Seven Best Shoulder Exercises for Strength

It doesn’t matter how often or how effectively you work your arms and chest; you won’t obtain the bulk or strength you’re seeking without also working the shoulders. The shoulders are comprised of three deltoid muscles — the anterior deltoid, the medial deltoid, and the posterior deltoid. It is important to pay equal attention to all three delts; if you neglect one or more it will be noticeable. Try 10 reps of each exercise with a challenging amount of weight; work up to more reps — and more weight — gradually.

Try these seven exercises to strengthen and build your shoulders:

Dumbbell Floor Press

Dumbbell Floor Press

This exercise is similar to the bench press in how it’s performed. One main difference is that it’s done on the floor instead of a bench. This minimizes shoulder strain while maximizing results. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, lower them to the floor then extend arms up. Lower back down for one rep.

Overhead Shrug

Overhead Shrug

This exercise works both the delts and the trapezius muscles, making it an extremely effective shoulder strengthener. The overhead shrug can be performed with a barbell or dumbbells depending on your preference. Press the weight over your head so that your shoulders nearly touch your ears, then shrug your shoulders to lift the weight toward the ceiling.

Military Barbell Press

Military Barbell Press

The military press is great for working out the shoulders and the chest. Hold the barbell at shoulder-height, then press it over your head. Lock your arms while lifting the barbell over your head; return to the starting position to complete one rep.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Another exercise for strong shoulders is the dumbbell shoulder press. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing forward. The dumbbells should be at about ear level. Press the dumbbells up until they nearly reach above your head, then lower to the starting position. Keep your movements slow and fluid to effectively work your muscles.

Dumbbell Front Raise

Dumbbell Front Raise

This shoulder exercise can be performed from either a seated or standing position. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing the floor; to begin, raise one arm until it is parallel with the floor. Lower your arm slowly, then repeat the action with your other arm. If you prefer, you can lift both arms at the same time.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

The dumbbell lateral raise is yet another effective shoulder exercise that can be done either seated or standing. This exercise is quite similar to the dumbbell front raise, except instead of raising the arms to the front, you’ll raise them to the sides. To engage muscles most effectively, raise the arms slightly past the parallel position.

Barbell Rear Delt Row

Barbell Rear Delta Row

The barbell rear delt row is a shoulder exercise that is performed using a weight bench. Kneel on the bench with one knee; the other leg and arm are to the side. Lift the dumbbell up and out until it’s perpendicular with your torso, then lower it down, straightening your arm; this completes one rep.

Ensure that you include targeted shoulder exercises into your fitness routine, and you’ll see lasting improvements to your upper body strength.

The Five Best Chest Workouts for Muscle Increase

Yearning for sculpted, massive, rock-hard pecs? A bigger chest can be achieved with some simple exercises that are both easy to master and strategic. If you’re looking to bulk up, perform fewer reps with heavier weights. Novice lifters should gradually work up to challenging amounts of weight; if you’re an experienced lifter, try lifting close to your limit. Pushing your ability in this way will help you to smash through plateaus and create muscles that get noticed.

Your chest workout should be performed three times per week for maximum results; cardio exercise is recommended five times per week. This winning combination will keep you chiseled and strong while bulking up your muscles where it counts.

Try these five workouts to increase the size of your chest muscles:

Barbell Bench Press

Barbell Bench Press

The barbell bench press is a classic favorite of experienced weightlifters everywhere — because it works. This workout is simple — lie on your back on a flat weight bench and grasp the bars with hands shoulder-width apart. Lower the bars down to your chest, then raise them back up to a starting position to perform one rep. For maximum muscle mass, lift slowly with a level of weight that pushes your ability.

Flat Dumbbell Fly

Flat Dumbbell Press

The flat dumbbell fly is an exercise that effectively engages the muscles of the chest while also working the arms. Ideal for novice and experienced weightlifters, alike, the dumbbell fly is performed on a flat bench. Lie on your back with a dumbbell in each hand. To perform one rep, bring dumbbells to the center of your chest then back to the sides. You’ll definitely feel a stretch when performing this exercise; try as many reps as you can until your muscles are fatigued.

Incline Dumbbell Press

Incline Dumbbell Press

Incline bench weightlifting exercises are great for building muscle mass because the angle helps work the chest more effectively. For a bulkier chest, try the incline dumbbell press. To perform this exercise, lie on your back with a dumbbell in each hand, then lift them at the same time as you would with a traditional bench press. The secret to a good press is using a controlled, careful movement.  Don’t try to lift too quickly — the slower, the better.

