Your shoulders consist of three major muscles: the anterior deltoids, the medial deltoids and the posterior deltoids, which are located on the front, side and back of your shoulders respectively. These muscles work together in most shoulder movements but can also be isolated by performing specific exercises. You can target your shoulders by using free weights, resistance bands, body weight exercises and numerous workout machines.
Shoulder Press Machine
The shoulder press machine is designed to replicate pressing a barbell or dumbbells overhead. This exercise targets your anterior deltoid although medial and posterior deltoids are also strongly involved. Adjust the seat of the shoulder press machine so that the handles are level with your shoulders. Grasp the handles and press them overhead to arms' length. Lower the handles back to shoulder level and repeat. To maximize the effectiveness of this exercise, do not allow the weights to touch down between repetitions. This practice keeps the tension on your muscles for the duration of your set.
A Smith machine can be used for a variety of exercises. The weight is guided by rails so that you do not have to worry about balancing the bar and can focus on the exercise you are performing. You can perform shoulder presses using a Smith machine to develop your anterior deltoids or upright rows to target your medial and posterior deltoids. To perform upright rows, position the bar at hip level and grasp it using a shoulder-width overhand grip. Keep your legs slightly bent, your chest up and your shoulders back. Bend your arms and pull the bar up and under your chin ensuring that you lead with your elbows. Lower the bar back to the starting position and repeat.
Rear Deltoid Machine
This workout machine targets the muscles at the back of your shoulders as well as those in your upper back between your shoulder blades. Sit on the machine and adjust the seat height so that the handles are level with your shoulders. Reach forward and grasp the handles in front of you. Bend your elbows slightly but keep them rigid throughout this exercise. Swing your arms out to your sides until they are level with your shoulders and form a T shape with your torso. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat. Maximize the effect of this exercise by not letting the weights touch down between repetitions.
Side Lateral Raise Machine
The side lateral raise machine replicates a dumbbell exercise with the same name and targets your medial deltoids located on the sides of your shoulders. Adjust the machine so that your shoulders are aligned with the machine's pivot point. Grasp the handles and place your forearms against the lever arm pads. Push your elbows against the pads and raise your elbows up to shoulder level. Slowly lower your arms and repeat. Dumbbell lateral raises can also be replicated by using an adjustable pulley machine.
- "Anatomy of Exercise: A Trainer's Inside Guide to Your Workout" Pat Manocchia; 2009
- "Strength Training Anatomy"; Frederic Delavier; 2010
- "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning"; National Strength and Conditioning Association; 2008