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Friday, April 26, 2013


There are many exercises that you can choose for each muscle group of the body. And one exercise can activate a different part of the same muscle when simply modifying the grip, stance, the movement, or even the form of execution. But most who decided to try to exercise on their own or copy others, don’t really know what they are working out, nor what they are doing by this little modification, which could be a movement such as a rotation.
When you choose a more advanced exercise do you really know what you are doing? Do you really know if you are targeting the same muscle if you really don’t feel a difference? If the movement has changed do you really know exactly how it is done? Is there really any difference from the original exercise?

One of the basic exercises of the shoulder workout routine is the dumbbell shoulder press. If you start with the dumbbells at the height of the shoulders, you will stretch your arms fully, and come back down to where your elbow joint is at 90 º. This will activate primarily your anterior deltoids, and then the lateral deltoids, upper chest (pectoralis major), triceps, and trapezius. This will occur if you keep your wrists above the elbows, and not near your ears, which some do. You also see some arching their back, when done while seated on a bench, which can cause disk injury due to compressive forces on the lumbar portion of the spinal cord, caused by the weights overhead. To minimize, strain on the back, some may use support of only the upper back on seated benches, but they are still not using the core and abdominal muscles to maintain correct posture while doing exercises in this position. When doing the shoulder dumbbell press, standing or sitting, there is no arching of the back, knees should be slightly bent, elbows should not go below shoulder level, and be at 90º with the arms.

Since the strength of the shoulders is of major importance for the prevention of injuries of the rotator cuff, it is also of extreme importance to keep the correct form when doing exercises for the deltoids, especially any variations. Just like the impression that everyone has that the dumbbell shoulder press is for lateral deltoids, one variation that you see many do wrong while working out is the Arnold Shoulder press, which consists of rotation. The initial position of the Arnold dumbbell press is with elbows bent pointing in direction of your ribcage where you look at your fingers when gripping the dumbbell. As the weight is lifted there is rotation of the forearm so that you can continue to raise your arms. By the time the elbow joint is at the height of the shoulders it is at 90º, it turns into the movement of the regular dumbbell shoulder press. Body position and form should be kept the same as the regular dumbbell shoulder press.

So if in a workout, you choose to do the Arnold shoulder press, there is no need to do the regular dumbbell press for this targets the three parts of the deltoids. This might not be a good choice for those who have injured the rotator cuff for it also recruits the supraspinatus, or beginners who are still learning movements for weightlifting such as coordination, but it is a great exercise for increasing overall shoulder muscle mass.

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