By: Lisa Payne
What better way to make an entrance than to show off just how strong you are? Strength training builds both physical strength and mental confidence. Since your arms are one of the first things people see when they meet you, having strong arms is your non-verbal way of showing everyone, including yourself, that you can take on the day and anything that goes along with it. Enter shoulder workouts!
To start you out on the right path to becoming “armed” and dangerous, here’s a simple routine for strong shoulders. And the best part? There’s no equipment needed, so you can do these exercises just about anywhere!
From a standing position, bend your knees and bring your hands all the way to the floor in front of you. Walk your hands out until you are in a push-up position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Brace your core and hold for just a few seconds. Walk the hands back until they are at your feet and then stand all the way up. Repeat 15-25 times.
Find a chair, your front stoop, or the first stair on a staircase. Sit with your back facing the step and place your hands on the step with your fingertips pointing toward your toes. Your hands should be close to your ribcage and not placed out wide. Keep a soft bend in your knees as you push your body off the floor. Lower down slowly. Did you ever push yourself up onto a countertop as a kid? This is pretty similar. Try to complete 15-25 at a time.
Come into a static plank position, again with the hands just underneath the shoulders. Your core, quadriceps, and shoulders should all be engaged. Without rocking your hips side-to-side, touch your right hand to your left shoulder and then place it back to the floor. Then tap your right shoulder with your left hand and bring it back. Alternate right and left 15-25 times (right/left equals one rep).
Start by lying on your left side, propped up on your forearm. Both feet should be stacked on top of each other. Lift your hips off the ground and reach your right arm to the ceiling. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Repeat on the other side. Isometric holds like this are an excellent way to build strength and endurance.
Come back into your plank position. but this time, push your hips up toward the ceiling and keep your spine long. If you do yoga, you’ll know this position as downward-facing dog. Keep your entire body active and your neck relaxed, and bend the elbows as if you were about to head-butt the floor. How much you bend the elbows is up to you, but your head should never actually reach the floor. Step your feet closer to your hands to intensify this move. Try to do 15-25 reps!
Depending on how much time you have, complete all five of these exercises at least three times, with a minimum of 15 reps. Aim to do these exercises 2-3 times a week and you’ll be stronger inside and out!