Bodyweight exercises can help tone and strengthen your shoulders. Since they require minimal space and no equipment, they provide an easy way to squeeze exercise into your schedule. Including shoulder exercises in two or three strength-training sessions a week will help build muscle. Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Shoulder circles strengthen the shoulders. Stand up straight, bend your knees slightly and position your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your arms by your sides, parallel to the floor. Bend your arms slightly -- this will help you focus on your shoulders and prevent your arms from fatiguing during the circles. Make small, clockwise circles with your arms for 30 to 60 seconds. Reverse your direction and circle your arms for 30 to 60 seconds.
Shoulder packing increases muscular strength in the shoulders and back. Stand up straight, position your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slightly. Tighten your abdominal muscles and relax your shoulders. Lift your chin and chest slightly. Pull your shoulder blades down and together without arching your lower back. Pause and hold for five to 10 seconds. Repeat two to four times.
Plank strengthens the shoulders while toning the lower back and stomach. Kneel on all fours and place your hands under your shoulders. Spread your fingers and point them forward. Extend your legs behind you and lift onto your toes. Tighten your stomach muscles and align your back, hips, knees and lower back. Lower to your knees if this is too hard or if you are unable to maintain alignment. Widen your feet to reduce difficulty; bring them closer to make plank harder. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, stopping when your shoulders and midsection fatigue.
Supermans tone the shoulders, back and glutes. Lie on your stomach, point your toes away from your body, lift your arms overhead and put them on the floor. Turn your palms inward, relax your head and look down. Align your neck and back -- maintain this alignment throughout the exercise. Simultaneously lift your arms and feet 2 to 6 inches off the floor. Don’t lift as high if your back arches. Hold for a few seconds, then lower your arms and legs to the floor. Try to keep your stomach, hips and head still during the exercise. Complete 12 to 20 repetitions, stopping when your muscles fatigue.
- ACE Personal Trainer Manual; American Council on Exercise
- American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM Issues New Recommendations on Quantity and Quality of Exercise
- American Council on Exercise: Supermans
- American Council on Exercise: Shoulder Packing