Running Arms

There’s probably a real name for this exercise somewhere, but I always call it running arms. I call it this because the arms simulate the running motion when doing the exercise.

Benefits

I like this exercise because it is very functional. It uses the shoulder muscle in the way that they are intended to be used most, in a back and forth motion like in walking or running. What better way to strengthen a muscle than with it’s intended purpose?

 

Body Parts Used

The running arms exercise uses the front delts and rear delts as the primary movers. The front delts are used when the arm is swinging forward and the rear delts when they are swinging back.

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Instructions

  • Holding hand weights, stand with knees slightly bent for cushion of the spine.
  • Hold dumbbells down at your sides with palms facing in. Your elbows should be locked at a 90 degree position.
  • Swing the weights back and forth at a comfortable pace. Don’t go too fast.
  • Stop when you have reached a mild fatigue.
  • Discontinue if there is any discomfort in your shoulder joint.

Similar Exercises

Note: One exercise alone is not sufficient for any goal. All exercises should be part of a comprehensive exercise program. Also, see my list of exercises for more.

Mike Caton

Dumbbell Front Raises

dumbbell front raiseThe dumbbell front raise is a good exercise for the shoulders, and surprisingly. the low back. It can target both the front and/or side delt depending on how the wrist is rotated.

Benefits

It’s easy and effective at targeting the shoulder muscles. It’s also a good exercise for strengthening the lower back because those muscles are used to maintain a neutral spine during this exercise. If you don’t believe me, try it when your back hurts and you’ll know what I mean.

 

Body Parts Used

If your palms are facing down as in the picture, you are using both the front and middle deltoids. If you rotate your palms to the thumbs up position, you will work mostly the front delt.

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Instructions

  • Stand with knees slightly bent for cushion of the spine.
  • Hold dumbbells down at your sides with palms facing you. Your elbows should be locked at a slightly bent position.
  • inhale as you raise the weights forward and up toward shoulder height.
  • Inhale as you return to the starting position.
  • Discontinue if there is any discomfort in your shoulder joint.

Similar Exercises

 

Note: One exercise alone is not sufficient for any goal. All exercises should be part of a comprehensive exercise program. Also, see my list of exercises for more.

Mike Caton

Dumbbell Side Raise

The dumbbell side lateral raise is a good, but not very functional exercise. It’s good to isolate specific areas of your shoulder. But, as you know, I generally prefer functional exercises over not.Woman performing a lateral raise

Benefits

It’s easy and effective at targeting one of the specific shoulder muscles.

 

Body Parts Used

Main focus is on the deltoid (shoulder) muscles. The image shows palms down. This way targets the middle deltoids. Turning thumbs up changes the emphasis to the front delts. If you turn the thumbs down and bend over at about a 45 degree angle at your torso, you will target the rear delts as you raise them. This is an awkward movement, but works.

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Instructions

  • Stand with knees slightly bent for cushion of the spine.
  • Hold dumbbells down at your sides with palms facing you. Your elbows should be locked at a slightly bent position.
  • inhale as you raise the weights up toward shoulder height.
  • Inhale as you return to the starting position.
  • Discontinue if there is any discomfort in your shoulder joint.

Similar Exercises

 

Note: One exercise alone is not sufficient for any goal. All exercises should be part of a comprehensive exercise program. Also, see my list of exercises for more.

Mike Caton

 

Dumbbell Upright Row

dumbbell upright rowThe dumbbell upright row is a very effective and even functional exercise. Upright row exercises tend to have a risk of shoulder injury (impingement), but I teach a variation that helps. See below.

Benefits

Strengthens and develops the upper body pulling muscles, especially the back of the shoulder and the trapezoids. Because it’s done standing and with free weights, it uses a lot of muscle including the core. Also helps balance.

 

Body Parts Used

Main focus is on the deltoid (shoulder) muscles, primarily on the front deltoid.

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Instructions

  • Stand with knees slightly bent for cushion of the spine.
  • With palms facing you, hold dumbbells down if front of you just inside shoulder width.
  • inhale as you raise the weights up toward shoulder height, gradually allowing them to move apart to about shoulder width.
  • Inhale as you return to the starting position.
  • Discontinue if there is any discomfort in your shoulder joint.

Similar Exercises

 

  • Dumbbell shoulder press

 

Note: One exercise alone is not sufficient for any goal. All exercises should be part of a comprehensive exercise program. Also, see my list of exercises for more.

Mike Caton

 

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

This is a staple of the shoulder exercises. It’s great and easy to do.

Benefits

Strengthens and develops the upper body, especially the front of the shoulder. Because it’s done standing and with free weights, it uses a lot of muscle including the core. Also helps balance.

 

Body Parts Used

 

Main focus is on the deltoid (shoulder) muscles, primarily on the front deltoid.

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Instructions

  • Stand with knees slightly bent for cushion of the spine.
  • With palms forward, hold dumbbells just outside your shoulders.
  • Exhale as you press the weights up, gradually allowing them to move in so that when you are fully extended, your arms are extended straight up from your shoulders.
  • Inhale as you return to the starting position.

Similar Exercises

  • Barbell shoulder press

Note: One exercise alone is not sufficient for any goal. All exercises should be part of a comprehensive exercise program. Also, see my list of exercises for more.

Mike Caton