Your shoulders are the root of your arms. You need strong shoulders if you want to push, pull or lift anything of size. So, what are the best shoulder exercises?
As it turns out, there are three major muscle groups that make up our shoulders: the anterior, middle and posterior deltoids. You shouldn’t focus disproportionately on any one group because doing so could cause an imbalance that can lead to injury. Given that, researchers at the University of Wisconsin- LaCrosse recently set up a study to determine the most effective exercise for each of the 3 muscle groups in the shoulder. The researchers studied the 10 most commonly performed shoulder exercises by athletes and trainers. The list included: dumbbell shoulder press, push-ups, cable diagonal raises, dips, dumbbell front raises, battling ropes, barbell upright rows, bent-arm lateral raises, 45-degree incline rows and the seated rear lateral raises. The researchers looked at EMG reading to determine which exercises lead to the most muscle activation. Here are the results for each muscle group:
While there is no one best exercise, your best bet might be to do dumbbell shoulder presses to hit the anterior deltoids and 45 degree incline rows to target the middle and posterior deltoids. You also can reassess the use of dips for shoulders, as it scores in the bottom half for all three muscle groups.