They always say “Nothing beats a great pair of legs!” Well the same thing can be said about the shoulders when it comes to the upper body.
A great pair of rounded defined shoulders will make any guy or girl, stand out in a crowd. A good solid exercise routine to develop those shoulders will usually have some type of pressing movement in it.
There will usually be some sort of barbell pressing or dumbbell pressing and a few other exercises in that routine.
While pressing for the shoulders can be extremely effective, what happens when someone can’t press with the effectiveness that they should be able to? What if pressing for the shoulders have just become boring and monotonous? Let’s look at some shoulder press variations that not only will give a person some pressing variety but will also strengthen and help stabilize a person’s shoulders.
Strong and Stable
While having big round powerful looking shoulders look cool, it’s just as important to have strong stable shoulders. The most important reason in support of strong stable shoulders is it will drastically cut down on an individual’s chances of injury when doing any type of upper body work.
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. That means the upper arm bone is shaped like a ball on the end that fits into the shoulder socket. The ball and socket joint is held in place by muscles, tendons, and connective tissue. Because the shoulders have such a big range of motion it is already less stable than other joints in the body. The stronger the muscles, tendons, and connective tissue is around the shoulders, the more stable they will be.
Band Press and Stretch
The band press and stretch is one of the most important presses a person can do for their shoulder. While it will not build a lot of size and strength, it will build a lot of stabilization and mobility. This exercise is done with a band instead of a barbell or pair of dumbbells. Bands are great for building stabilization and keeping constant tension through a range of motion. This is a great exercise to warmup the shoulders for heavy pressing movements.
Step on a full sized (light to moderate resistance) band. The other end should be placed in both of your hands. You are then going to press the band upwards like a shoulder press. As you reach the top of your press you are going to stretch the band outwards as far as you can. Because this is used as a warm up do not go too heavy. You should use a rep range of 15 to 25 reps per set.
The Bradford Press
The Bradford Press is a great exercise for warming up the entire shoulder girdle. The Bradford Press works the shoulders but in a smaller range of motion. By not fully locking out on the press, the tension constantly stays on the shoulders. This will give all three of the deltoid (shoulder) heads a more even warm up.
Sit in a chair and set up like you would a typical barbell press. With the barbell started at your shoulders, you want to press the bar upwards. Only press the bar until it slightly clears the top of your head. You now want to bring the bar back down behind your head. You want to stop at ear level and then return your path toward the front, slightly clearing the top of your head again. Now bring the bar down in front to your shoulders and you have completed one rep. You are going to want to use a weight that is about half your workout weight for barbell and military pressing. Do this for 10 -15 reps per set.
The Push Press
This exercise is one to use if a person wants to build a lot of strength and power. If the barbell shoulder press is great for building shoulder size, then the push press is even better and it will develop more of a person’s upper body overall also. A person will perform a push press just like a standing barbell press with one major exception. The main difference between a standing barbell press and a push press is with the push press a person should use their legs to get more explosiveness, speed and power
Start with a barbell at shoulder height. While holding the barbell in position, take a slight dip with the legs. Explode upwards with your legs while simultaneously pressing the bar upwards towards the ceiling. The key is to use your leg drive to give you an extra boost while driving the bar upwards to the ceiling. . Because this is a power and strength exercise aim to use heavier weight and a smaller rep range.
Do 5-7 reps per set.
Neutral Grip Dumbbell Presses
This exercise is great for people who love shoulder pressing but may have issues with the movement. The Neutral Grip Dumbbell Press helps a lot with that problem. A lot of the time why someone cannot shoulder press is because of the position the hands are placed in during a normal barbell or dumbbell press. The neutral grip changes this by repositioning the angle of the shoulders. With a neutral grip (the palms facing each other) it becomes much easier for some people to do an overhead pressing motion.
Sit in a chair and set up like a traditional dumbbell shoulder press. Before you begin your press, turn the dumbbells so that you have a neutral grip. From that position you want to press the dumbbells upwards towards the ceiling. Extend until your arms are fully outstretched and then return to your starting position. Do 10-12 reps per set.
While pressing for shoulders can be considered a must in any shoulder workout, shoulder pressing does not have to be just standard dumbbell and barbell presses. How a person presses along with the exercises they choose can add a new dimension to their program.