Hi everyone! I hope you are all doing great and staying active! Throughout this series, I have been challenging you all to get outside of your comfort zone and to become more consistent in your active lifestyle. Well, in this blog, I have a new challenge for you. A challenge that will push you to step outside the comfort of your home and into the doors of what most people fear…the gym.
Encouraging people to go outside their comfort zone is one of the reasons I chose to become a personal trainer. I know what it’s like to have anxiety about going to the gym. I also know what it’s like to go into the gym and not have a single clue as to what to do; it’s all so overwhelming. This is where I step in and help ease some of that stress. In the pictures below, I have incorporated five simple shoulder exercises I encourage you to do to get started in the gym.
First things first, let’s start with the basics before we start lifting those weights. There are three main terms to know when it comes to lifting weights.
- Sets: the number of times you perform that one single exercise
- Repetitions: the number of times you lift that weight or do the single exercise
- Intensity: the amount of weight you are using to train
Now that we have those three main terms down, let’s apply them to this shoulder workout.
For each exercise, I would like all of you to aim for 3-4 sets and 10-12 reps at about 45% intensity. When it comes to the intensity of your weights, try to choose a weight that:
- Doesn’t cause any pain or irritation
- You can easily perform 10-12 reps on CORRECTLY
- Challenges you
- You feel comfortable and safe with
The first exercise is called “Face Pulls”; this works the back part of your shoulders, also called the deltoids. When performing this exercise, remember to go slow and be controlled. When you pull back you should hold that squeeze for a second or two. Once you have held that contraction, I want you to slowly have the ropes return to the first image. Again, 10-12 reps, 3-4 sets.
The second exercise is called, “Lateral Raises”. This gives you those nice little built in shoulder pads or the extra little something to make those shoulders pop. You can do these exercises either sitting or standing or with or without dumbbells and a cable. Either way, this is a burner! I have provided both ways to do these in the image below. The main point to this exercise is to ensure that your arm stays straight at all times. You want to make sure you go all the way down (first image) and lift until your arms are directly straight out (second image). 10-12 reps, 3-4 sets.
The third exercise is a standard shoulder press. Again, you can do these exercises either sitting or standing. This is a staple move for any beginner, intermediate or advanced lifter. This is one exercise that I really could see the results of my progression and enjoy doing. Start with those dumbbells rested on top of your shoulders (first image) and drive up until your arms are straightened (second image). Make sure to always control your weights and keep those arms and core tight. When you push up, drive through those heels and feel that burn in the tops of your shoulders. If at any point the weight feels too heavy or becomes painful, please go lighter in weight. Shoulders are a delicate muscle and can be easily injured.
The final exercise is a B-U-R-N-E-R! If you have never done battle ropes before, today is your lucky day! These ropes may look easy, but I haven’t had a single client (myself included) ever leave after doing these exercises feeling like they didn’t accomplish anything. There are SO many ways, in fact too many for me to list, on how to perform battle ropes. All I want you to do is start with the simple and most popular style. I call them the “waves”. The method is to go as fast as you can for one minute each for three rounds. You will begin to feel this in your shoulders, core, forearms and your heart rate will RISE!
That’s it! Just those four workouts can be easily modified to your liking and comfort level and are a great place to start when it comes to entering the gym. On a serious note, please don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed to go to a gym. We all start somewhere, and worrying about what others may think is a huge obstacle that can prevent you from reaching your fullest potential. The gym will easily become a place of peace and stress relief if you let it.