Add these 3 exercises into your training if you want to build strong, injury resistant and better-looking shoulders.
the workout was designed by the legendary bodybuilder and coach John Meadows.
What are the Benefits of Strong Shoulders?
Strong shoulders offer numerous benefits, both in terms of aesthetics and functional performance. Here are some of the key advantages:
- Improved posture: Strong shoulders help maintain proper alignment of the upper body, promoting good posture. They provide stability to the spine and help counteract the effects of prolonged sitting and poor posture habits.
- Enhanced upper body strength: Well-developed shoulder muscles contribute to overall upper body strength. Strong shoulders assist in performing a variety of exercises, such as push-ups, pull-ups, overhead presses, and bench presses.
- Increased shoulder stability: Strengthening the muscles around the shoulder joint enhances stability, reducing the risk of injuries and shoulder dislocation. Strong shoulders provide a solid foundation for activities involving the upper body, such as throwing, lifting, and carrying heavy objects.
- Injury prevention: A robust shoulder complex can help prevent common shoulder injuries, such as rotator cuff strains, impingement syndrome, and shoulder instability. Strengthening the surrounding muscles and improving shoulder stability can reduce the risk of these injuries.
- Improved athletic performance: Many sports require strong shoulders for optimal performance. Whether it’s throwing a ball, swinging a tennis racket, swimming, or participating in contact sports, powerful shoulders contribute to better performance and reduced risk of injury.
- Increased range of motion: Strong and flexible shoulders allow for a greater range of motion in the arms and upper body. This flexibility is beneficial in daily activities as well as in sports and fitness pursuits.
- Aesthetic appeal: Well-developed shoulders contribute to an attractive and balanced physique. Strong shoulders create the illusion of a smaller waist and enhance the overall v-shaped appearance of the upper body.
- Functional daily activities: Strong shoulders support everyday activities such as carrying groceries, lifting objects, reaching overhead, and performing household chores. Having strong shoulders can make these tasks easier and more manageable.
It’s important to note that while shoulder strength is valuable, it should be developed in conjunction with a well-rounded exercise routine that addresses the entire body.
Balanced muscular development and overall fitness are key to reaping the full benefits of strong shoulders.
Who Was John Meadows the Bodybuilder and Coach?
John Meadows, known as “Mountain Dog,” was a highly respected bodybuilder and strength coach. He was born on August 2, 1969, and unfortunately, he passed away on August 8, 2021.
John Meadows had a remarkable career in bodybuilding, competing in numerous competitions and achieving significant success.
However, John Meadows is perhaps best known for his work as a coach and mentor. He became renowned for his training methods and principles, which he referred to as the “Mountain Dog Training” approach. His training philosophy focused on utilizing various training techniques, including high-intensity techniques, to maximize muscle growth and strength. He emphasized the importance of progressive overload, proper nutrition, and adequate recovery for optimal results.
Video Format – The Perfect 3 Exercise Front Delt Workout for Strong Shoulders
Incline Barbell Bench Press
The incline barbell bench press is a popular exercise that targets the upper chest, shoulders, and triceps. It offers several benefits, including:
Upper chest development: The incline angle of the bench places greater emphasis on the upper chest muscles (pectoralis major, clavicular fibres). This exercise helps to develop a well-rounded chest by targeting the often-neglected upper portion, resulting in a fuller and more defined chest appearance.
Shoulder strength and stability: The incline barbell bench press engages the anterior deltoids (front shoulder muscles) to a greater extent than the flat bench press. Strong and stable shoulders are essential for various upper body movements and can help prevent shoulder injuries.
Balanced chest development: By incorporating both flat and incline bench presses into your training routine, you can achieve balanced development of the chest muscles. A well-balanced chest not only enhances aesthetics but also contributes to overall upper body strength and stability.
Improved upper body pressing strength: The incline barbell bench press is an excellent compound exercise that involves multiple muscle groups working together. It not only targets the chest and shoulders but also recruits the triceps and upper back muscles for stability and support. As a result, it can significantly improve your upper body pressing strength.
Increased variation and muscle stimulation: Adding variety to your training routine is crucial for continuous progress and muscle growth. The incline barbell bench press offers a different angle and movement pattern compared to the traditional flat bench press, providing new stimuli for the muscles, which can lead to enhanced muscle development and improved strength gains.
