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Often, we’re too caught up trying to improve our mileage that we forget to give some love to other equally important parts of the body. And in term of being snubbed, the shoulder is like Leonardo Dicaprio in the Oscars (But hey, even Leo has finally gotten his long-awaited award). Shoulders play crucial roles for runners. They must be flexible enough to facilitate airflow and stable enough to produce an efficient forward and backwards motion while running. Therefore, it’s important to keep the muscles around the shoulders healthy and flexible. These 10 exercises are great ways to start!
With weights on each arm, stand tall on your toes while at the same time bringing your shoulders to your ears. Come back down and relax. Repeat this movement 15 times for 3 sets. And don’t be shy to go to town with those 20-pound dumbbells for this exercise (chill, it’s not just you, everyone makes a funny face while lifting). Be sure to use heavy enough weights that you can feel the muscles on the top of your shoulders and calves working.
This exercise would help us to get rid of rounded shoulders, also known as too-much-Facebooking-on-the-phone posture, thus improving air circulation in and out of our lungs when we run.
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
To ease soreness after a long run session, the Director of Athletic Reconditioning at the United Air Force, Siobhain Kilgallen, recommends doing a standing dumbbell press. This exercise is as easy as standing feet hip-wide apart grasping dumbbells at shoulder height; forearms are parallel to one another and palms facing each other. Lift the chest, bringing the shoulder blades together and press the dumbbells overhead, making sure that those forearms are still in formation. Lower the dumbbells and repeat.
The shoulder press is a great way to improve endurance. Speaking of which, though you can start doing 12 repetitions for 2 sets, when you feel like owning and winning, go for 15 repetitions for 3 sets.
Single Arm Bodyweight Row
Everything that starts with single in a fitness article usually means double challenge (you’ve been warned). Now, time to say hello to your buddies at the CrossFit section, you’re gonna need the TRX machine for a while.
Grab the handle with palms facing in and slowly walk forward, keeping the body in a straight line, until you’re close to parallel to the ground. Pull your shoulders back and keep them square. It’s gonna hurt, but it will pay off when the muscle imbalances in the shoulders are corrected, and you find yourself running with a better posture in no time.
Push up brought to the next level. Start by placing two dumbbells on the floor shoulder-width apart. Assume a push-up position, placing the hands on each dumbbell. Complete one push-up and then lift one dumbbell in a rowing motion squeezing your shoulder blade on the top.
This exercise engages multiple muscles in the upper body: core, chest, shoulder and back. So, this is the perfect exercise for those days when you only have a 20-minute window for workout (of which 15 minutes will be spent running, duh!). It’s a one-stop upper-body strengthening exercise.
Now, if you’re not quite ready to go on a hulk-mode for shoulder exercise yet, relax, a classic push-up works just as well. Remember to keep legs wider than hip-width so you can properly support your body. Slowly lower your chest until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. And no, two half push-ups don’t make up for one, so no cheating! Watch out for common mistakes when doing push-ups for maximum results.
Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Start by standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palm facing inward. Raise the dumbbells to shoulder level with palms facing outward. Slowly lower the dumbbells to the original position and repeat.
Keep your back straight while doing this exercise. Make sure you’re not leaning back or forward.
Dumbbell Shoulder Press On Ball
Ever wonder what those huge, bouncy, shiny balls at the gym are for? You’re about to find out. For starter, they are called Swiss ball, and they could be your best friends if you’re looking to strengthen your shoulders.
Start by sitting on the ball; feet planted to the ground. Tighten the core muscles and bring the dumbbells to head level, elbows should be at a 90-degree angle. Lift the dumbbells overhead until the dumbbells touch each other. Lower the dumbbells to the original position and repeat.
Dumbbell Reverse Flys Seated on Ball
Another dumbbell and ball combo. Start by seating on the ball, feet flat on the ground. Grasp a dumbbell on each hand and lower your chest until it’s slightly above the knee. Lift the dumbbells to shoulder level while keeping elbows relaxed. Slowly lower the dumbbells to the original position.
Low Mount Reverse Flys with Band
This exercise is a liiiitttlleee bit more demanding. You’ll need a spacious area, a resistance band and a safe, steady, secure place to tie the resistance band to (your DIY Swedish table may not be a very good idea. We hate to break that chic furniture of yours).
Now that you have everything in place, get on all four and grab the free end of the resistance band with the hand furthest from the tied end. Pull the band to the side of your body, slightly above shoulder level while keeping both arms straight as possible. Bring the band back to the original position and repeat for 10-12 times for each arm.
Free? Check. Hassle-free? Check. Equipment-free? Check. We love this exercise already. All we have to do is stand up and extend both arms straight to the side. The arm should be perpendicular to the torso. Then, make a circle of about 30 cm in diameter with both extended arms. Keep the motion for about 10 seconds and then do the circular movement in the reverse direction. Pro tip: do the exercise while catching up on your movies or TV series.
“Shoulders play crucial roles for runners. They must be flexible enough to facilitate airflow and stable enough to produce an efficient forward and backwards motion while running.”
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