Muscle of the Month: Strong, Striking Shoulders

IMG_4822Looking for a way to make an impact at your upcoming reunion or other significant event? Then give people strikingly fabulous shoulders to admire!

Well-developed and strong shoulder muscles make you look great, while supporting the shoulder joints which are vulnerable to injury because of their fragile, highly mobile, ball-and-socket structure.

There are many sports that need strong shoulder muscles and good mobility in that area, such as tennis, squash, golf, swimming, volleyball, baseball, and the list goes on.

Most importantly, day-to-day activities also need strong shoulder muscles for such things as lifting objects and kids, carrying shoulder bags, raising arms overhead, washing windows, and other chores.  Sometimes the repetitive motion of such movements or an accidental blunt or jerky motion can injure your shoulders.  Rotator cuff injuries are common in older adults due to overuse but may also afflict younger people.  In particular, kids are vulnerable to dislocations if their arms are pulled forcefully.

What are the Shoulder Muscles?

The shoulder area is made up of the bones and various muscles that surround the bottom of the neck, top of the arms, and the top chest and back area.

Although the rotator cuff muscles are the primary muscles of the shoulder, there are several muscles in the shoulder area that work together to create various movements.  Below is a brief and simple summary of the muscles and movements they facilitate:

1.  Rotator Cuff Muscles – Four key muscles make up the rotator cuff group of muscles and are: the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor.  These muscles help us rotate our arms as well as move them away and towards our bodies.

2. Deltoid muscle – This one is the prominent one that most of us notice as the shoulder muscle.  It lies above the shoulder joint and works with the supraspinatus muscle to allow the arm to move away from our bodies at the shoulder joint.

3.  Coracobrachialis, serratus anterior, pectoralis major, and pectoralis minor muscles work together to flex and move the shoulder blade and the upper arm towards our sternum (chest area).

4.  On the back side of our shoulders, the latissimus dorsi and teres major help move our arms towards our spine (towards the back).

5.  Trapezius, rhomboid major and legator scapulae muscles found on the back side raise the shoulder-blade to help us shrug our shoulders and move the shoulder blades back.

As suggested by the long list of muscles highlighted above, the elegant movement coming from our shoulders is an intricate and well-developed collaboration of muscles!

Selection of Shoulder Exercises

To strengthen your shoulder area you need to work on various muscles.  The following are a few exercises to include in your strength training routine.

Dumbbell Shoulder External Rotation – Side

Dumbbell Shoulder Internal Rotation – Side

Barbell Upright Row

 Alternating Dumbbell Shoulder Press – Seated

 Shoulder Rolls

Dumbbell Lateral Raise – Seated

Bent-over Row – Dumbbells

This exercise will also work other muscles in your back to help support your shoulders.


Got a favorite shoulder exercise?  Please share it with us!


Recipe of the Week:  Risotto-Style Rice

About aspireperspirenourish

We are sisters who share a passion for healthy living! Each of us brings different knowledge and skills to this project, some similar experiences and a whole lot of shared passion for mindful, fit and nutritious living. This blog is our way of spreading our knowledge and passion about motivation, fitness and nutrition for everyday living. It is also our forum for finding like-minded people from whom we can learn. To learn more about us, please see our "About" page.
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