Functional carryover to sports and daily activities: The incline barbell bench press mimics movements that are commonly encountered in sports and everyday life, such as pushing and pressing motions. Strengthening the muscles involved in these actions can enhance performance in various sports and make daily activities that require upper body strength easier to perform.
Core activation and stability: Performing the incline barbell bench press requires proper core engagement to maintain stability and control during the exercise. Consequently, it can help improve core strength and stability, which is essential for overall functional fitness and injury prevention.
When incorporating the incline barbell bench press into your training routine, it’s important to use proper form, start with an appropriate weight, and progress gradually to avoid injury and maximize the benefits of the exercise.
Incline Barbell Bench Press on the Smith Machine
The incline barbell bench press on the Smith machine is a variation of the traditional incline barbell bench press exercise. The Smith machine is a piece of gym equipment that consists of a barbell fixed on vertical rails. The barbell moves in a guided path, providing stability and assistance during the exercise.
To perform the incline barbell bench press on the Smith machine, follow these steps:
- Set up the Smith machine: Adjust the height of the barbell on the vertical rails to align it with your chest when lying on the bench. Ensure that the incline bench is set to the desired angle, typically between 30 to 45 degrees.
- Position yourself on the bench: Sit on the bench with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Lie back and position yourself under the Smith machine bar so that it aligns with your upper chest.
- Grip the bar: Grasp the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip. Your palms should be facing forward, away from your body.
- Unrack the bar: Engage your chest, shoulders, and triceps, and lift the bar off the rack by extending your arms fully. Hold the barbell directly above your upper chest, with your elbows bent and pointing out to the sides.
- Lower the bar: Slowly lower the barbell towards your upper chest while maintaining control and keeping your elbows at a slight angle. Aim to bring the bar close to your chest or touch it lightly, but avoid bouncing it off your chest.
- Press the bar: Exhale and push the barbell back up to the starting position, extending your arms and contracting your chest muscles. Keep your core engaged and maintain a stable position throughout the movement.
- Repeat: Perform the desired number of repetitions with proper form and control. Focus on maintaining a slow and controlled pace throughout the exercise.
- Rack the bar: Once you have completed your set, return the barbell to the starting position by bending your elbows and lowering the bar back onto the rack.
The incline barbell bench press on the Smith machine targets the upper chest, shoulders, and triceps similarly to the free weight version. However, the Smith machine provides added stability and control, which can be beneficial for beginners or individuals who may struggle with balance or stabilizing the weight on their own.
It’s important to note that while the Smith machine can be a useful tool, incorporating a mix of free weight exercises and variations into your training routine is generally recommended to develop overall strength, stability, and muscle coordination.
Dumbbell Front Raise
The dumbbell front raise is an isolation exercise that primarily targets the anterior deltoids (front shoulder muscles). It is performed using dumbbells and is a popular exercise for developing shoulder strength and definition.
Here’s how you can perform the dumbbell front raise:
- Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing your body. This is your starting position.
- Engage your core and maintain a slight bend in your elbows throughout the exercise.
- Keeping your back straight and your chest up, exhale and slowly lift one dumbbell straight out in front of you. The dumbbell should be raised to shoulder height or slightly above parallel to the ground. Your arms should be extended but not locked.
- Pause for a moment at the top of the movement, focusing on contracting your front shoulder muscles.
- Inhale and lower the dumbbell back down to the starting position in a controlled manner.
- Repeat the movement with the opposite arm, and continue alternating between arms for the desired number of repetitions.
- Key points to keep in mind while performing the dumbbell front raise:
- Avoid using momentum or swinging your body to lift the dumbbells. Focus on controlled and deliberate movements.
- Keep your wrists in a neutral position, avoiding excessive bending or flexing.
- Maintain a steady and controlled tempo throughout the exercise.
Choose an appropriate weight that allows you to perform the exercise with proper form and without compromising your shoulder stability.
Variations of the dumbbell front raise:
- Alternating front raise: Instead of raising both dumbbells simultaneously, lift one arm at a time while keeping the other arm in the starting position. This variation allows you to focus on each side independently.
- Bilateral front raise: Lift both dumbbells simultaneously in a coordinated motion, raising them to shoulder height or slightly above in front of you. This variation emphasizes bilateral shoulder development and can be a bit more challenging than the alternating front raise.
