While legs, stomach, and glutes get a lot of attention in your routine, shoulders can often be neglected. This can be a serious oversight if you are looking to improve the overall appearance of your body. Because they're a smaller muscle group, it can take less effort to get your shoulders looking great than larger muscle groups such as your legs or glutes.
Your shoulders are also great assets that help to give your body a strong but feminine overall look by adding some extra curves. You can also help give your waist and hips a slimmer look by toning your shoulders. Finally, if your shoulders are in shape, it will benefit you functionally by making it easier to lift and carry things throughout the day and by helping to keep your posture upright.
The shoulder consists of a muscle called the deltoid, which comprises three distinct parts called the anterior head (which raises the arm to the front), the lateral head (which raises the arm to the side), and the posterior head (which raises the arm to the rear).
In these shoulder workouts for women, we'll let you know which part of the shoulder, and any other muscle, you will be working. This is important to know in order to concentrate on the muscle group that you will be working. It is also important to ensure that you are targeting all parts of the shoulder equally to help make the entire area look complete.
Please note that we are demonstrating most of the exercises on an exercise ball simply to add a twist; however, you can perform any of these shoulder workouts for women while standing or seated on a bench if you prefer.
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Muscle Worked. Deltoids (effectively works all three heads), triceps.
Position & Movement. Sit on an exercise ball with your back straight, holding each dumbbell just above shoulder height with your palms facing forward. In a slow and deliberate motion, push the dumbbells upwards over your head. Hold for a one or two second count, then bring your arms back down to the starting position.
Tip. The closer you place your feet to the ball, the harder it is to stabilize yourself on the ball. This makes the exercise more challenging.
Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Muscle Worked. Lateral (side) deltoids, trapezius.
Position & Movement. Sit on an exercise ball with your legs bent and your arms at your sides, gripping a pair of dumbbells. Slowly raise each arm at the side to about shoulder height. Hold at the top of the movement for one or two seconds, then lower with control. Repeat.
Tip. You may want to place your feet a little wider to help with your balance for this exercise, as your center of gravity shifts when you raise your arms to the side.
Dumbbell Bent Over Raise
Muscle Worked. Posterior (rear) deltoids, trapezius.
Position & Movement. Sit on the edge of a bench and lean forward at the waist. Hold the dumbbells or cables in front of you with your palms facing each other. Raise the dumbbells or cables upwards until your arms are close to being parallel with the floor. Pause briefly at the top and slowly lower your arms back down.
Tip. When you are bent over, you may have a tendency to cheat by jerking your body as you raise your arms. Avoid this by watching yourself in a mirror as you perform the exercise.