Think Fit II Form + Weight Training = Body Sculpting
Just to recap my previous article that is a prelude to this guide on Form n Technique and using the right muscles in Weight Training, here are a few reminders. But please do read my previous article (even if you have already) to comprehend this one on using the right muscles better.
- Each muscle needs to be focused on and targeted to sculpt it
- Proper engagement of the right muscles required for each type of weight training exercise
- I firmly believe that in order to stay fit and in shape, we have to understand fitness and not merely follow a trainers’s instructions blindly
- Towards that, I would encourage readers to make out a chart for themselves from the information given here
- If you have been relentlessly lifting weights for your upper body and yet there is a gap between the physique you want and your mirror image, then you better review the way you are doing weight training
- Good posture is the body’s alignment with respect to gravity that we can never do away with. So posture is a given at every moment of our life, whether we are sitting, standing, moving or lying down
- Resistance exercises or weight training when carried out in proper posture are more effective in toning the body and avoiding injuries
- Most injuries in the gym are caused by improper posture and bad form
I had set out to detail form and technique tips for weight training for all the major muscle groups in one shot, but I can see it is going to be a really long post. So going to break it down to one muscle group per blog. Despite being into fitness for decades, I still find it hard to remember all that I read on fitness and store it appropriately. But if you are the smarter one, then you got to bear with me, for apportioning the post amongst the upper body muscles, one at a time.
Shoulders and Chest are two body parts that are of paramount importance in the way you carry yourself, both for men and women. The rest of the upper body muscles are largely dependent on how you bear these two. So we begin with shoulders.
Worked out, sculpted shoulders lend a certain dignity to your personality. Women, if you are addicted to sleeveless or off-shoulder outfits, pick up those weights and keep the following tips in mind when you work those muscles.
‘Shoulder workout’ is a layman’s way of saying ‘I am working my deltoids’. Since we are now progressing from being a layman to a better informed exerciser, deltoids it will be for most purposes.
- Remember to keep your tummy tucked in at all times and stand with legs hip width apart , soft on knees.
- Keep your shoulders down and relaxed at all times. Working out the muscles is quite different from tensing the muscles.
I am unable to provide videos for the workouts. If in doubt, take help from the trainers at the gym, but keep in mind these tips. The trainers may not have the time to supervise all your workouts and reps (repetitions).
Know the Deltoid (shoulder) Muscles
Deltoids are divided into anterior (front), middle (lateral) and posterior (rear) fibers. Any shoulder workout should focus on engaging the shoulder muscles rather than loosely lifting the entire arm. Lift weights leading with your shoulders.
Primary exercises for Deltoids (the rest are variations):
Shoulder Press/ Military Press using Barbell /Dumbbell/Machine
Engage (lift) the anterior and mid deltoids.
Form : Stand with legs hip width apart, knees soft, or sit on a bench straight-backed. The best option is to sit on a seat that has an upright or an inclined back support. For dumbbells, hold them at ear level or a tad lower on both sides with your elbows pointing out. For barbell, grip the bar as shown in the figure below with palms wider than shoulder width.
Technique : In all the versions, with palms facing forward, lift the weights slowly without locking your elbows and return to the starting position.
Engage (lift) middle deltoids.
Form : Stand with legs hip width apart, knees soft, or sit on a bench straight-backed. Weights in your hands by your sides, palms facing each other. The pits of your elbows aligned at 45 degrees to your body.
Technique : Lift weights sideways, palms facing the ground as you lift. Do not lock the elbows but keep them soft. Lift only as high as shoulder level and return to starting position.
Engage (lift) anterior deltoids.
Form : Stand with legs hip width apart, knees soft, or sit on a bench straight-backed. Arms in front of the thighs with dumbbells/barbell. Pits of the elbows facing each other.
Technique: Lift the weights in front of you, do not lock elbows and do not lift above shoulder level. Return to starting position.
Engage (lift) anterior deltoids as you lift weights overhead. Engage middle deltoids when you twist your wrists to face outward.
Form : Stand with legs hip width apart, knees soft, or sit on a bench straight-backed. Hold dumbbells in front of you, elbows bent and palms facing your body and close to the body.
Technique : Lift the weights overhead without locking the elbows. You are engaging the anterior deltoids now.
Twist your arms/wrists to face the palms outward at the peak of the lift. You are now engaging the mid deltoids. Hold for a few seconds, twist your arms/wrists to let the palms face your body and return to starting position.
Engage (lift) middle deltoids and upper trapezius .
Please read this carefully. Upright Row best done with a barbell. Caution – Avoid using close grip as that places more load on rotator cuff, which can be injurious. Using wide grip would be the best way.
Know your Trapezius Muscles
Form : Stand with legs hip width apart, knees soft. Palms facing the body as you grip the dumbbells/barbell.
Technique : Slowly slide the barbell along the body i.e. close to the body, with elbows leading the movement, as they move upwards. And as the barbell is being raised, the focus shifts to middle deltoids. Return to starting position.
Engage (lift) trapezius.
Form : Stand with legs hip width apart, knees soft. Dumbbells in both hands by your sides, palms facing each other. If you are using the barbell, follow the form as shown in the image below.
Technique : With dumbbells in both the hands, raise the shoulders aided by trapezius muscles towards the ears and ease them back gradually. Keep the raising and lowering controlled and gradual. Do not round the chest. The same applies to the barbell variation except that the palms face the body while gripping the barbell.
The Upright Row and Shrugs help in rectifying rounded shoulders/hunchback posture to a large extent if done properly.
There are many variations in the above exercises that advanced fitness can achieve. As you go along and get fitter, you will discover more ways of bringing variations in your workouts. But till then, it is best to follow these simple ones.
More muscle groups in my next few posts. If you like tips on any specific exercise/muscle, do post it in your comments and I will feature it.
Wishing Wellness and Fitness. Think Fit