The shoulder is one of the more flexible joints in our bodies, and with that flexibility comes the tendency for injury. One of the biggest reasons why people injure their shoulders is because of improper training at the gym, making common mistakes that many of us do ourselves.
Here are the most common mistakes made at the gym when it comes to sculpting your shoulders, and how you can go about avoiding them.
1-Improper Form on Lateral Raises
The first thing you need to know about the shoulder is that it is made up of three different heads -the anterior deltoid, lateral deltoid, and the posterior deltoid. The lateral deltoid, or the muscle in the middle is the one that gets the least amount of work through other exercise.
For this reason it is extremely important that you include exercises to target the lateral deltoid during your shoulder routine, and the most common exercise to do so is lateral raises.
This exercise can be great to develop the middle deltoid if done correctly, however many people make mistakes in form which take away the focus on the shoulder.
The key to doing the exercise is to maintain the steady position of your arms, keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees throughout the exercise. Lengthening your arms as you progress through the exercise will cause more activation in the triceps, so keep your arms steady.
2-Overtraining the Front of the Shoulder
Another very common yet major mistake people make as far as their shoulder development is concerned, is that they over train their anterior deltoid. This will eventually cause the shoulders to roll forward, causing bad posture due to an imbalance in shoulder development.
This happens because many of the shoulder exercises that are popular revolve around the usage of the front deltoid, as opposed to the middle and rear. In addition to this, many other popular exercises such as bench press and military press heavily involve the anterior deltoid, causing it to be overdeveloped further.
Try to avoid overtraining the front of your shoulder by focusing more on your posterior and lateral deltoids on shoulder day which will help you better balance your shoulder development.
3-Using too Much Weight
This is an obvious mistake in any form of weight training, yet still it is an extremely common error people make. You have to remember that the shoulder is one of the weakest joints in the body, and you are going to be lifting less weight in general. Again, this seems obvious yet people continue to use too much weight, many of them without even realizing it.
People are able to do this because they compromise by using bad form or using momentum to their advantage to do so. Swinging the weights fast by using momentum isn’t going to help you in your shoulder development, and you may injure yourself in the process.
Using bad form like pointing your hands upwards during lateral raises engages more of the back, cheating your shoulders here again. It may look good in the gym when you are picking up heavier dumbbells, but you are just hurting yourself in the long run.
Shoulder development takes time and you are going to have to start really light, especially if your middle and rear deltoids are underdeveloped. Swallow your pride and head towards the top left of the dumbbell rack next time you are working the rear and middle deltoids.
4-Focusing Too Much on Isolation Exercises
Remember, a key aspect to developing all three shoulders of the head is giving all three the proper work. Many people focus too much on isolation exercises instead of ones that work all three heads simultaneously which can make for asymmetrical shoulders.
The overhead press is a great example of an exercise that is going to hit all three heads of your shoulder, and is one that should be a cornerstone in any program. With that being said you shouldn’t focus on doing the same routine all the time either, as that is a great way to stunt your progress.
Remember to vary things up from time to time to help further your development. Even little tweaks to exercises like the Arnold press versus your traditional shoulder press can make all the difference in how big and sculpted your shoulders can be.