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The alternating dumbbell shoulder press performed seated focuses on the shoulders and triceps. Using dumbbells allows you to change your hand position which changes the focus placed on the shoulders. Therefore the alternating dumbbell shoulder press is an effective way to add variety to your shoulder routine. The seated position prevents you from cheating on the exercise with too much weight. By alternating each arm you allow the muscles just enough rest to squeeze out a few extra reps.
If your push ups are too easy you can perform them with your feet on a ball. By raising your feet you add more resistance to the upper chest muscles, much like the incline bench press. The swiss ball also adds the extra challenge of maintaining your balance while performing the exercise. The instability challenges your core and activates the abdominals, low back and obliques.
The bench press is often referred to as the "king" of upper-body exercise. The bench press develops strength in the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Using a barbell allows you to lift more weight than using dumbbells because you do not have to focus on stabilizing the weight as you push up. It's important to keep your feet on the floor for stability and always use a spotter for safety. The bench press should be a staple in your upper-body workouts.
Bench dips with feet elevated develops strength in the deltoids and triceps. When your feet are elevated off the floor emphasis is placed on the triceps and shoulders. Experienced weightlifters and bodybuilders use extra weight when performing bench dips to stimulate strength development and size (hypertrophy). Plates are placed on the thighs and a training partner assists in adding and removing the weight when ready. Bench dips can be performed at home or at the gym with a couple of benches.
The dumbbell lateral raise performed seated isolates the medial head of the deltoids. If you raise your arms above the horizontal plane you activate the trapezius. Dumbbell lateral raises are typically performed with moderate weight. The "lat" raise is a standard shoulder exercise found in most workout routines. You may change the load on the shoulders by turning your palms down, up, or out. Experiment with various grips to vary the angle of work and keep your muscles challenged.
Dumbbell shoulder external rotation - side lying targets the external rotators of the shoulders. The external rotators are susceptible to injuries and should be strengthened before increasing loads on bench presses, cleans, and snatches. Throwing and swinging motions also put weak external rotators at risk. You may place a rolled up towel under the elbow for better isolation of the infraspinatus and teres minor.
The reverse grip pull up is a great exercise that strengthens and tones your back. It also strengthens your biceps and grip at the same time. If you are unable to do pull ups on your own you can have your workout partner assist you. You can also do kipping pull ups. A good goal is 20 reverse grip pull ups.
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