Thursday, 12 May 2016

Shoulders Exercise

1) Dumbbell Shoulder Press

The dumbbell shoulder press beats out the barbell version, but only by a nose. Either one can anchor a complete deltoid routine, and ideally, they would be rotated regularly with one another over the course of weeks or months, according to Hooper. That said, the dumbbell press allows the arms to flare out a little more to your sides, which targets the middle delts — and when it comes to width, mass and overall roundness (think “cannonball”), the middle delts are the most important of the three heads. Meanwhile, the barbell press relies more on the front delt, which is also important, but is usually already thicker in most guys, thanks to heavy incline bench pressing.

Main Areas Targeted: anterior, middle and rear deltoids

Strengths: While you can’t handle the same loads as you can with a barbell, the dumbbell press offers additional benefits. “The seated dumbbell press would require a little more coordination, and having two separate dumbbells always prevents any strength imbalances,” Hooper explains. “For example, in a machine, you can push more with one side than the other [to lift the weight]. You can’t do that with dumbbells; you have to complete each motion exclusively.”

How-To: Sit on a low-back bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand above shoulder level with a pronated grip (palms facing forward). Keep your head straight, spine aligned and eyes focused forward with your shoulders shifted back as you press the dumbbells overhead in an arc toward each other — but don’t let them touch at the top. After a squeeze, reverse the motion under control to the start position and repeat.

2) Upright Row-Bar or Smith Machine

In bodybuilding circles, you’ll come across your fair share of people who hate the Smith machine. Passionately so. To them, it represents a crime against weightlifting, taking a trusty barbell and putting it on a track. It’s like training wheels for the gym.

We agree in one sense — trading out all your free-weight barbell moves for the Smith versions would give you a less-effective workout overall. But then again, the Smith, when used judiciously, can help you gain strength, beat sticking points, learn body control in relative safety and, in the case of the upright row, even improve (gasp!) on the typical barbell version.

Main Areas Targeted: anterior, middle and rear deltoids; trapezius

Strengths: The upright row is often thought of mostly as a middle-delt exercise, but research has revealed that the wide-grip row engages the rear delts to some extent, as well. While you may assume a barbell or dumbbell upright row might be preferable — free weights get all the love — using the Smith machine in this case helps reduce unwanted stress on the back and shoulder joints because the bar is a bit out in front of you instead of in contact with your torso.

How-To: With your feet hip-width apart, stand upright, holding the bar of a Smith machine in front of your thighs with an overhand grip a few inches outside shoulder width. Twist the bar to release it from the safety latches and let your arms hang straight, maintaining a slight bend in your knees and a tight core. Flex your shoulders to pull the bar straight up toward your chin, keeping the bar close to your body throughout. In the top position, your elbows will be high and pointing out to your sides. Hold that spot for a second before slowly lowering to the start position.

3) Cable Front Raise

You could take the first four moves in this list, throw ’em in a bag and dump them out in any order you wish. Doesn’t matter — they’re all about equal in their benefits for the respective delt head they target. In the case of the cable front raise, you’ll call on the anterior delt to take on the load, benefiting again from that continuous tension the cable provides. One caveat: If your shoulder workout is heavy on presses, you’ll want to prioritize the lateral and rear-delt raises, but from a purely muscle-sculpting perspective, the cable raise to the front is brutally effective.

Main Area Targeted: anterior (front) deltoids

Strengths: The placement of the cable in side laterals across your body can cause some awkwardness because of the drag. That’s eliminated with front raises, which allow the cable to roam free during the range of motion. It’s a small benefit, sure, but it eliminates a minor distraction when repping.

How-To: With a D-handle in one hand, stand in a staggered shoulder-width stance with your back to a low cable pulley. Place your nonworking hand on your hip for balance. With your chest elevated, back flat and knees slightly bent, powerfully raise the cable up and out in front of you until your upper arm is about parallel with your working shoulder. Squeeze, then slowly lower your arm back to the start position (without letting the stack touch down) and repeat. Do all reps on one side before switching to the other.

4)Lateral Raise

We could point out plenty of flaws in the dumbbell lateral raise. The level of resistance is uneven at various points of the range of motion, and there’s even a dead spot if you bring the weights down in front of your body to start each rep. With some action at the hips, cheating via momentum is all too easy. And honestly, it’s one of the most abused exercises at the gym, with guys hoisting way too much weight in what is supposed to be a precise isolation exercise. That said, though, the lateral raise is still a must-do movement for wider, more impressive delts. You just need to focus on doing it right.

