Strong, toned arms not only make a woman feel empowered, they make it easier for her to do life’s daily functions. If carrying groceries and grandbabies aren’t inspiration enough, good arms look sexy as hell. In a 3-part series, trainer Bonny Osterhage shows you how to sculpt your shoulders, tone your triceps, and build your biceps in 15 minutes per day with these shoulder exercises.
Your shoulders, or deltoids, are made up of 3 parts: anterior, lateral, and posterior. Each has its own function, and training all 3 parts is a must not only for functional movement but also for improved posture.
4 Best Shoulder Exercises
Grab a chair and light- to medium-heavy hand weights. Here are the top four shoulder exercises you should do. For best results, do 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps 3 times per week, depending on your fitness level.
Seated Shoulder Press
Performing this exercise in a seated position allows you to keep all the work in the shoulders, as well as avoid hyperextension of the back.
Sitting on an upright bench or chair, hold dumbbells at shoulder height with palms facing out. Press arms overhead until arms are straight and dumbbells touch at the top. Return to starting position in a slow and controlled manner.
Not only do lateral raises help you build muscle, but they also increase mobility and range of motion.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and with dumbbells at your sides. Slowly raise arms to the sides, leading with your elbows, until arms are parallel to the floor with elbows slightly bent. As you raise, imagine that you are pouring from a pitcher, and rotate your wrists so that your thumbs are pointing toward the ground. Slowly return to your starting position.
Deltoid Exercises for Women
Bent-Over Rear Delt Fly
This move effectively defines posterior delts. Make sure to focus on squeezing between the shoulder blades at the top of the movement.
Sit on the end of a bench with your feet and legs together, arms at sides, and a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other. Bend at the waist and raise the dumbbells to the side, with elbows slightly bent, until arms are in a “T” position. Slowly return arms to sides.
The trick to awesome anterior delts is to avoid swinging or using momentum to raise arms.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold dumbbells in front of your thighs, palms in. Stabilizing through your core, raise your arms until they are parallel to the ground. Hold for a second at the top; slowly lower arms back to thighs.
Photos: Patricia Pena