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Shoulder Presses with Kettlebells Attached to Strength Bands
This creative exercise demands shoulder stability and strength. The kettlebells attached to the bands bounce up and down making this a challenging way to perform shoulder presses.
Strength Band Lateral Raises
Strength band lateral raises work the medial (middle) deltoid (shoulder) muscle. Bands are a great addition to dumbbell side raises because you can really slow and pause the movement and "feel" the muscle working.
Bottoms Up Kettlebell Press with V-Sit
This exercise (like clubbell presses) demands shoulder strength and stability as well as grip strength. The abs/core is also targeting. I am doing this in the v-sit position to add more difficulty. This is not one of my standard exercises (to include the v-sit) but it is good to mix things up and add new stimulus to enable growth and development.
Kettlebell Bottoms Up Squat Press
This is a whole body exercise (especially legs, glutes, shoulders, and abs) that requires core strength, shoulder stability, and grip strength. Keep a tight grip and core engaged throughout this movement. Squat to parallel or to a depth that feels natural/comfortable. Try to press overhead and not have the kettlebells too far in front. Inhale as you are squatting down and exhale as you are coming out of the squat.
Kettlebell Bottoms Up Seesaw Press
This is a great shoulder exercise that demands shoulder stability and grip strength. It also forces you to use your core, abdominals and obliques more so than standard presses. Don’t get stuck in the same old workout routine, challenge yourself!
Reverse Fly (Single Arm) with Kettlebell
Reverse Fly with a kettlebell is a good exercise for the rear deltoids (rear shoulder). For maximum strength and muscular development, is it beneficial to have focused stress a muscle during every phase of the lengthening and shortening phase. For this reason, I like to pair dumbbell or kettlebell exercises with bands or cable exercises. As you perform the single arm reverse fly with kettlebell, keep the core tight (contract glutes and abdominals) and try not to twist. As you pull your arm away from your midline, exhale. Inhale as you return to the starting position. To isolate the rear delts, try to avoid using your rhomboids (keep your scapula protracted or retracted with no movement). Not all trainees will want to isolate (this is more for bodybuilding/aesthetics). If you are an athlete, rhomboid contraction and scapular movement (retraction/protraction) is more useful for strength and power development. In the video, I have a weighted magnet attached to the kettlebell to allow me to do a quick drop-set by removing the weight as I come close to muscle failure.
Lateral (Side) Raises with Kettlebell
This is a good exercise for the middle deltoids or middle shoulder. I like to pair dumbbell or kettlebell exercises with bands or cable exercises for many movements like lateral raises. Exhale as you raise your arms, pause at the top, and lower slowly while inhaling. There is no need to elevate your arms above the horizontal line as this creates a lot of friction in the shoulder joint.
Reverse Fly with Strength Band
Reverse Fly with a strength band is a good exercise for the rear deltoids or rear shoulder. Bands provide the most tension when the muscle is shortened. For maximum strength and muscular development is it beneficial to have focused stress a muscle during every phase of the lengthening and shortening cycle. For this reason, I like to pair dumbbell or kettlebell exercises with bands or cable exercises. As you perform the reverse fly, keep the core tight (contract glutes and abdominals). As you pull your arm away from your midline, exhale. Inhale as you return to the starting position. To isolate the rear delts, try to avoid using your rhomboids (keep your scapula protracted or retracted with no movement). Not all trainees will want to isolate (this is more for bodybuilding/aesthetics). If you are an athlete, rhomboid contraction and scapular movement (retraction/protraction) is more useful for strength and power development. An example of this would be a back-hand in tennis, to optimize the movement there should be shoulder and scapular movement.
Kettlebell Shoulder Press with Strength Band for Added Resistance
Here is another highly effective shoulder exercise. It works the anterior (front), and medial (middle) deltoids extremely well. Since you are including bands it adds another level of difficulty and makes it harder to finish the press. I like to do these single arm and double. Unilateral presses require more core stabilization. Like most exercises, to make this more effective and perform better/use heavier weight, contract your abdominals and glutes are you are pressing. Exhale as you are pressing, inhale on the return down.
Strength Band Face Pulls
Face pulls are a great exercise for healthy, stable shoulders and posture. They work the rotator cuff very well. These can be done on a cable machine or using strength bands. Attach a light band to a post (no need to go heavy). Pull your arms back until your elbows are behind you. Try not to use your lower back to assist in the movement. The arms should be 90 degrees and perpendicular to the ground. Try to really get your forearms back and keep your chest up. Exhale as you bring your arms back, inhale on the return.
