Sure, there are tons of weight lifting exercises to work your shoulders. Like shoulder presses, front and lateral raises, shrugs and upright rows. And let's not forgot working those rotator cuff muscles such as external rotation and planks to develop shoulder stability (whether you have an injury or not, it's a good idea to include 1 or 2 exercises a week into your exercise program to strengthen the rotator cuff as injuries are very common).
And while weight bearing exercises are excellent for building both strength and endurance, there are other fun ways you can work out your shoulders, burn calories and get in some cardio at the same time.
Here are 5 Interesting Workouts to get Toned Shoulders.
1. Poi Veil, Fan Veil, Silk Veil or Isis Wings.
All of these workouts are inspired from belly dancing and use some kind of material that you'll be twirling and moving around with your arms (click each of the links to see more about each one).
Most of the positions start at shoulder level and involve working the shoulders in all 3 planes (frontal, transverse and sagittal) so that you are working the joint in all 5 movement patterns: flexion, extension, abduction, adduction and rotation.
Besides holding that veil in place, you'll be shimming around the floor as you work your legs and core for a total body workout. Veils and DVD workouts can be found online such on Amazon and Ebay. Free workouts can be found on YouTube.
Check your area for classes!
2. Pole Fitness.
Yes, pole fitness -not dancing- has become a hot new craze! That's because using a pole to climb and do all kinds of acrobatic tricks on requires both upper body and core strength. Think about doing chin ups to get up that pole, kinda like Rope Climbing or Rock Climbing. These all have similar patterns of climbing up a vertical object, however pole fitness takes it much further by having to twirl, do inverted positions, and hold yourself upside down using inner thigh strength. Plus, you can even incorporate some floor work as well as using the pole, such as doing handstands, the splits and other acrobatic moves.
You can buy your own pole to use at home on Amazon, find DVDs online, or start with some beginner moves from the many free videos on YouTube. There are poles made for those who are overweight and you can invest in some chalk or pole grip gel to keep your hands from sliding. Check your area for classes as it's quite the hot new total body workout rage nowadays!
OK, so you already knew that this is an excellent cardio workout used in lots of different sports, such as boxing, crossfit and track-&-field to name a few. But did you know that you can get toned shoulders from doing skipping? Oh yes you can! If you've ever done a grueling shoulder workout and then gone skipping for cardio the next day (or the same day), you'll know what I'm talking about! You can also get more of a shoulder workout by holding the rope at a more horizontal position, so that the ropes are further apart from each other. You can also try using a weighted rope which will provide more resistance and give you a better shoulder workout.
No need to skip in place either (although if you do, there are tons of different moves you can do instead of just the basic hop). Go outdoors and find a bike/pedestrian path or a smooth trail where you can skip-to-your-loo as you would jogging. If you find the pavement a bit harsh on your knees, you can always give this a go on grass, although be mindful that there will be more resistance.
Remember: skip ropes are dirt cheap and are an easy way to get in a workout. No fancy gym membership required---although you might want to listen to some of your fave grooves while you skippity-hoppity along ;)
4. Battle Rope
Just looking at the position of the ropes you can already feel your shoulders burning, can't you? It's quite the upper body and core workout, but certainly there's a lot of leg movement involved in that you can incorporate squats and lunges while thrashing those ropes about---making battle rope yet another fantastic total-body workout.
You might not find this in every gym, but you can certainly get yourself some rope and attach it securely to an object, like an outdoor fence or weighted down smith machine. Ropes do come in various thickness and heaviness, although you can purchase ones specifically designed for battle rope.
While you do need a good amount of space for doing battle rope, a park or your backyard can easily provide all the space you need. With not much needed besides you, rope and some nice weather, battling rope is a great workout alternative to the standard cardio routine. Try doing different rope exercises using a timer (aka doing a HIIT routine) or incorporate rope exercises with other HIIT movements such as burpees, plyo lunges and skaters.
5. Ballet Barre
Now you know ballet is an amazing form of dance to develop long, lean legs, but those arm positions will certainly help you to get toned shoulders. Whether following a barre class or a free vid on YouTube, you'll notice that all the while doing plies, grand battements and other leg movements, your arms will usually be in 2nd or 5th position (or moving from 2nd to 5th position). You can also use weights and add a few of these ballet moves to your shoulder workout routine.
Of course, all those arm positions are a great way to build your posture, something that many dancers are well aware of. Get inspired to try a few moves on your lighter training days or as a cooldown with a few of these exercises HERE.
To strong, toned shoulders and great looking posture,
Fit Tips & Workouts by Cat Wilson
Go ahead, Get Fit! Your Body Deserves It...and So Do You :)
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