The dumbbell front raise is an effective exercise for targeting the front shoulder muscles, enhancing shoulder strength, and promoting balanced shoulder development. As with any exercise, it’s important to use proper form, start with an appropriate weight, and gradually increase the resistance as your strength improves.
Front Delt Muscles
The front deltoids, or anterior deltoids, are one of the three heads of the deltoid muscle group located in the shoulder region. The deltoids are a prominent muscle group responsible for several shoulder movements and contribute to the overall aesthetics and function of the upper body.
The front deltoids specifically refer to the anterior portion of the deltoid muscle. Here are the key muscles that make up the front deltoids:
Anterior deltoid: This is the largest and most visible part of the front deltoids. It originates from the outer third of the clavicle (collarbone) and inserts into the deltoid tuberosity of the humerus (upper arm bone). The anterior deltoid is responsible for flexion and medial rotation of the shoulder joint. It plays a crucial role in movements such as lifting the arm forward, as in front raises or pressing exercises.
Clavicular fibres: The clavicular fibres of the anterior deltoid refer to the upper portion of the anterior deltoid muscle. These fibres originate specifically from the clavicle and contribute to the overall appearance and strength of the front deltoids. They assist in shoulder flexion, abduction, and horizontal flexion.
Sternocostal fibres: The sternocostal fibres are the lower portion of the anterior deltoid muscle. They originate from the sternum (breastbone) and the cartilage of the first six ribs. The sternocostal fibres aid in shoulder flexion, horizontal flexion, and internal rotation.
The front deltoids work in conjunction with other muscles, such as the lateral (middle) deltoids and posterior (rear) deltoids, to provide stability and movement in the shoulder joint. Strengthening and developing the front deltoids can improve shoulder aesthetics, enhance upper body strength, and contribute to overall shoulder stability and function.
It’s important to note that targeting all three heads of the deltoids through a balanced training program is crucial for optimal shoulder development and to maintain muscle balance around the joint. This can be achieved by incorporating a variety of exercises that target each deltoid head, including front raises, lateral raises, overhead presses, and compound movements such as bench presses and push-ups.
Why Do Strong Shoulders Help to Prevent Injury?
Strong shoulders play a crucial role in preventing injuries, particularly in the upper body and shoulder region. Here are some reasons why strong shoulders help prevent injury:
Enhanced stability: Strong shoulders provide greater stability to the shoulder joint. The muscles surrounding the shoulder, including the deltoids, rotator cuff muscles, and scapular stabilizers, work together to maintain proper alignment and stability of the joint. Increased strength in these muscles helps stabilize the shoulder, reducing the risk of joint instability and potential injuries.
Improved muscle balance: Developing strength in all the muscles around the shoulder, including the front, side, and rear deltoids, as well as the rotator cuff muscles, promotes muscle balance. Imbalances in strength or muscle activation can lead to abnormal movement patterns, placing excessive stress on certain structures, and increasing the risk of injury. Strong and balanced shoulder muscles help maintain optimal joint mechanics and minimize the chances of overuse or compensatory movements.
Injury prevention during activities: Strong shoulders are better equipped to handle the demands placed on them during various activities. Whether it’s lifting heavy objects, performing overhead movements, participating in sports, or engaging in physical work, strong shoulder muscles can withstand the forces and stresses involved. They provide stability, control, and support to the shoulder joint, reducing the risk of sprains, strains, and other injuries.
Proper movement mechanics: Strong shoulders contribute to proper movement mechanics and alignment in the upper body. This is important for activities that involve the shoulder joint, such as throwing, pushing, pulling, and reaching overhead. Strong and well-coordinated shoulder muscles ensure smooth and efficient movement patterns, reducing the risk of joint stress, inflammation, and injury.
Injury prevention in other areas: Strong shoulders can indirectly prevent injuries in other areas of the body. For example, when performing exercises or daily activities that involve lifting or pushing objects, strong shoulder muscles provide stability and power. This, in turn, reduces the strain on other muscles, such as the lower back, as the shoulders can effectively share the load and prevent compensatory movements that may lead to injury.
It’s important to note that while strong shoulders are beneficial for injury prevention, it’s equally crucial to incorporate a well-rounded fitness routine that includes overall body strength, flexibility, and mobility exercises.
A balanced approach to training and addressing the entire kinetic chain is key to reducing the risk of injuries in the upper body and maintaining optimal physical health.