Shoulder Burns target the anterior and medial shoulders/delts very well while also working the rotator cuff and rear delts to a lesser extent. Raise your arms to just around horizontal/parallel to the floor and no higher. Bring them out to the sides, then out to front, then down, then reverse the motion. Keep your abs and glutes contracted and do not sway. Don't go to heavy with these. 8-10 reps is a good start.
Barbell Shoulder Press with Strength Bands
Adding strength bands to these two barbell shoulder presses increases their difficulty significantly. Using the bands helps you build explosive strength and break through the sticking points. Perform the movement as you would the two standard barbell presses (see above descriptions).
Behind the Neck Barbell Shoulder Press
Behind the neck shoulder press targets the middle deltoids (middle shoulders) very well compared to pressing in front of your chest (which focuses more on the anterior deltoids (front shoulders). Press in a full range of motion at least bring your upper arms down so they are parallel to the floor. Contract your abs and glutes as you press. Exhale as you are pressing, inhale on the return.
Unilateral Shoulder Press with Kettlebell Attached to Strength Band
This creative exercise targets the shoulders and stabilizers. I sometimes like to perform these with two kettlebells or unilaterally (as seen here) so that I am stimulating my core more. Use a strength band/resistance band that allows the kettlebell to bounce up and down. This won’t work if the band is too light or too heavy. Pressing up fast will initiate the bounce. Slowly control the weight and bounce while lowering it. Exhale as you press, inhale on the return.
The Arnold press is a rotating press that targets the anterior and medial deltoids. Start with palms facing you and arms in front. The weight should be around chin level. Press overhead and rotate your palms to face away from you. Exhale as you press, inhale on the return down.
Side-Lying Reverse Dumbbell Fly
The side lying reverse fly is an advanced exercise that targets the rear deltoids. Only perform this exercise if you have strong and stable shoulders. The body positioning makes the first half of the movement very difficult. Select a low weight. Perform this exercise slowly on the positive and especially the negative. Exhale as you are lifting and inhale on the return.
Cable Reverse Fly
Reverse cable fly works the rear deltoids. I like performing these with single arms because of the core activation/anti-rotation. Facing the machine, have the handle at around eye height. Pull the arm back until it is aligned with the chest – try not to twist while doing so. Exhale as you pull and inhale on the return.
Cable Lateral Raises or Side Raises
This exercise targets the medial deltoids (middle shoulder). To maximize strength and muscular development I like to perform these with the cable in front and behind. Set the handle to the bottom. Raise the arm until it is close to parallel to the floor, no need to go higher as this is overly straining on the shoulder. Exhale as you raise your arm to the side and inhale and you lower it.
Cable face-pulls are a great exercise for the rotator cuff and for shoulder stability. Set a tricep rope or handles to around eye height. Pull back with palms facing eachother until your forearms are slightly behind your head. The arms should have a 90 degree bend at the elbow. Exhale as you pull and inhale on the return. Try to be totally upright and do not use lower back extension to pull the weight.
Front Raises with Dumbbells
Dumbbell front raises target the anterior deltoids (front of the shoulder). They are best performed on an incline bench with chest supported. This positioning creates resistance throughout most of the movement. Performing them standing there is only resistance towards the latter half of the movement. Also when performing them standing you tend to “cheat” by swaying and using lower back when the shoulders are fatigued. Raise your arms until they are about chin height, lower them slowly. Exhale as you raise and inhale on the return.
Cable Front Raises
Cable front raises target the anterior deltoids (front of shoulder). Using cables maintains resistance/tension throughout the movement. With dumbbells you do not get the resistance at the beginning of the movement. Set the cable machine handle to the bottom height. The starting position shoulder be in the shoulder extended and arm behind position. Raise your arm to chin height and lower slowly. Contract your abs and glutes and do not tilt or use your lower back to lift the weight. Exhale as you lift and inhale as you lower.
Scarecrows are an excellent exercise for rotator cuff and shoulder stability. By performing them chest supported on an incline bench you create more resistance throughout the movement. The bench also prevents you from “cheating” by rocking and using lower back. Start these with light weight - maybe 10lbs. Keep your elbows at shoulder height. Start with the dumbbells facing the floor and rotate until they are facing the ceiling. Inhale while lowering and exhale while rotating up.
Cable Internal and External Rotations
These exercises work the internal and external rotators/rotator cuff muscles and help to build shoulder stability. Internal/external rotations can also be performed with strength bands. Set the handle to a height where your elbow is bent 90 degrees. Your elbow should be pinned or close to your hip throughout the movement. Rotating away targets the external rotators and rotating toward your body targets the internal rotators. Try not to twist your torso. You will be able to use a heavier weight for the internal rotations than the external rotations. Exhale as your rotate and inhale as you return to the starting position. This exercise is ideal for racket players and throwing athletes.
More Shoulders and Rotator Cuff Exercise Videos Coming Soon!