How to Strengthen Deltoid Muscles

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The deltoid muscle is located in the shoulder. While it is a relatively small muscle, it is responsible for helping the body through a wide range of movements. This muscle can become weak especially in woman as they age. As this muscle loses strength, it becomes more difficult to lift the arms out to the side and overhead. In later years, this loss of motion can affect your ability to lift groceries, put items away on high shelves and other daily activities. Below are two simple exercises you can do to help keep this muscle strong. There are many other exercises that work this muscle from other angles.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand weights

Side Deltoid Raise

  • Sit or stand up straight. If you choose to stand, be very careful you do not rock the body back or lock the knees to lift. You can usually maintain better form if you sit during this exercise.

  • Your arms are down by your side. Hold the weights in your hands with the palms facing the body. On the exhale lift the weights up to shoulder height only.

  • On the inhale lower back down slowly and with control. You should use a 4-second count to both lift and lower the weights.

  • To add an extra twist to this exercise, lift up to shoulder height and pause for a moment. Then turn your hands so your palms start to face the back. Pretend you are pouring something with your hands. Then turn the hands back and lower down.

  • Do 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

Side Lying Deltoid Raise

  • This version is similar to the above, but is a bit tougher as you are moving against gravity even more. Lie on your left side. Place hip over hip and shoulder over shoulder. Do not let your body roll backwards. Your knees should be slightly bent to support your back. Be careful that you do not place your feet too far back as this will cause the back to arch.

  • Take the weight in your right hand. Lay your right hand and arm on top of your right hip and leg. The palm is facing down and the weight is resting on your right leg by your knee.

  • On the exhale, lift the weight straight up. Do not turn your hand or arm. Stop the movement as you hand is directly above your shoulder. Control the weight and do not let it pull your arm beyond your shoulder.

  • On the inhale lower back down slowly and with control. You should use a four second count to both lift and lower the weights.

  • Do 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

Overhead Press

  • Sit or stand up straight. If you choose to stand, be very careful you do not rock the body back or lock the knees to lift. You can usually maintain better form if you sit during this exercise.

  • Hold the weight up by your ears with the palms facing forward. On the exhale, lift the weight straight up overhead. Try to straighten the elbows, but do not lock them.

  • Slowly lower back down. You should use a 4-second count to both lift and lower the weights.

  • To add an extra twist to this exercise, lift the weight all the way up and pause for a moment. Then turn your hands so your palms face each other. Then turn the hands forward again and lower down.

  • Do 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you do these exercises slowly and with control.
  • Do not let your body move or rock during the exercise.
  • Keep the abdominal muscles contracted to help prevent back injury.

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