Main Area Targeted: middle deltoids

Strengths: We’ve listed its weaknesses, but don’t let those dissuade you. Lateral raises put an impressive amount of tension on the middle delts, even if you do end up cheating a little on your final few reps approaching muscle failure. That’s because they attack the target muscle in exactly the way they’re intended to function, bringing your arms upward and out, away from your body. By adjusting your grip just a little, angling so your thumb side is a little lower than your pinkie side (as if you were pouring water out of a jug), you engage the middle head even more.

How-To: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your abs tight, chest up and shoulders back. With your head straight, hold the dumbbells at your sides with a neutral grip. Without using momentum, raise the dumbbells out to your sides in a wide arc, keeping your elbows and hands moving together in the same plane. Raise the dumbbells just above shoulder level and hold momentarily in the peak contracted position. Slowly lower the dumbbells down along the same path and repeat for reps.

5) Seated Barbell Shoulder Press

If you dream of having huge, barn-door shoulders and you haven’t tried a barbell press, here’s a reality check: You ain’t trying hard enough. This press isn’t for sissies — it’s challenging, somewhat uncomfortable and in all ways a high-intensity activity. That said, it’s also one of the best, most efficient ways to get from Point A to Point B in your deltoid development.

Main Areas Targeted: anterior, middle and rear deltoids

Strengths: “For a heavier load, the barbell is more appropriate [than a dumbbell press],” says David Hooper, MA, CSCS, doctoral fellow in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. “It would be perfectly safe, for instance, to go to a three- to five-rep-max load and perform the barbell press, while that would really not be appropriate for the dumbbell press — it would just be awkward getting the dumbbells into place, for one.”

How-To: Find a barbell press station — not all gyms have one, so you may have to make one yourself using a low-back bench set inside a power rack. Sit erect, keeping your lower back slightly arched and your feet flat on the floor. Grasp the bar outside of shoulder width with a palms-forward grip, elbows pointing down and outward. Carefully unrack the bar and hold it at shoulder level. In a smooth, strong motion, press the bar straight up to just short of elbow lockout. Squeeze, then lower the bar under control to a point right at your upper chest and clavicle area. Be sure to pull your face back as the bar passes to avoid giving yourself an impromptu nose job.

6) Bent-over Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Some would argue that the one-arm bent-over lateral raise — allowing you to focus all your effort on one side at a time — is superior to the two-armed version. We disagree. The unilateral version increases the ability to cheat, allowing you to rotate more at the waist when repping. Doing both arms at the same time cuts down on that kind of momentum, putting more pressure on your rear delts to carry the load.

Main Area Targeted: rear deltoids

Strengths: The bent-over raise is versatile and can be performed either standing or seated at the end of a flat bench leaning over your knees. And the use of dumbbells means other muscles come into play for stabilization — which may not mean a heck of a lot for your rear delts but does help create a more functional physique overall.

How-To: With a dumbbell in each hand and your chest up, back flat, knees slightly bent and eyes fixed on a point on the floor just ahead of you, bend over at the hips until your torso is nearly parallel to the floor. Let the dumbbells hang directly beneath you with your elbows fixed in a slightly bent position. From there, powerfully raise the dumbbells up and out to your sides in an arc until your upper arms are about parallel with the floor. Pause at the top for a squeeze, then lower the dumbbells back along the same path, stopping just before your arms go fully perpendicular to the floor, and start the next rep.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Best Exercises for Arms

Let’s start with the anatomy of arm and learn what needs to happen to get the look we want and then move on to the arm exercises and workouts that will get us there.


In a biceps-focused list like this, you can’t leave out the classic curl. So we didn’t. (Don’t worry: The exercises will get more interesting.) But we would ask that you use a weight that makes sense: If you’re swaying back wildly and contorting your body—especially excessively arching your lower back—to lift the load, you should probably get a lighter pair of dumbbells.

Do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells and let them hang at arm’s length next to your sides. Turn your arms so your palms face forward. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Pause, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Each time you return to the starting position, completely straighten your arms


Take your standard-grip curl and flip it on its side. This small difference in the way you hold the dumbbell helps transfer more of the work from your biceps brachii to your brachialis—a muscle that can make your arms look thicker.

Do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells and let them hang at arm’s length next to your sides with your palms facing your thighs. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Pause, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Each time you return to the starting position, completely straighten your arms.

The opposite of the decline variation, you’ll lie on your back, allowing your arms to drop down behind your body. This puts an extra challenge on the long head of your biceps brachii because you’re working from a deficit—meaning, you’re starting the movement at a point where you have less leverage than normal.

