Overhead press targets all 3 muscles to build broad shoulders

November 3, 2014

Q: Whatís the best exercise to build broad shoulders?

A: Few muscle groups impact your strength and appearance the way broad shoulders do. Your deltoids, or shoulder muscles, are used in most pushing movements, making them an important muscle for upper body strength. For men, broad shoulders project an image of strength and masculinity. For a woman, broad shoulders make the waist and hips appear smaller.

There are 3 main muscles in the shoulders: anterior deltoid (the front part of your shoulders), medial deltoid (the middle part of your shoulders), and posterior deltoid (the back part of your shoulders). Just like on any muscle, you need to use low weight and high repetitions to build a base of strength, then over time add weight to make the shoulders grow bigger, wider, broader, and stronger.

Best exercise for shoulders? The overhead press is a classic compound movement and it effectively targets all three shoulder muscles. Overhead presses can be done with a barbell or dumbbells. While the overhead press can be performed standing or seated, standing is generally easier on your back because you can use your legs as natural shock absorbers.

Start by holding the weight at about shoulder height, with your elbows directly under your hands. Push the weight overhead until it is at armís length. Fully extend your arms but donít hold your elbows locked out. Repeat the movement for 3 sets of 10 repetitions, adding a little weight as you feel comfortable.

Other good exercises for shoulders: side lateral raises to focus on the medial deltoids, and rear dumbbell raises to focus on the posterior deltoids.

Have a question? Email or tweet @eddiemalvarez.



McClatchy-Tribune Information Services