Bar Dip

Bar Dip

The bar dip is an exercise that doesn’t use any weight — other than your own body weight, of course. When performing the dip, use a wide grip and go as low as possible for maximum results. Lift yourself halfway back up, then repeat. When doing this exercise, simply do as many as you can until your muscles are exhausted and you can do no more.

Push-Up

Push Up

Don’t discount the push-up — this exercise may seem old-fashioned but it is one of the best chest-building workouts you can do. Push-ups work your chest and arms, and they’re super-convenient because you can do them virtually anywhere – with zero equipment. Try 100 push-ups for amazing results; if you can’t do that many, do as many as you can and work up to 100 gradually.

Age is Just a Number for this Fitness Evolution Kickboxing Instructor

Stanley Holcomb - Kickboxing TrainerKickboxing isn’t just a young man’s sport. Just ask 65 year old Stanley J. Holcomb who has been teaching Cardio Kickboxing at the Hyattsville Fitness Evolution for the past four years. Holcomb, along with his regular class attendees, provides a frequent reminder that age, injury, or lack of experience need not be a deterrent for anyone interested in beginning Cardio Kickboxing classes.

Holcomb’s fitness journey began years ago when he began training, and later competing in Karate Tournaments – ultimately earning the Grand Champion Title in 1999. While training and competing in the classic field of Karate, Holcomb also began practicing Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo. Tae Bo is a combination of Cardio and various martial arts styling that was all the rage for anyone trying to get into shape in the 1990’s. Holcomb ultimately became a certified Tae Bo instructor and opened his own studio where he provided classes throughout the week. Unfortunately, the classes he was provided were not bringing in enough revenue and he was not able to keep his studio doors open.

Holcomb didn’t allow the closing of his studio to stifle his passion for fitness and providing classes for those who were interested, so he began teaching classes at several local studios before he took on his role at Fitness Evolution, where he now teaches two classes per week to a loyal group of attendees of various ages and capabilities. You might ask, “What is it that he does that has people so ready to attend his classes?” He explains that it has taken him learning how to deliver the right combination of high energy moves to boost those attending his classes, along with slowing it down so that those same attendees can feel confident completing the moves. He understands that in a class that takes as much energy as Kickboxing, it is important for him to provide the same energy as he expects those attending his class to exhibit – so he has learned how to ration his energy.

By providing such an energetic and welcoming atmosphere, Holcomb has welcomed countless individuals who might not have previously felt that they had the capabilities or the fitness level necessary to complete these classes. Although each individual attending his classes arrives with a wide range of capabilities, each leaves with the knowledge that they powered through a challenging routine and gave it all they had.

While Holcomb continues to work full time outside of Fitness Evolution, it does not appear that he will be retiring anytime soon – and anyone who has attended his classes can attest to the fact that he still takes a lot of pride and has a sense of purpose in teaching these classes. He has made his passion for fitness, especially fitness inspired by martial arts, into a lifestyle that has allowed him to carry on the art that he has practiced for so long. His career may seem unlikely at his age, but again, Kickboxing isn’t just a young person’s sport.

The Five Best Bicep Workouts

When it comes to building eye-popping arms, it is important not to neglect the biceps. The biceps allow you to flex your elbow; they’re not the biggest arm muscles but they can be built up to look incredible. Try these five bicep workouts and in no time, you’ll be eager to show off your guns.

Try starting with three sets of five reps; if you’re trying to build mass, heavier weights and fewer reps is recommended. For endurance, lower the weight and increase the reps. It’s not necessary to do all of the exercises at once; feel free to incorporate as few or as many as you like into your weightlifting routine.

Barbell Curl

Barbell Curl

The barbell curl is one of the most widely-practiced bicep exercises — and for good reason. It is effective and simple to perform. What’s more, when performed properly, the barbell curl achieves noticeable results. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold the barbell with an underhand grip. Curl the barbell up and then lower it to complete one rep. Just be careful not to give in to momentum; barbell curls should be done slowly for maximum effect.

Hammer Curl

Hammer Curl

The hammer curl is another highly effective bicep exercise; this seated lift works the brachialis and engages the elbow flexors. Try doing this exercise on a preacher bench to maximize its effects and prevent unintentional “cheating.” Holding dumbbells in the neutral or hammer position while bent slightly forward, raise them to your shoulders then lower them slowly to complete one rep.

