This week’s bootcamp: Shoulder muscle exercises

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When one says shoulder muscle exercises, you immediately imagine working out in a gym with barbells, dumbbells and so on. But you can also use your own body weight as resistance. Before we begin the boot camp exercises, make sure you warm up your shoulder muscles. Just stretch out the arms in a way that they are parallel to the ground. Then draw circles with both arms in a clockwise direction for 30 seconds and then in anti-clockwise direction for another 30 seconds. You’re now ready to begin.

Pike push-ups
This exercise works the shoulder muscles, and while it may look simple, it is really not. Get into a push-up position and keep the two halves of your body in a way that it forms an ‘A’ shape. Keep your feet straight and stretch out your hands such that they are in line with the spine, with the feet stretched out and butt pointing outwards (starting position). Now slowly lower your upper body such that your head touches the ground, using only your arms (bending the elbows). The rest of the body should not bend anywhere. After going down, push your body up using only your arms. Ensure that you are looking at your feet and not the ground while doing the push-up. Your feet can be together or spread out, depending on your preference. The lesser the angle between your lower and upper half, the more the resistance. Another way to increase resistance is to rest your feet on a raised platform such as steps; higher the platform, greater the resistance.
Frequency: 2 sets of 12 reps

Incline and decline push-ups
As we said, the higher the platform on which your feet rest, the greater is the resistance. In the decline push-ups, you rest your feet on a raised platform such as steps or a park bench. Spread out your arms and ensure that your body is in a straight line; no sagging or raising the butt and no lifting or leading by the neck (starting position). Slowly lower the body such that your head is near the ground, and then raise it back up. With the incline push-ups, keep your arm on the raised platform and feet on the ground. Repeat the motion.
Frequency: 2 sets of 10 reps on incline and decline

Planche push-ups
This is a regular push-up except that your hands are placed closer to the waist in a way that the placement of your hands is somewhat parallel to your feet. Make sure your butt is pointing outwards, as that creates a tension around the shoulder area. Now move forward and do a push-up. Ideally, you need to go as low as you can, such that your nose touches the ground, but you can go as far as you can. Then slowly raise your body and feel the shoulder muscles being worked out. At no point should you bend your knees or let your butt sag.
Frequency: 2 sets of 10 reps

Wall stand push-ups
This is an advanced level of shoulder exercise and you should ideally have someone around while doing it the first couple of time). Start off by doing a handstand and resting your feet against the wall. Your head is between your hands and there is a distance of a couple of feet between your outstretched hands and the wall. Slowly bend your elbows and lower your whole body such that your nose touches the floor. After that, lift your body such that your arms are fully extended. Your shoulders are doing the work of lifting your entire body weight. The farther away from the wall you are, the easier it will be to perform the push-ups. An even more advanced variation of this is the handstand push-up without the support of a wall. But this is for the very advanced people, as you don’t just need strong shoulders, but also need to be able to do a proper handstand without any support.
Frequency: Depends on how much you can manage as this is a tough exercise.

This article was originally published in The Label: This Week’s Bootcamp: Shoulder Muscle Exercises 

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