Shoulders are the most problematic body part for improvement, due to their unique structure. They consist of the so-called "deltoid muscle." The deltoid muscle includes three heads (or bundles):
- Anterior (front).
- Medial (middle), also called "lateral."
- Posterior (rear).
Due to these structural features, there is no single exercise that can fully engage the entire shoulder. Therefore, all exercises designed for this body part target specific muscle groups.
Types of exercises
There are two types:
- Compound exercises, which provide a load on several bundles at once and often engage the trapezius muscles.
- Isolation exercises, the main purpose of which, in contrast to the previous ones, is to target a specific head of the deltoid muscle.
It is logical that beginners are advised to use compound exercises and, in case of lagging of a specific bundle, apply isolation exercises for balancing.
Recommendations for choosing exercises
For someone just starting in bodybuilding, focusing on two exercises will be sufficient. A more experienced athlete will need at least two compound and up to three isolation exercises. These values will vary depending on the structure and current shape of the deltoids. In addition, it is important to consider the number of repetitions performed. The optimal number should be in the range of eight to ten. Now let's discuss the compound exercises used for shoulder training in more detail, as they are the most effective, even compared to isolation exercises.
Detailed explanation of compound exercises
There are two particularly successful and effective exercises that rightfully enjoy well-deserved popularity:
- Military press.
- Standing barbell press.
When performing these exercises, most of the deltoid muscles are engaged, making them the most versatile of all known exercises. In addition to these, the following exercises are considered good alternatives:
- dumbbell lateral raises;
- upright barbell row;
- Arnold press.
Using these exercises will allow you to target and engage all three heads of the deltoid muscle. Most importantly, the medial bundle, which plays the most active role in shaping the trained body part, is actively involved.
As researchers from Norway have found, standing presses show the greatest effectiveness compared to the same exercise performed in a seated position. The most useful of these presses turned out to be the more difficult one to perform. In this case, the anterior head of the deltoid muscle received the most stimulation (twice as much as the medial head and three times as much as the posterior head). Moreover, using dumbbells as a tool for performing the press allowed the muscles to be loaded much more intensively than when using a barbell.