Incline Barbell Curl

Incline Barbell

Another great exercise for building the biceps is the incline curl. As its name suggests, this exercise is done on an incline bench. Experiment with different incline levels to see what works best for you. Holding a dumbbell in each hand while seated on the incline bench, perform “classic curls,” raising and lowering the dumbbells slowly.

Standing Cable Curl

Standing Cable Curl

The cable is one of your best friends when it comes to building bigger biceps. Cable curls not only work every inch of the biceps but also the surrounding muscles. The reason this standing exercise is so effective is because it takes serious effort to stabilize your movements when curling the cable, as opposed to a barbell or dumbbell. This exercise can be done with both arms at once, or one arm at a time. The cable curl is performed much like a traditional standing bicep curl — the only major difference is the cable itself.

Seated Concentration Curl

Seated Concentration Curl

The seated concentration curl is ideal for finishing your biceps workout — momentum is minimized to ensure the biceps receive a maximum workout. Sit on a bench with legs apart; holding a dumbbell, bend forward slightly so that the upper arm is touching the upper thigh. From this position, perform dumbbell curls. The slower you curl, the more effectively the muscles will be worked.

All of the above exercises can be performed several times per week as part of a strength training routine. To maximize results, mix up cardio and strength training sessions three to five times weekly. While it’s tempting to work out every day, give your body at least one day each week to recover.

The Seven Best Compound Lifts for Maximum Size

Compound lifts engage multiple joints and work multiple muscles; these strength-building exercises are ideal for gaining maximum mass. Another benefit of compound lifts is that they reduce the need for isolation exercises. When it comes to the amount of weight and number of reps, it’s better to perform fewer reps at a heavier weight than vice versa — try starting with four sets of five reps and work up from there.

Try these seven effective compound lifts during your next sweat session:

Bench Press

Bench Press

The bench press is a tried-and-true compound lift that works not only the chest muscles but also the shoulders, triceps, and back.

To perform this lift, start face-up on a flat bench. Your back should be gently arched and feet should be flat on the floor. Using an overhand grip, hold the barbell and lower it to chest level; hands should be placed shoulder-width apart. To complete the exercise, raise the barbell back up to the starting position.

Deadlift

Deadlift

Deadlifts work the back, abs and legs; muscles engaged include but aren’t limited to the lats, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

To do a deadlift, stand with feet shoulder-width apart and bend the knees until you reach the barbell. Grasp the bar with one overhand and one underhand grip; inhale and lift the bar until knees are straight. Contract the back while lifting; exhale, then lower the bar gently to the ground.

Full Squat

Full Leg Squats

Full squats work multiple muscles including the quads, glutes, adductors, and hamstrings. The posterior and abdominals are also engaged during this exercise.

Start by sliding under the barbell; it should be positioned right above the shoulders. With the back gently arched, grasp the bar and remove it from the weight stand. While bending forward from the hips, perform the squatting motion – bending the knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. To complete the exercise, straighten your legs and return to the starting position.

Clean and Press

Clean and Press

The clean and press works a number of muscles from the triceps and biceps to the glutes and calves.

For this exercise, the barbell should be on the floor. To perform this lift, squat and grab the barbell with a pronated grip. You’ll be lifting the bar to the upper thighs, right under the chin, then overhead. The movement is done with energy; once the bar is over your head, lower it slowly back down to the tops of the thighs then squat, lowering the bar to the floor.

Bent Over Row

Bent Over Row

The bent over row works multiple muscles which include but aren’t limited to the lats, posterior deltoid, erector spinae, and rectus abdominis.

This lift begins with the barbell on the floor. Grab the bar with an overhand grip, with hands shoulder-width apart. Slightly arch the back, bending about 45 degrees. Upon inhaling, lift the bar to the upper abs; to complete this lift, gently lower the bar back down to the floor.

Military Press

Military Press

The military press is excellent for the muscle groups of the arms and shoulders; muscles worked include the delts, pecs, and triceps.

This lift is performed from a seated position. Hold the bar at chest level using an overhand grip, then extend the bar over your head. To complete the exercise, lower the bar to the starting position.

Pull-Up

Pull Ups

The humble — yet highly effective — pull-up is a classic exercise that doesn’t require any barbells because it utilizes your body weight. This exercise builds the muscles of the arms and shoulders, including the lats, rhomboid major and minor, and biceps, to name just three.

You can use an overhand or underhand grip when doing a pull-up. Position hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart on the pull-up bar, then pull your body up until your chest is at bar level. Complete the exercise by lowering yourself to the starting position.

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