Do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie with your back against a bench that’s set to a 45-degree incline. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Pause, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Each time you return to the starting position, completely straighten your arms.

Lying chest-down on a bench really isolates the biceps since you don’t have to maintain as much tension in your legs and core muscles as you do when you stand. Use various grips in this position to zero in on different parts of your biceps.

Do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie with your chest against a bench that’s set to a 45-degree incline. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Pause, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Each time you return to the starting position, completely straighten your arms.

This exercise targets the three major muscles that make up the biceps—the biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis—by rotating from an underhand to an overhand grip halfway through the move.

Do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells and let them hang at arm’s length next to your sides. Turn your arms so your palms face forward. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Pause, then rotate the dumbbells so your palms face forward again. Slowly lower the weights down in that position. Rotate the dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat.

Just like the dumbbell hammer curl, this biceps exercise will hit your brachialis to build thickness in your arms. But unlike the dumbbell version, the cable machine keeps a more steady and constant load on the biceps for longer, which may elicit more growth, according to Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D.

Do it: Hold both ends of a rope attached to the low pulley of a cable machine. Press your elbows into your sides with your palms facing each other. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, your torso upright, and your knees slightly bent. Keeping your arms stable throughout the move, curl, the rope toward your shoulders, Pause, and reverse the movement to return to the starting position.

Resting your arms on a sloping pad of a preacher bench helps isolate your biceps by taking your other upper-body muscles out of the equation—meaning, they won’t come into play to assist where your biceps are weakest. If you don’t have the appropriate workstation, you can use a Swiss ball or a bench angled to 45 degrees.

Do it: Grab an EZ-bar with your hands six inches apart. Rest your upper arms on the sloping pad of a preacher bench and hold the bar in front of you with your elbows slightly bent. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the bar toward your shoulders. Pause, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.

The inverted row is primarily an upper-back exercise. However, using an underhand grip instead of a standard grip forces your biceps to work harder.

Do it: Grab a bar with an underhand, shoulder-width grip. You palms should be facing you. Hang with your arms completely straight. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. Initiate the movement by pulling your shoulder blades back, then continue the pull with your arms to lift your chest to the bar. Pause, then slowly lower your body back to the starting position.


While the chinup doesn’t isolate your biceps, it certainly trains them hard. Along with other muscles in your arms, shoulders, and back, you’ll use your biceps to pull your entire bodyweight from a dead hang, building serious upper-body strength, according to Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Cressey Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts.

Do it: Grab a chinup bar using a shoulder-width underhand grip and hang at arm’s length. Squeeze your shoulder blades down and back, bend your elbows, and pull the top of your chest to the bar. Pause, and slowly lower your body back to the starting position.

Instead of holding your arms by your sides for this variation of the biceps curl, you’ll keep them extended outwards, parallel to the floor. Just holding your arms in this position will put them to work. Adding a curl helps zero in directly on your biceps.

Do it: Stand between the weight stacks of a cable crossover station and grab a high-pulley handle in each hand. Hold your arms out to the sides so they’re parallel to the floor. Without moving your right arm, curl your left hand toward your head. Slowly allow your left arm to straight and then repeat the move with your right arm.

Exercise for Back

Pullup or Chinup Variations
If you want a V-shaped torso, you must do pullups and chinups. They build width because they target your latissimus dorsi (a.k.a. lats), the large back muscles that wrap around the sides of the upper body just below the arms. These muscles are the ones that give the torso a wider, flared shape, and can make you appear slimmer even if you haven't lost an inch around your middle.

Below is a list of variations of this classic back exercise from easiest to hardest. As you pull your chest to the bar during each rep, think about pulling your shoulder blades toward your back pockets. This will force you to use your upper-back muscles—as opposed to your biceps—to perform the move.

For each rep of this back exercise, you'll start in a dead hang and then pull your chest to the bar.

CHIN-UP: Grab the bar with a shoulder-width underhand grip.

NEUTRAL-GRIP PULL UP: Grab the parallel handles of a chinup station so that your palms are facings each other.

MIXED GRIP CHINUP: Placing your hands shoulder-width apart, use an underhand grip with one hand and an overhand grip with the other.

PULL UP: This is the same movement as a chinup except that you grab the bar with an overhand grip that's slightly wider than shoulder width.

START-AND-STOP PULLUP: Perform a pullup, and then slowly lower halfway down to a dead hang. Pause, then pull your chest to the bar again. Pause, now lower all the way down to a dead hang. That's 1 rep.

