this slowly and with correct form. There is no better way to pump up the working muscle (in my opinion). There are four separate hand positions for deltoid development alone.
The Power Press may be easily obtained from Amazon.
As in my previous two articles, further exercise suggestions will be based on the equipment below, all of which is appropriate for home use and easily obtained:
- Resistance cords
- Bullworker products
- Stand with the center of your cord (sometimes called band or tube) under your feet. Then raise each handle until you reach shoulder level. This is called a lateral raise.
- With the same starting position indicated above, grab each handle in the middle of your body and lift upward with elbows out. Return slowly to your starting position. Spread your legs to create more resistance. This is called the shoulder press
- Sitting on a chair or exercise ball, place the cord under your feet. Grab the handles and extend them upward to your head and slightly above. Greater width of your legs will again increase the resistance. This is called the seated shoulder extension.
All of the above movements may be done with one arm at a time if preferred. The lateral raise is shown below, though the lady may be leaning forward more than is customary.
It is quite possible to super – set these exercises, by going from one to the other with no rest. Lighter resistance may be appropriate for super sets. Be aware that resistance cords are available with varying levels of resistance.
Here is a complete set of resistance cords with all necessary accessories. From Amazon.
- Holding a dumbbell in each hand, sitting or standing, raise them to the front of your body. Arms should be slightly bent at the elbows. This works the anterior deltoid head.
- From the same position as above, raise the dumbbells to the sides of your body. Raise slowly, lower slowly. This works the medial or middle head of the deltoid muscle.
- While standing, with dumbbells at thigh level, raise them until your arms are parallel to the surface, elbows held high. This engages both the anterior and medial deltoids.
- Standing or sitting, with dumbbells in each hand at shoulder level, press them upward until your elbow almost locks. Palms face forward.
- Lying on a small (but high) bench with dumbbells hanging downward from each hand, raise them with elbows slightly bent. Continue until both arms are nearly parallel to the surface. This works the posterior or rear deltoids.
- Without a small but high bench, this effect may be achieved by leaning over while standing and raising both arms to near parallel.
- While standing, with dumbbells in each hand at thigh level, raise them up by doing nothing more than raising your shoulders. This is the shoulder shrug, which works the trapezius muscles.
The images below show a variety of dumbbell movements for the shoulders.
Here are a couple of dumbbell choices made available by Amazon:
A lighter set of dumbbells, with rack included
A full set of dumbbells from Amazon – pairs of 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 lb. dumbbells, including vertical rack
These products are amazing. Really! They pack a powerful punch in a relatively very small space. First, a couple of exercises that I do for the shoulders:
- The overhead cable spread. Move the cables outward from the overhead position. This will work the medial and posterior deltoid heads. I prefer the Bow Classic for this exercise, though the Steel Bow works well also (and can be tucked in most duffle bags when you travel).
- The deltoid cable spread. Hold the Bullworker horizontally in front of your body, with one hand on the top cable, the other on the lower cable. The hand grips should be in the middle of the cables. Use the top hand to spread the cable upward. Then switch – let the other arm do the spreading.
- Hold the Bow Classic (or Steel Bow) behind your head, with elbows parallel to the surface. Then compress the handles together.
- Hold the Bullworker behind your back at about waist level. Then compress. Be careful with this. Use low resistance.
- Kneel down on a comfortable surface, with knees holding the lower cable in place. Pull the top cable upward. This is the kneeling upright row.
- Another upright row – use a small stool or something similar. Place one foot on the stool to hold down the lower cable. Then pull upward.
Bullworkers have tons of options. You can’t do them all. At least I can’t. Try them and pick your favorites. Choose a level of resistance that is comfortable. This is done quite simply by changing the springs within the cylinder – easier in most cases than changing dumbbell plates.
Here is the entire Bullworker line – up. Take a look.
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS
This is the nation’s largest sporting goods retailer and, in my opinion and that of many others, a company of great integrity. They took a stand on assault weapons, high capacity magazines and under 21 firearm sales. They also contribute heavily to youth sports programs nationwide.
Dick’s Sporting Goods has been sending me a list of sale items every week or two. I have decided to publish this list as often as I can, for the following reasons:
- The excellent reputation of the company
- The significant discounts shown in this list
The deltoids are often overlooked in workouts and, indeed, they can be stimulated indirectly by other compound exercises. But they are very important for shapeliness in men and women.
Don’t forget these important muscles.
Please leave me any questions or comments in the “Comments” box below. Your engagement is appreciated! Let me know that you read my blogs.
Also, e-mail me…firstname.lastname@example.org. Be well!