ISO PULLUP: Perform a pullup, but hold your chin above the bar for 10 to 15 seconds. You can do this for several reps or on the last rep of your last set of pullups
TOWEL PULLUP: Find your hand positions for a chinup, then drape a towel over each of those spots on the bar. Grab the ends of the towels so that your palms are facing each other. Grasping the towels engages more of your forearm muscles, improving your grip strength and endurance.

Make your muscles bulge with The Back and Biceps Builder, a 2-exercise workout that gives you super gains.

Lat Pulldown
While you can't beat the chin up as a back exercise, the lat pulldown is also great for increasing muscle. In fact, bodybuilders swear by it. Get the most out of the move by performing the exercise at a slow, controlled tempo. You should "feel" your lats working each rep. Do 8 to 12 reps like this, making sure your upper body remains in nearly the same position from start to finish.

DO THIS: Sit down at a lat pulldown station and grab the bar with an overhand grip that's just beyond shoulder width. Without moving your torso, pull your shoulders back and down, and bring the bar down to your chest. Pause, then slowly return to the starting position.

T-Bar Row
If you want to achieve the classic V-taper look with a wide back and narrow waist, then T-bar rows is the exercise that can help you. It will improve your posture and help prevent back injuries. It not only works your back muscles, but also provides lower body and core muscle stimulation.

DO THIS: Grab a barbell and position yourself in an area where you have an adequate amount of room. Straddle the barbell and grab it with both hands, one above the other (you can also attach a V-bar onto the barbell). Bend forward at the waist so that your chest is leaning forward over your feet. Keep your knees slightly bent (a bit more bent than they are with one-arm rows) and your feet just beyond shoulder width apart. Start with your arms fully extended, allowing the barbell to hang at about mid-shin level. Next, lift or “row” the barbell up and close to your stomach. Return the barbell back down to the starting position and repeat for the desired amount of reps. Be sure to keep your head up and shoulders back throughout this exercise in order to keep your back in a firm and stable position throughout the movement.


When it's done right, the deadlift is an excellent back exercise. As you pick up and put down the weight, your upper-back muscles—including your rhomboids, traps, erector spinae, rear deltoids, and lats—must fire on all cylinders to keep your torso straight and your lower back from rounding. It's when you fail to engage these muscles that injuries can occur.

DO THIS: Load a barbell and roll it against your shins. Bend at your hips and knees and grab the bar with an overhand grip, your hands just beyond shoulder width. Keeping your lower back naturally arched, pull your torso up and thrust your hips forward as you stand up with the barbell. Lower the bar to the floor and repeat.

Want more reasons to add the deadlift to your workout routine? World-renowned fitness expert Dan John explains why you should Deadlift for Total-Body Strength.


Seated Cable Row

Seated cable rows are a traditional upper-back exercise. Adding a pause for three seconds when the bar gets to your torso, however, can increase your gains. The pause keeps your scapular retractors working longer. Strengthening these muscles is important because a weakness can lead to unstable shoulders—and that limits your strength and muscle gains in nearly every upper-body exercise, including the bench press and arm curl.

When you start this movement, pull your shoulders down and back. Otherwise, you'll keep your shoulders elevated, which stresses the shoulder joint. Over time, this can cause your joint to become unstable, which often leads to injury.

DO THIS: Attach a straight bar to a cable station and position yourself with your feet braced. Grab the bar using an overhand, shoulder-width grip, and sit upright. Pull the bar to your upper abs. Pause for three seconds, then slowly lower your body back to the starting position. Your torso should remain straight and motionless throughout the movement. Don't lean forward and backward to perform the exercise.

Bent-Over Barbell Row
Compared to other variations of the row—like the single-arm dumbbell row—the barbell version allows you to use more weight. Rowing with heavier loads elicits more muscle growth in your middle and lower traps, rhomboid major, rhomboid minor, upper traps, rear deltoids, and rotator cuff muscles.

Use an underhand grip to target your rhomboids, the small muscles that start at your spine and attach to your shoulder blades. They assist your traps with pulling your shoulder blades together. These muscles tend to be weak due to the long amount of time we spend sitting at desks, in cars, or on couches every day.

DO THIS: Grab a barbell with an underhand grip that’s just beyond shoulder width, and hold it at arm’s length. Lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor, and bend at your hips and knees. Let the bar hang at arm’s length. Pull the bar to your upper abs as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Pause, and slowly lower the bar back to the starting position.